Project Humanities hosts free workshop on privilege

June 11, 2014

What does “privilege” mean? Why and how is it important? Arizona State University Project Humanities attempts to answer these questions at its upcoming "Perils & Perks of Privilege" workshop at 6 p.m., July 14, at the Pomegranate Café, 4025 E. Chandler Blvd., Phoenix.

The free workshop is a six-part series funded in part by Arizona Humanities and led by Neal A. Lester of Arizona State University and Yvette Johnson, Ahwatukee filmmaker and author. This particular workshop will feature special guest Allison Parker, a faculty member at South Mountain Community College who specializes in African-American literature, rhetoric and women and gender studies. Download Full Image

Each unique workshop uses interactive activities to explore the everyday manifestations of privilege, the unearned and often invisible ways in which society accommodates and disadvantages each of us simultaneously. Facilitators will also encourage participants to consider strategies for combating the systemic biases that result.

Although facilitators will be present to provide structure and maintain a safe, respectful environment, it will be up to the participants to influence the conversation with their own diverse perspectives. Participants will be encouraged to come to their own conclusions and propose their own ideas.

Lester explains, “This is not about shaming anyone or making anyone feel guilty. Rather, it is about personal and private self-reflection, such that we better understand the perspectives of others.”

The workshop is founded on the belief that every person both suffers and benefits from the various privileges assigned to certain categories of people. "Perils & Perks of Privilege" is not limited to the obvious privileges of gender, race and class, but extends to the able-bodied, the cisgender, the adult, the thin and others.

Project Humanities is an award-winning ASU initiative dedicated to encouraging meaningful community discussions guided by the principles of “talking, listening, connecting.” The group hosts and sponsors hundreds of free and public events every to year in an effort to raise important questions and perspectives among and across disciplines, cultures, professions and generations. Past events have included lectures, film screenings, circus performances, interactive painting and much more.

Interested parties should visit for program information and to access a growing database of resources on privilege.

For more information, contact Project Humanities at or 480-727-7030.

Reporter , ASU News


ASU students recognized for achievement in studying religion, conflict

June 11, 2014

The Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict recently hosted its annual student awards program to celebrate the incredible work of Arizona State University students who are investigating the complex dynamics between religion and conflict.

Students have opportunities to explore these issues through involvement in the center’s undergraduate research fellows program and certificate in religion and conflict. The undergraduate research fellows program pairs students with a faculty member working directly on current research projects involving religion and conflict. Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict Student Awards Download Full Image

Fellows also have the opportunity to take a special class with the center's director, professor Linell Cady, as well as meet with visiting scholars and attend special lectures. Many of the 2013-14 fellows’ reflected on what it was like to have an opportunity to read something for the seminar and then discuss the text with the author.

Some of the visiting scholars the fellows met with included Najeeba Syeed-Miller, Ira Chernus and Dennis Dalton. “When the authors of the books came in, I gained a newfound appreciation of their texts, and it was able to make a deeper impact,” said Marzia Shah, a 2013-14 fellow and biochemistry major.

The students who completed the 2013-14 fellows program are:

• Annika Cline, journalism
• Alysha Green, global studies
• Linda Haddad, political science
• James Macdonald, public service and public policy
• Sishir Mohan, computer science
• Alexander Petrusek, history
• Marzia Shah, biochemistry
• Mariha Syed, biochemistry

“The undergraduate fellows and religion and conflict certificate programs attract students from a wide range of disciplines,” says John Carlson, associate director of the center and head of the certificate program.

“We’re always so impressed to learn about the exciting pursuits and vocations of students who have completed center programs. The far-reaching diversity of the careers these students are entering is really quite amazing.”

The undergraduate certificate in religion and conflict is open to all students enrolled at ASU, in any major. Some of the students in attendance at the awards ceremony who received their certificates shared their post-graduation plans.

Carmel Dooling, a Dean’s medalist and double major in history and political science, has been accepted into the law school at the University of Chicago. John Barton, a religious studies major, has been accepted into three different seminaries, but he hasn’t decided where he’s headed yet.

“The certificate program helped broaden my perspectives,” says Barton. “If it wasn’t for the certificate, I never would have taken a justice studies course on Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights.”

The full list of students earning certificates in the 2013-14 academic year includes:

• Sarah Anders, religious studies and history
• Derek Bakke, global studies
• John Barton, religious studies
• Ashley Doering, marketing and religious studies
• Carmel Dooling, history and political science
• Tracy Encizo, integrative studies
• Grant Griffin, non-degree grad student
• Alana Newman, global studies
• Melanie North, global studies
• Isaac Ortega, religious studies and political science
• Sally Swinney, global studies
• Mauro Whiteman, journalism

The certificate may be of particular interest to students pursuing careers in journalism, law, policy work, diplomacy, the military, public advocacy, publishing, education, ministry or other fields in which an enhanced understanding of religion and conflict is crucial.

To learn more about the certificate, visit:

In addition to recognizing students who completed the undergraduate research fellows program and earned certificates in religion and conflict, the center also announced the winners of the 2014 Friends of the Center research scholarships.

Story by Matt Correa and Emily Fritcke

The Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict is a research unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences that examines the role of religion as a driving force in human affairs.