Casper Lecture

The annual Casper was inaugurated by the History Department in 1993 to honor Rev. Henry W. Casper, S. J., a long-time member of the history departments at Creighton University in Omaha and at Marquette University (he retired as Professor Emeritus from Marquette in 1974). He was an expert in nineteenth century European History and in American church history; his most important work was a three-volume history of the Catholic Church in Nebraska. The Casper Lecture, as well as several programs for graduate students in history, is funded by an endowment from Dr. and Mrs. Wayne L. Ryan of Omaha. Dr. Ryan was a student of Father Casper’s at Creighton.

18th Annual Rev. Henry W. Casper, S.J., Lecture

Virtual presentation on April 28, 2022

4:30 p.m.

Click here to join the meeting

"Medical Sites of Modernity in Guatemala: Women Religious and Maya Health During the Cold War"

The absence of Western doctors, hospitals and medicine, and the corresponding presence of high infant mortality, disease and low life expectancy, maps directly onto rural people, women, people of color and the poor. Such conditions are used to blame them for disease and illness, and to impose on them medical solutions presented by national and international agents. In the 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, Maryknoll sisters and women religious from other orders brought “Western medicine” to Maya communities in Guatemala’s highlands. Despite very different ideals of medical practice, together the Maya and the Maryknoll sisters shaped a new health care system that was neither “Western” nor “Maya,” yet was decidedly modern and transformative. By doing so, they developed a critique of Western development and power.


Dr. Susan Fitzpatrick-BehrensDr. Susan Fitzpatrick-Behrens

Professor of History, California State University, Northridge

Susan Fitzpatrick-Behrens is the author of The Maryknoll Catholic Mission in Peru, 1943–1989: Transnational Faith and Transformation (Notre Dame Press, 2012) and articles in Catholic Historian, Latin American Research Review, The Americas 
and NACLA Report on the Americas. She is a grantee of the American Council for Learned Societies, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies (Notre Dame) and the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (Harvard), and is co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Latin American Christianity.

Free and open to the public
Sponsored by the Marquette University Department of History
For more information, call 414.288.7217.

The exhibit “Remembering Madre Rosa” on the Maryknoll sisters’ connection to Marquette Medical School and the Medical College of Wisconsin, curated by current Marquette students based on interviews in Guatemala, will be on display before and after the lecture.


Previous Casper Lectures

2010 - 2018


Watch Anna Clark deliver, "Human Rights and Animal Rights: Local Control of Hospitals in the 1890s British Empire”

Anna Clark of the University of Minnesota delivered the 17th annual Casper Lecture on March 26 at Marquette University's Raynor Library. Her topic was “Human Rights and Animal Rights: Local Control of Hospitals in the 1890s British Empire.” Her lecture is part of her current book project, which is tentatively called, “Rage against the Machine: Individual Rights, Biopolitics in Britain and its Empire.” 

Anna Clark is professor of history at the University of Minnesota and President of the North American Conference on British Studies. She is the author of Desire: The History of European Sexuality (2008), Scandal: The Sexual Politics of the British Constitution (2004), and The Struggle for the Breeches: Gender and the Making of the British Working Class (1995). She is a former editor of the American British Studies Journal.


Eckart Frahm, Yale University

Watch Eckart Frahm deliver “The Rape of Clio: History, Memory and the Cultural Heritage Crisis in the Middle East.”


Juan Cole, University of Michigan

Watch Juan Cole deliver "Iran's Intervention in Syria: Ideology or Pragmatism"


Leonard V. Smith, Oberlin College

Watch Leonard V. Smith deliver "The War After the War: Drawing Boundaries at the Paris Peace Conference"


Jon E. Lendon, University of Virginia

Watch Jon E. Lendon deliver "Ancient Greek Infantry Combat: What Can Modern Riots Tell Us?"


Rebecca J. Scott, University of Michigan

"She had always enjoyed her freedom: Re-enslavement and the Law in the Era of the Haitian Revolution."


Anthony F. Aveni, Colgate University

Watch Anthony F. Aveni deliver "Maya Apocalypse Soon?"


Raymond Mentzer, University of Iowa

Watch Raymond Mentzer deliver Standing for Mass, Seated for Sermon: An Unexpected Liturgical Consequence of the Protestant Reformation"


2002 - 2009


Judith Bennett, University of Southern California

Watch Judith Bennett deliver "Death and the Maiden in Chaucer’s England"


Bruce Cumings, University of Chicago

"North Korea: Still in the axis of evil?"


Julia Clancy-Smith, University of Arizona

"Where Elites Meet: Harem Visits, Sea-Bathing, and Sociabilities in Tunisia, c. 1830-1881"


Marianne Elliott, University of Liverpool

"Irish Protestantism and the Specter of Popery"


Jonathan Spence, Yale University

"Thinking it Through: Chinese and Catholics in the Seventeenth Century"


Susan Desan, University of Wisconsin-Madison

"The Politics of Love: Marriage, Divorce, and Gender Relations during the French Revolution"


Paul Cobb, University of Notre Dame

"There Goes the Neighborhood: The World of a Muslim Family in an Age of Crusades"


John Merriman, Yale University

"Collaboration and Resistance in Vichy France."