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Res Publica: Latin for “public affairs” or “public issues”; root for the English word “republic”

Covenant College is an agency of the Presbyterian Church in America. Years ago, another agency of the PCA—formerly known as “Women in the Church”—endowed funds that allowed Covenant to establish an annual lecture series that was charged with the task of building up the church and bolstering an informed lay leadership, among both men and women, by addressing serious contemporary issues facing our world. 

These spring semester lectures are intended to challenge and equip students to address public issues thoughtfully and faithfully. They give us a chance to tap into the wisdom of top scholars from around the world who are tackling big issues that we as members of Christ’s body should know about and be willing to discuss.

2024 Res Publica Lectures: Creation and Self-Creation in Modernity
Guest Speaker: Dr. Tara Isabella Burton
January 11-13

Chapel Lectures: Thursday and Friday - 11:00 am, The Dora Maclellan Brown Memorial Chapel
One-Credit Course: Thursday and Friday evenings and Saturday morning, Brock Hall

The theme this year is "self-making" as Dr. Tara Isabella Burton explores themes in her 2023 book Self Made: Creating Our Identities from Da Vinci to the Kardashians. The one-credit class that will accompany Dr. Burton's two public lectures in chapel is called Creation and Self-Creation in Modernity. The class and lectures will ask the important (though hardly new) question: "What does it mean to create our “selves?” And—more importantly—should we want to?" Burton will lead students in exploring the relationship of human creative freedom and human self-fashioning to the wider project of modernity, with particular attention paid to its theological implications. Visitors are welcome.



tara burton

Tara Isabella Burton

Tara Isabella Burton is the author of the novels Social Creature, The World Cannot Give, and Here in Avalon, as well as the nonfiction books Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World and Self-Made: Curating Our Image from Da Vinci to the Kardashians. She is currently working on a history of magic and modernity, to be published by Convergent in late 2025. 

Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New York Times, National Geographic, Granta, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and more. She also co-writes the Substack newsletter "Line of Beauty" with her husband, Dhananjay Jagannathan.

Tara received a doctorate in theology from Oxford in 2017. She is a Visiting Fellow at George Mason University's Mercatus Center.

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