Puff Memorial Lecture: Christian Approaches to Homelessness with Dr. Laura Stivers


The Edward A. Puff Sr. and Edith Kottmyer Puff Memorial Lecture in the Study of Christianity was endowed in 1986 by Rev. Edward A. Puff Jr., of Dayton, and his brother, Harold F. Puff, emeritus professor of management at Miami University. The memorial lecture is named for Edward and Harold's parents, in gratitude for the sacrifices they made that enabled the brothers to attend Miami during the Depression years.  This annual lecture is free and open to the public, but registration is required.  

The 2021 Puff Memorial Lecture will be held virtually, and will feature Dr. Laura Stivers, of Dominican University, discussing: Hospitality as Justice: Christian Approaches to Homelessness

Dr. Stivers examines common Christian approaches to addressing homeless: a direct charity approach of providing soup kitchens or homeless shelters and a more structural approach of building low-income rental housing or inexpensive homes for ownership. She argues that many Christian approaches reinforce dominant ideologies about homelessness and housing in ways that can both be oppressive for those who are poor and/or homeless, and can serve to mask the real causes of homelessness. Stivers advocates for a hospitality as justice approach that shifts emphasis away from changing or transforming individuals and towards addressing the structural causes of homelessness and poverty, with particular attention to racial justice. 

DR. LAURA STIVERS is a feminist social ethicist and scholar-activist. She speaks on and writes about issues related to social and environmental justice. Her most in-depth work has been on homelessness and affordable housing, most recently in relation to racism. Her academic training is in Christian ethics and her published work explores what responsibilities Christians have for creating flourishing communities and protecting our environment. Laura works with others within the community to promote justice and social change.

Questions about the online event can be directed to J.J. Slager at slagerjj@miamioh.edu

If you are interested in supporting the Puff Memorial Lecture or the department of Comparative Religion at Miami, please visit: www.givetomiamioh.org/GiveToComparativeReligion