Global Politics & Religion group leaders awarded prestigious grant in religion, journalism, and international affairs

June 9, 2017

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd and Brannon Ingram, co-leaders of Global Politics and ReligionNorthwestern was recently named a winner of the 2017 Luce/ACLS Program in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs (RIJA) Grants for Universities. The $60,000 award will support the project, Talking “Religion”: Publics, Politics, and the Media, led by Buffett faculty fellow Elizabeth Shakman Hurd (political science) and faculty affiliate Brannon D. Ingram (religious studies). The project will build on and expand their work as co-leaders of the Buffett Institute’s Global Politics and Religion research group.

The award will help strengthen relationships between scholars and journalists across Northwestern and beyond, creating new types of mutually beneficial collaboration between faculty at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications; the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences; and the Buffett Institute. 

“With the grant, we seek to bring together innovative thinkers in search of new understandings of and creative responses to the challenges of socially and religiously diverse worlds,” Hurd says. 

Hurd and Ingram’s project is motivated by two questions:

  • How can scholars and journalists of religion, politics, and public life better communicate their findings and learn from each other?
  • How can they communicate their work and insights to public audiences in a way that is accessible and appealing without sacrificing nuance and complexity?

The project will provide scholars of religion with new avenues for publicizing their work and will offer journalists new ways of understanding and conceptualizing religion in their reporting. Ingram and Hurd will develop a new course for Medill and Weinberg students on media and cultural representations of Islam in American and international public life—a topic of critical import today and in the future. Two new graduate research fellowships will offer opportunities for graduate students in Medill and Weinberg to hone their “religion reporting” and writing skills in a supportive and collegial environment. It will also allow the Global Politics and Religion research group to begin to reach out to the larger Evanston/Chicago communities to explore these questions together at a public workshop and other events.

 “By receiving this prestigious award, Hurd and Ingram have realized one of the aspirations of our ‘Big Ideas’ program: to leverage Buffett support with external funding that will help develop and sustain scholarly activity,” Buffett Director Bruce Carruthers says.

The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) is a private, nonprofit federation of 75 national scholarly organizations and is the leading representative of American scholarship in the humanities and related social sciences. The Luce/ACLS RIJA Grants for Universities are available to institutions with strengths in the study of religion, journalism, and media to extend their current programs in ways that catalyze interdisciplinary collaborations.