Faith in Media?: a Veritas Forum

When: March 23rd at 7:30pm

Where: Harold Prince Theater

Annenberg Center

3680 Walnut Street


The event, Faith in Media?, developed as a Veritas Forum, will address the university’s annual theme — Media — through the lens of faith.  At this student-focused discussion, professors—including Dean Michael Delli Carpini of the Annenberg School of Communication, the Frances Yates Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School Carolyn Marvin, and Emory University Professor and PBS Commentator Andra Gillespiewill reflect upon a variety of questions at the intersection of media and faith, including society’s faith (or lack thereof) in the media’s standard of neutrality and objectivity, the media’s role in covering divisive issues, and its ability to accurately and fairly represent different faith communities.  The panelists will also reflect on how faith communities engage with the media, both institutionally and through the choices or predilection of individual faith-abiding reporters.  The forum is a rare opportunity for students to hear their own highly respected professors address Penn’s annual theme not just from their academic specialization, but from their personal experience and convictions as well.  


RSVP HERE to attend this event.  Any questions or comments may be directed to Elizabeth Feeney at

Our Presenters

Dr. Andra Gillespie








Dr. Michael Delli Carpini






Dr. Carolyn Marvin





Dr. Lia Howard



Presenter Biographies

Andra Gillespie earned her B.A. in Government & Foreign Affairs and African American Studies from the University of Virginia. She went on to earn a M.A. in African American Studies and a M.Phil in Political Science from Yale University, where she also earned her Ph.D. in 2005. Gillespie’s teaching portfolio includes numerous classes on race and politics in the United States. Gillespie’s current research focuses on the political leadership of the post-civil rights generation. She is the author of The New Black Politician: Cory Booker, Newark and Post-Racial America (NYU Press 2012) and editor and contributor to Whose Black Politics? Cases in Post-Racial Black Leadership (Routledge, 2010).

Due to her academic training and personal faith, Gillespie maintains secondary academic interests in political participation, inter-minority group competition and evangelical politics in the United States. In addition to her academic work, Gillespie maintains an active public profile, providing regular commentary for local and national news outlets.  She has appeared on Atlanta’s local ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS, and PBS affiliates, as well as CNN, NPR and FamilyNet.  Her editorials have been featured in the Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionThe Washington Post, and Politico.


Michael X. Delli Carpini is Professor of Communication and Walter H. Annenberg Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication.  Dr. Carpini’s research focuses on the impact of the media on political knowledge, public opinion and democratic participation.  With a seasoned view on the changing media landscape, he also explores generational differences in political and civic participation; the causes and consequences of the blurring between news and entertainment.  He holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Political Science.

His publications include After Broadcast News: Media Regimes, Democracy, and the New Information Environment, 2011 (with Bruce Williams); Talking Together: Public Deliberation and Political Participation in America, 2009 (with Lawrence Jacobs, Fay Cook); What Americans Know about Politics and Why It Matters, 1989 (with Scott Keeter).  Professor Delli Carpini teaches Popular Culture and Politics; Race, Media, and Politics; Entertainment and Politics; Introduction to Communication Research; and Introduction to Political Communication.

A Penn alumnus (B.A. and M.A., Political Science), he received his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota.  Prior to joining the University of Pennsylvania faculty in July of 2003, Dean Delli Carpini was Director of the Public Policy program of the Pew Charitable Trusts (1999-2003), and member of the Political Science Department at Barnard College and graduate faculty of Columbia University (1987-2002), serving as chair of the Barnard department from 1995 to 1999. Delli Carpini began his academic career as an Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department at Rutgers University (1980-1987).


Carolyn Marvin is the Frances Yates Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication.  Professor Marvin’s research focuses on the relationship between cultural discourses and what they run up against or are limited by, including the human body, material space, and social boundaries. She also has an interest in the related areas of ritual communication and freedom of expression. Professor Marvin is the author of When Old Technologies Were New (1988), a history of how new electric communication technologies at the end of the 19th century were received by a coterie of electrical engineers whose emerging professional status depended on convincing the public of the utility of these inventions and their expertise in relation to them. Also at issue was their reception by a public that feared and anticipated the rearrangement of customary social distances by the new forms of access and transparency these inventions made possible. This study concerns how new conventions of social trust must be negotiated around technological change. In 2010 this book was named the best book on technology ever written in the Atlantic Tech Canon’s first survey of the 50 best books on technology.

Dr. Marvin also authored Blood Sacrifice and the Nation: Totem Rituals and the Flag (Cambridge University Press, 1999), which proposes that American patriotism is a civil religion more culturally far-reaching, more symbolically intricate, and far more violent than previous theories of civil religion have allowed. This study of civil religion examines wars as national sacrifice rituals, presidential elections as national fertility rituals, and both as central to the consciousness of citizens as members of a national community.

Dr. Marvin completed her Ph.D. at the University of Illinois and has won the Franklyn S. Haiman Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Freedom of Expression from the Speech Communications Association and the Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching at the University of Pennsylvania.


Lia C. Howard is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at Saint Joseph’s University. She is a Resident Senior Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Program for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society and a Fox Alumni Research and Service Fellow at the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program at Penn. Previously, Howard taught political science in the College of General Studies and was a Critical Writing Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently working on a book that studies the history of Compulsory Schooling Laws as they relate to American political culture. She also is developing a program addressing radical partisanship. Her other teaching and research areas include American Politics, Urban Politics, Public Policy, Public Education, and Women in Politics. Lia’s husband, Rev. Dr. Charles Howard, is the University Chaplain at Penn.

The Veritas Forum helps students and faculty ask life’s hardest questions. Many of the world’s leading universities were founded to answer the big “why” questions. Our mission is to help them confront these questions anew. The first Veritas Forum was planned by students, faculty and chaplains at Harvard University in 1992. Since then, over 200 universities in North America and Europe have hosted over 2,000 Forums.

The Veritas Forum is committed to courageous conversations. We place the historic Christian faith in dialogue with other beliefs and invite participants from all backgrounds to pursue Truth together.