Throughout her career, Cecilia González-Andrieu has dedicated her work to showcasing the importance of recognizing individuals’ beauty and goodness through social justice and theology. As one of the leading scholars in theological aesthetics, González-Andrieu believes that beauty is a human right–stressing the importance of art and beauty as mediums of self-expression during times of oppression.
The University of Portland Garaventa Center is hosting Loyola Marymount University’s González-Andrieu for this year’s annual Zahm lecture in the Brian Doyle Auditorium at 5 p.m. on Sept. 14. The lecture, “I’M DONE BEING POLITE!: Truth Telling in Education,” will discuss contemporary forms of injustice from a theological perspective of Catholic Social Teaching.
According to Karen Eifler, the Director of the Garaventa Center, another emphasis of the lecture will be beauty and art in the face of injustice. As part of the showcase, González-Andrieu will demonstrate student artwork from her previous theology classes that express emotions surrounding the issues faced by immigrants, DACA students and undocumented workers.
Born in Cuba, González-Andrieu immigrated to the United States at a young age and graduated with a bachelor’s in film and Spanish and a master’s in theology from LMU before getting a doctorate in theology from the Graduate Theological Union Berkeley. She is now a theology professor at LMU and a published theologian writer for America Magazine.
González-Andrieu works with the most underprivileged members of society and focuses on issues surrounding how theology and social justice intersect with issues faced by the Latinx community. Much of her teaching centers on immigration, DACA students and undocumented workers and the role that art and theology play in social movements.
Eifler says that UP’s annual Zahm lectures are meant to set the tone for what students should hope to gain from their education. This year, the Garaventa Center hopes that Gonzalez-Andrieu’s lecture will encourage UP students to understand the importance of the innate beauty and goodness in others and the ways they get lost through injustice and oppression.
“There’s this yearning for a better world and for a more equitable world and a more just community,” Eifler said. “I think that Dr. González-Andrieu’s words are going to give people some of the tools they need to bring that about. All are incredibly welcome.”
Carlos Moreno-Vega is a reporter for The Beacon. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.