John David Carlson (MA'99, PhD'05, Religious Ethics), with fellow investigators Kristin Grady Gilger and Anand Gopal, has been awarded a Luce/ACLS Grant in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs. They will use the grant funds to work on a project titled Religion, Journalism, and Democracy: Strengthening Vital Institutions of Civil Society, which brings together journalists and religion scholars to study how religious practitioners and organizations are part of the fabric of democratic culture. The Luce/ACLS Program in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs (RJIA) is an initiative designed to foster new connections between scholars and journalists covering international affairs. The program offers two interrelated awards: programming grants for universities and fellowships for scholars in the humanities and social sciences who study religion in international contexts. This program is made possible by the generous support of The Henry Luce Foundation.
Jamil Khoury (AMRS'92) has been selected by the Diversity Leadership Council to receive the 2017 Diversity Leadership Award for University of Chicago Alumni.
Khoury is Founding Artistic Director of Silk Road Rising
which creates live theatre and online videos that tell stories through primarily Asian American and Middle Eastern American lenses. A theatre producer, playwright, essayist, and filmmaker, Khoury’s work focus on Middle Eastern themes and questions of Diaspora. He is particularly interested in the intersections of culture, national identity, citizenship, and class. Khoury is the 2015 recipient of the Community Leader Award from the Association for Asian American Studies, the 2013 recipient of the Kathryn V. Lamkey Award from Actor’s Equity Association for promoting diversity and inclusion in theatre, the 2013 ChangeMaker Award from South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) for his pairing of artistic and civic processes in the development of his groundbreaking Mosque Alert initiative, and the 2010 recipient of the 3Arts Artist Award for Playwriting. In 2014, Silk Road Rising, under the leadership of Khoury and his husband, Malik Gillani, was inducted into Chicago’s Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame for “showcasing works that address themes relevant to Silk Road peoples and their Diaspora communities, including polycultural LGBT stories.”
Silk Road Rising 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.
"I have often been asked how a Master's degree in religious studies from The University of Chicago Divinity School applies to my work as an artistic director," says Khoury. "I am hard pressed to think of ways it doesn't. In my work, I navigate text, representation, subjectivity, conflict, imagination, meaning, history, spirituality, identity, debate, and those endless quests for knowledge, truth, and justice. So I'd say the Divinity School provided me with tools and armour that enable me to perform this work with greater efficacy and integrity. In fact I have often said that Swift Hall is embedded in the DNA of Silk Road Rising!"
The University of Chicago's Diversity Leadership Council was appointed by President Robert J. Zimmer in 2007 to help ensure that the University’s relationships with its staff, surrounding neighborhoods, and business partners appropriately reflect the University’s commitment to diversity as part of its core mission. As part of its role, the Diversity Leadership Council recognizes annually a University of Chicago alumna/us who has provided leadership in advancing social justice and equity, furthering the University’s goal of achieving greater diversity across our community and society.
Mr. Khoury was recognized on January 9th in Ida Noyes Hall. University President Robert J. Zimmer conferred the award, saying, "Jamil has worked tirelessly to challenge stereotypical narratives against Asian, Middle Eastern, and Muslim Americans. He has created opportunities for writers, artists, and performers of color to bring their stories and craft to the stage. As an alumnus of this university, his use of the arts to counter dominant narratives, to educate the community, and to promote inclusion and social justice for underrepresented groups exemplifies the values of the university and its commitment to diversity and inclusion."
Also recognized were Rudy Nimocks (Diversity Leadership Staff Award) and Margaret Beale Spencer (Diversity Leadership Faculty Award).
photo credit: Malik Gillany, Silk Road Rising