Multiculturalism, Polyculturalism, and the Commodification of Diversity

May 21, 2015 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Harris School of Public Policy, Room 289B
1155 E. 60th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637

Join Silk Road Rising Artistic Director Jamil Khoury and Professor Rick Shweder (Harold H. Swift Distinguished Service Professor of Human Development at the University of Chicago), for a screening and discussion about Khoury’s new video play Multi Meets Poly: Multiculturalism and Polycuturalism Go On a First Date.

Multi Meets Poly is a thought-provoking and often-humorous reflection on the theoretical and practical differences between two powerful social ideas, personified as human characters, and endowed with professional rivalry, intellectual one-upmanship, and sexual tension.  This would-be romantic evening becomes the perfect vehicle for exploring American interpretations of pluralism, cultural interchange, and diversity.

Multi Meets Poly should be viewed as a theatricalized intellectual workout. It is not narrative storytelling in the traditional sense, but rather a rigorous and compelling exercise in probing ideas through a medium called pedagogidrama. The ideas in this video play do not simply inform the story, nor function as mere subtext to the story, the ideas are the story. As a playwright, Khoury has grown increasingly drawn to the notion of dramatizing ideas and dramatizing discursive argument, not as stealth messaging but as the basis for constructing a work of art.

Jamil Khoury is the Founding Artistic Director of Silk Road Rising.  A theatre producer, playwright, essayist, and filmmaker, Khoury’s work explores pluralism, cultural identity, and citizenship.  He most recently participated in a program at Princeton University titled The Dramaturgy of Political Violence about Muslim characters on U.S. stages. 
Khoury holds a M.A. degree in Religious Studies from The University of Chicago Divinity School, a B.S. degree in International Relations from Georgetown University, and a Certificate of Professional Achievement from Kellogg/Northwestern University.  He received the 2013 Actor’s Equity Association’s Lamkey Award for promoting diversity in theatre, and the 2010 3Arts Artist Award for Playwriting.

Richard A. Shweder is a cultural anthropologist and the Harold Higgins Swift Distinguished Service Professor of Human Development in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago.  He received his Ph.D. degree in social anthropology in the Department of Social Relations at Harvard University in 1972, taught a year at the University of Nairobi in Kenya and has been at the University of Chicago ever since. 

His recent research examines the scopes and limits of pluralism and the multicultural challenge in Western liberal democracies.   He examines the norm conflicts that arise when people migrate from Africa, Asia and Latin America to countries in the “North”.   They bring with them culturally endorsed practices (e.g., arranged marriage, animal sacrifice, circumcision of both girls and boys, ideas about parental authority) that mainstream populations in the United States or Western Europe sometimes find aberrant and disturbing.

Free and open to the public. No RSVP necessary. Lunch will be served.

Topic Tags: