Dec 10th 2020

Explore the concepts of faith, identity, personal journey, and safe havens through an overview of two exhibitions: American Medina: Stories of Muslim Chicago at the Chicago History Museum and Sanctuary at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. Dr. Zahra Jamal of Rice University’s Boniuk Institute of Religious Tolerance moderates this discussion with Dr. Peter T. Alter, chief historian of the Chicago History Museum, and Dr. Michael Chagnon, curator at the Aga Khan Museum.

This event is free of charge and runs 60–75 minutes.



Zahra Nasiruddin Jamal is associate director at Rice University’s Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance, where she oversees strategy, operations, and outreach. She has consulted for the UN, State Department, Aga Khan Development Network, and Aspen Institute on issues of philanthropy and civic engagement, education, positive youth development, migrant labor, gender equity, food security, and refugee settlement in North America, Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, and Central Asia. Dr. Jamal received a PhD in Social Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard, and double BAs in Slavic Studies and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies from Rice.


Peter T. Alter is the chief historian and the director of the Studs Terkel Center for Oral History at the Chicago History Museum, where he has worked for over twenty-one years. He leads the Chicago Muslim Oral History Project and curated the Museum’s American Medina: Stories of Muslim Chicago exhibition, which opened in 2019.



Michael Chagnon joined the Aga Khan Museum as a curator in May 2019. A specialist of painting and the arts of the book of the early modern Persianate sphere, he has held curatorial positions at Japan Society in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Brooklyn Museum. Dr. Chagnon’s substantial teaching experience includes a recent graduate seminar on Persianate painting at Columbia University in New York. He received his PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, in 2015.

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