Wednesday Lunch

Wednesday is a day of community gathering at the Divinity School. Join us!

 Wednesday Lunch is a Divinity School tradition started many decades ago.  At noon on Wednesdays when the quarter is in session a delicious vegetarian meal is made in the Swift Hall kitchen by our student chefs and lunch crew.  Once the three-course meal has reached dessert  there is a talk  – by a University faculty member, a representative of a community organization, an author, or a guest from further afield. All are welcome (you do not have to be a Divinity School student or faculty or staff to come).  Cost is just $5.  Sign up in advance: divinitylunch@gmail.com

Many times these talks focus on various aspects of religion in public life or the academic study of religion, but topics have addressed everything from birds in ancient Egypt to language loss in Siberia to empathy in rats.  Sit at any table and join the conversation: the programs provide a unique opportunity for students, staff, and faculty to engage one another.

Once a quarter we offer a Dean's Forum, which invites a faculty member to discuss one of his or her recent works, with formal response from several Divinity School colleagues.

Lunch itself is a vegetarian meal (a vegan option is available by prior request) and typically includes bread, salad, a main course, dessert, and drinks. Wednesday lunches take place from 12 noon to 1:15 pm in Swift Common Room, and cost $5 at the door. Email to reserve your space.


April 5: Dean's Forum. The Dean's Forum invites a faculty member to discuss one of his or her recent works, with formal response from several Divinity School colleagues. Today we welcome Cynthia Gano Lindner, our Director of Director of Ministry Studies and Clinical Faculty for Preaching and Pastoral Care, in discussion of her recent work, Varieties of Gifts: Multiplicity and the Well-Lived Pastoral Life (Rowman and Littlefield, 2016). Responding will be faculty colleagues Willemien Otten, Professor of Theology and the History of Christianity, and Christian Wedemeyer, Associate Professor of the History of Religions.

April 12Tarek Alexander Hassan, Associate Professor of Finance and Economics, speaking on "Migrants, Ancestors, and Foreign Investments."  Hassan studies international finance, economic history, and macroeconomics. Watch this Chicago Booth Review video, "The economic case for accepting refugees," for a preview.

April 19Stephen Rings, speaking on "Dylan and the Nobel." Associate Professor of Music, Rings research focuses on transformational theory, phenomenology, popular music, and voice. And Bob Dylan.

April 26Anna Lise Seastrand, Collegiate Assistant Professor and Harper Fellow, Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts, speaking on “Knowing Pleasures: the art of kingship in an 18th c. South Indian Palace." Prof. Seastrand’s work broadly addresses the relationships between visual, oral, and written texts in South Asian art, with particular focus on physical and notional landscapes, pilgrimage, and performance.

May 3: William Schweiker, Edward L. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor of Theological Ethics and Kristine Culp, Associate Professor of Theology and Dean of the Disciples Divinity House, on "Innovating Humanites." The Humanities have a natural concern for history and the interpretation of the human past, but the Humanities also help create a future that is livable.  This idea is embedded in the notion of enhancing life.  For the past two years, as Scholars in The Enhancing Life Project, Schweiker and Culp, along with 33 other scholars from  around the world, have been researching and teaching on the notion of enhancing life:  in their disciplines, in the academy, and in the larger world.  Schweiker’s research focuses on the forms of freedom and the ways they interact to enhance human life between the space of the actual world and some sought-after ideal or counter-world. His research draws on religious resources and also engages the current conversation about transhumanism.  Culp’s research explores glory as a theological resource for the enhancement of vulnerable life.  Without negating the importance of resilience in the face of global endangerment and enhancement, glory points beyond resilience to the full capacity and integrity of vulnerable life. 

Schweiker and Culp will also discuss the innovative formats embedded in The Enhancing Life Project and the Capstone Conference, open to the public, August 4-6.  This Wednesday lunch is part of UChicago Innovation Fest 2017 .

May 10: Representatives from the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless Speaker's Bureau. You will have the opportunity to hear directly from people in our community affected by homelessness.  Stefano Medansky is a dedicated leader who is proud to share his story and give hope to others.  At the age of 5, he dealt with bipolar depression and abuse by his step father resulting in substance abuse. He was 18 when he ended up on the streets. With support from his family and the state mental health program, he was able to start his recover and has been sober for 8 years. Stefano has been fighting for a responsible budget and is currently working to engage communities within Lake County as apart of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. He also advocates for mental health because the state program helped him become sober, productive, and stable. Stefano is now married and living with his wife and children in Zion, IL.  Gloria Davigrew up on Chicago’s South Side of Chicago in the Robert Taylor public housing projects. While growing up, Gloria witnessed violence and hardship in her neighborhood. She became involved with drugs, a struggle she lived with for many years. In 2013, Gloria became homeless and entered treatment at the Haymarket Center. Since then, Gloria has advocated with CCH for an increase in the state minimum wage and with the Reentry Project. Gloria has talked to dozens of legislators about measures that would end barriers to housing and work for ex-offenders. Gloria wants to be “a voice for those who feel they have no voice.” 

May 17John Novembre, Associate Professor in the Department of Human Genetics, speaking on "Understanding human genetic diversity." Prof. Novembre's main research goal is to tackle statistical and analytical problems that will enable discoveries about evolutionary processes and the nature of disease variation.

May 24: Annual BBQ in the courtyard. We'll be joined by the Divinity School's own folk music band – name still forthcoming – made up currently of Divinity students Miriam Attia, Jesse Berger, Clay Lemar, Zach Ralston, Won Hee Ryu, and Joel Swanson. YOU are welcome to bring an instrument, or your voice, and if the spirit moves you, join in! 

January 11
Yvonne Maffei, chef, cookbook author, and founder of My Halal Kitchen.

