So these two schools keep coming up on my radar for their social justice focuses and general academic prowess. I knew I would be in Cincinnati (Xavier) for a significant amount of time, as well as Nashville (Vanderbilt), so I took some brief moments to visit the campus and browse through their book stores (which I was told is a good indicator of their faculty, if you check out what their professors are writing).

I checked out Xavier first, as I had been staying for some time with a few great friends in Cincy. They live kind of nearby, and I have been to the campus twice now. The first time, I visited their student center and bookstore. Xavier is a Catholic university, known for its focus on social teaching, which is a plus in my book. The facilities looked great, very comfortable and cutting edge. Checking out the textbook section (to get a look at what they’re into), I was very impressed with some of the content for their courses. I also really liked the books that faculty were putting out, mostly Catholic stuff, but I’ve been gaining a huge amount of respect for the Catholic Church over the last several years. The Xavier bookstore is also one of the few places that I have been to where the books are listed below the Amazon price. So that reflects well on their values I guess. In all, I really liked Xavier, but I really only got a peripheral view of what they have to offer. From what I am gathering from friends in Cincy, though, I would only be even more impressed had I been able to speak with students or faculty.

In Nashville, it was super hot and I didnt want to walk around for more time than was absolutely necessary. I found the Divinity school with the help of a friend, but we really didn’t see anything of interest there, as it was a Saturday (and in the middle of the summer). After that, we made our way to the university bookstore, which had some really good titles in their religion section. However, everything was well above the Amazon list price, so I walked away with my wallet intact. The faculty author section was intriguing. By far, most of the books dealt with feminist theory (froma religious perspective), inclusing some very enticing “Feminist Companion Volumes” to the Gospels and Epistles. I really wanted to pick up a few, but I was watching my budget, so I may have to grab some from Amazon later. I had heard that the Vandy faculty did a lot of work on gender justice, so I wasn’t totally surprised by the books, but I didn’t see much else in the way of scholarly writing, which was a bit of a surprise to me. Besides, I really just wanted to get back to the house, where the A/C was cranking…

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