Video: Religion and Comics Panel

Religion and Comics Discussion

Throughout history, comic books have occupied many roles for religious communities. They continue to do so today. Comics have been mediums for both the positive and negative portrayal of religious belonging. They have served as objects of devotion as well as of controversy and censorship. Some comics are, themselves, religious artifacts. One might approach comics from a literary analytical perspective, identifying and analyzing the theological and otherwise religious themes and characters that appear therein. Join us for a conversation, however, that will discuss comics as sources for the study, teaching, and publication of American religious studies.

Matthew J. Cressler (Chief of Staff at the Corporation for Public Interest Technology, Independent Scholar)

Jenny Caplan (University of Cincinnati)
Yvonne Chireau (Swarthmore College)
Hussein Rashid (Harvard Divinity School)

April 18, 2024

Video: Faith in Action: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Solidarity for Just Peace in Times of Conflict

This dialogue was held between three scholar-practitioners who drew inspiration from their respective faiths in order to advocate for a just peace. This talk provided an opportunity for a deep discussion of faith-based activism, liberatory readings of theological texts, and the complex and, at times, controversial role of multi-faith and international solidarity in the Palestinian liberation movement during times of crisis.

This event took place October 18, 2023.

Video: Building Community Through Film

Discover how films can bring people together, spark conversations, and inspire positive change. From exploring the role of documentaries in raising awareness about social issues to discussing the influence of fictional films in shaping our perceptions, this event offers a unique opportunity to delve into the world of community building through cinema. This conversation explores the transformative power of movies!

On Wednesday, September 20th, the Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign held a conversation about the power of film as a tool to support community healing, process experiences of violence, and engage new communities in the important ongoing work of building a pluralistic and inclusive country. This conversation featured Pardeep S. Kaleka, co-director of Not in Our Town, Aber Kawas, a community organizer featured in An Act of Worship, and Dr. Hussein Rashid, a professor and scholar of religion specializing in Muslims and American Popular Culture.

Scoot Over Podcast: History, a reckoning

I joined Nikki Sanchez on the Scoot Over Podcast, hosted by Aymann Ismail, to talk about the uses of history.

The official description is:

History is written by the victors is a famous phrase, but rarely do we dig into what it actually means and its consequences for how we understand who we are. Aymann speaks with two academics who are teaching the rest of us to resist the neat and convenient historical narratives we learned in school .

Hussein Rashid, PhD, is a freelance academic based in New York City, on the land of the Lenape people. His work focuses on religion in US popular culture, and Shi’i theologies of justice. He was the lead content consultant for the Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s exhibitAmerica to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far, an executive producer on the New York Times op-docSecret History of Muslims in the US, and is an executive producer on the documentary projectAmerican Muslims: A History Revealed.

Nikki Sanchez is a Pipil and Irish/Scottish academic, Indigenous media maker, and environmental educator.  Her TEDx presentation is entitled “Decolonization is for Everyone”, and she is the creator and director of "Decolonize Together", a collective of Indigenous and Black women who offer decolonial and inclusivity workshops and curriculum creation. In May of 2020, Nikki's first book, an anthology of the Salish Sea Resident Orca whales was released by the Royal BC Museum publisher, it has remained on the BC bestsellers list ever since.

And the audio is here:

And they made me this lovely cartoon:



Panelist on May 19th and Muslim art and history

The Building Bridges project invites you to virtual workshop dialogues about cities, architecture, and contemporary life in Muslim communities. Expert panelists will offer their insights about these topics from global and local Texas frames, including the Aga Khan Trust for Culture initiativesLearn more about the panelists and this partnership between the Aga Khan Council for the Central US and The University of Texas at Arlington on the project website here.

Panelists will be engaging with workshop participants dedicated to developing short documentary film episodes relevant to these conversations. The Building Bridges project organizers will select 4 short film pitches offered by these workshops participants to fund! After production this summer, the film series will air on Ismaili TV in the fall of 2021. By joining these dialogues, you can learn more about these important topics and get a “behind-the-scenes” look into the film series.


We invite you to REGISTER using this form to gain access to zoom links for the workshop dialogues. Registration ensures that you will receive subsequent communications and links to the virtual events. As a member of the audience, you can attend any or all dialogues as you wish and your availability allows. PLEASE SHARE WITH YOUR NETWORKS!

Workshop Schedule

Mon, May 17 from 7-8:30pm CST on Zoom
Dialogue 1: What is Building Bridges and what is the Aga Khan Trust for Culture?

Panelists: Raj Isar with UTA Faculty Dr. Leah McCurdy and Dr. Douglas Klahr.

Wed, May 19 from 7-9pm CST on Zoom
Dialogue 2: Why is the history of Muslim civilizations and culture significant and why should we preserve historic cities and buildings?

Panelists: Dr. Hussein Rashid and Raj Isar.

Fri, May 21 from 7-9pm CST on Zoom
Dialogue 3: How can architectural conservation impact global Muslim communities and local communities of Texas?

Panelists: Samia Rab Kirchner, David Preziosi, John Brown, and Nancy McCoy.

Mon, May 24 from 7-9pm CST on Zoom
Dialogue 4: How can contemporary architecture and urban spaces impact local communities in Muslim communities around the world?

Panelists: Khalil Pirani, Saif Ul Haque, and Andre Tchelistcheff.

Wed, May 26 from 7-8pm CST on Zoom
Dialogue 5: How can contemporary architecture and urban spaces impact local communities and address needs in the US and Texas? 
Panelists: Zamila Karimi and Lizzie MacWillie

We look forward to zooming with you!

Please contact Leah McCurdy at if you have questions about programming, networks to share the invitation with, or have technical difficulties with the registration form or website.