January 18
FUEGO AT SWIFT HALL! Diego Suarez Rojas, a Divinity School MA student and creator of the program "Salsa and Dialogue" at the International House, will speak on the psychology and philosophy behind dance and then lead us all into a group salsa lesson! We will have the best of orchestra salsa music from Cuba and Puerto Rico that can be found on Diego's Spotify list, chips and salsa on our tables, and we are going to spice up the chilly, ruthless winter! 

Diego Suarez Rojas was born and raised at San Cristobal de Las Casas. He is a fiction writer, musician, and researcher, and he also has explored theater. He studies the relations of ethics, arts, and sciences in moral character and cognition. He is currently developing an educational comparative investigation in Mexico and the USA to find ways to balance equity and excellence in schools.

January 25
Dr. Aasim PadelaDirector of the Initiative on Islam and Medicine and a faculty member with the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, speaking. Dr. Padela is Associate Professor of Medicine in the sections of Emergency Medicine and General Internal Medicine.

February 1
Dean's Forum. 
The Dean's Forum invites a faculty member to discuss one of his or her recent works, with formal response from several Divinity School colleagues. Today we welcome Sarah Hammerschlag, Associate Professor of Religion and Literature, Philosophy of Religions and History of Judaism, and the Director of our MA Program, in discussion of her recent work, Broken Tablets: Levinas, Derrida and the Literary Afterlife of Religion (Columbia University Press, 2016). Responding will be faculty colleagues Simeon Chavel, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible, and Kevin Hector, Associate Professor of Theology and of the Philosophy of Religions.

February 8
Fredrik Albritton Jonsson, speaking. Prof. Jonsson is Associate Professor of British History, Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science and Director of the Nicholson Center for British Studies.

February 15
Jamil Khoury
(AMRS'92) and Malik Gillani, the Founding Artistic and Executive Directors, respectively, of Silk Road Rising, are our guests for today's lunch. Silk Road Rising creates live theatre and online videos that tell stories through primarily Asian American and Middle Eastern American lenses and works to advance the creation of, and expand access to, the works of Asian American and Middle Eastern American artists and to deepen understanding of Asian and Middle Eastern cultures within the broader community. Providing resources and learning opportunities that allow individuals to explore, express and embrace a more global perspective, Silk Road Rising provides mentorship and professional opportunities to diverse artists, and partners with grass roots, community-based organizations.

February 22
Tobias Spears, Director of the The Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Student Life, speaking. Spears oversees all programs and services for students concerning matters of sexual orientation and gender identity.  He is also a PhD student at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in the School of Cultural and Critical Studies, studying black queer representation in film and media.

March 1
Donna Schaper, Senior Minister, Judson Memorial Church, speaking.


October 4

October 11: Will Gossin, Senior Associate Director, Social Entrepreneurship and Social Venture Funding Programs at Chicago Booth, speaking. Will Gossin leads the Edwardson Social Entrepreneurship Program and Social Venture Funding programming at SEI, including the John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge. He advises and trains teams of students and faculty from across the university in mixed-method research, leadership, and design-thinking to maximize the social impact of their work.

October 18: Public art on the UChicago Campus: A Nonwalking Tour. Public art on campus is a fascinating, spontaneous experience, with some sculptures boldly claiming open spaces and others tucked unexpectedly between buildings. UChicagoArts offers a one-hour tour covering a small sample of the stunning works that have helped shape UChicago's intellectual and cultural life for decades. But today, you can take a modified version of the tour – over Lunch! Cassandra Dunn and Nika Levando from UChicagoArts will join us. 

October 25: Rev. Brian Sauder, Executive Director of Faith in Place, speaking. Faith in Place empowers Illinois people of all faiths to be leaders in caring for the Earth, providing resources to educate, connect, and advocate for healthier communities. Since 1999, Faith in Place has worked with over 1,000 houses of worship throughout Illinois to protect our common land, water, and air. Rev. Sauder, who has a BS in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences as well as an MA and MBA, is ordained by the Mennonite Church USA. He is also an Adjunct Professor at McCormick Theological Seminary, serves on the Board of the Illinois Environmental Council, and his work has been recognized as a 2012 award recipient of the University of Illinois's Business School's Community Scholar and as a 2013 Central IL Business 40 Under 40 winner. 
November 1: Dr. Stacy Lindau and Megan DePumpo from Feed1st. Feed1st, founded in 2010 by Chicago medical students, hospital staff, and faculty, works to relieve hunger for families of children receiving care at the Comer Children's Hospital. Learn about how this initiative is working not only to research health outcomes related to food insecurity, but to actually address hunger felt in our own hospitals today. 
Nov. 8
Cynthia Bathurst, Executive Director of Safe Humane Chicago, speaking. Creating safe and humane communities by inspiring positive relationships between people and animals, Safe Humane's community-based programs provide education and training, early intervention, advocacy and access to needed resources for people and animals in disadvantaged circumstances. Programs include court advocacy and court-case dogs.
During a 25-year-long career in mathematics consulting, Bathurst was led to community policing and organizing, prompted by crime and violence in Chicago communities. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and computer science from the University of Alabama and a PhD at The University of Iowa. Cynthia also serves an advisor on the National Canine Research Council and is a member of Chicago’s Commission on Animal Care and Control. Cynthia considers herself the special guardian of every dog or cat who is a Safe Humane Ambassador and from the Court Case Animals Program.

Nov. 15
Jeanne Bishopprominent advocate for gun violence prevention, abolition of the death penalty, exoneration of the innocent and the role of faith in the debate over executions, speaking.  Ms BIshop defends the indigent as a Public Defender in the Office of the Cook County (IL) Public Defender and is the author ofChange of Heart: Justice, Mercy, and Making Peace with My Sister’s Killer. (Westminster John Knox Press 2015)