What does it mean to be human in the 21st century? As the McDevitt Core Professor, Jennifer Glancy, Ph.D., has been delving into that weighty question for more than three years. She teaches a Core course and coordinates a multidisciplinary lecture series that seeks to uncover what it means to be alive today, particularly in the midst of ecological crisis, technological change and widespread social alienation. All of the effort she has put into this work is made worthwhile for Glancy when she sees how engaged her students are. She is thrilled when students who have completed the course continue to correspond, often with suggestions for possible readings for the course.
The more Glancy reflected upon what it means to be human in the 21st century, the more she began thinking about how it relates to another topic, slavery in antiquity. It is an area that Glancy has been studying for two decades. She was drawn to the subject early in her teaching career when several of her students expressed an interest in writing about slavery in the New Testament but found that there was a relative lack of scholarly research on the subject. She began to take that work on herself, going on to write Slavery in Early Christianity and Slavery as a Moral Problem in the Early Church and Today.
Glancy was recently awarded a highly competitive grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to pursue a new project, “The Ancient Christian Understanding of Slavery and Contemporary Discourse on the Meaning of Being Human.” She will spend the next two months drafting a chapter of a yet-to-be-named book that bridges two subjects that are more closely aligned than many may think. At stake both in the ancient world and in contemporary discourse is whether humanity is a quality in which all humans fully participate, or whether humanity is a precarious quality that can be squandered or stolen.
Glancy, who has been honored as the Rev. Msgr. A. Robert Casey Teacher of the Year and the Rev. Richard M. McKeon Scholar of the Year, was recently named the Rev. Kevin G. O’Connell Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities. She said that one of the greatest joys of her work is how interdisciplinary it is, drawing upon history, religious studies and literary studies, just to name a few. Likewise she teaches her students the universal skills of thinking, synthesis and research. Glancy said that the work she is now doing as part of “The Ancient Christian Understanding of Slavery and Contemporary Discourse on the Meaning of Being Human” would not be possible if she weren’t at Le Moyne, where interdisciplinary work is “not just encouraged, but also celebrated.”
“It was a virtuous cycle that allowed this very broad project to come to fruition,” she said.
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Jennifer Glancy Faculty Page