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Rediff.com  » News » Bush names Jamshed Choksy to humanities council

Bush names Jamshed Choksy to humanities council

February 08, 2008 16:01 IST

A professor of liberal arts at Indiana University was nominated by President George W Bush to the prestigious National Council on the Humanities for a six-year period beginning January 27.

Bush nominated Mumbai-born Jamshed Kersasp Choksy to the Council, which is part of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The nominations of Choksy and other members to the 26-member body await Senate confirmation.

'It is an honor to have been nominated by the President,' Professor Choksy said. 'If confirmed by the Senate, I look forward to serving this great nation and ensuring the vibrancy of the humanities in our society. There's always a need to keep reinvigorating the humanities, because they provide the foundation that glues our society together,' he added.

Professor Choksy grew up in Colombo, Sri Lanka, before coming to the United States to attend Columbia University and Harvard University.

An American citizen, he is a professor of Central Eurasian studies and history, an adjunct professor of religious studies, and an affiliated faculty member of India studies and ancient studies at Indiana University. He has served as chairman of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures and as director of the Middle Eastern Studies Program at IU. An accomplished scholar and researcher, he has been the recipient of an Andrew W Mellon Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study inĀ  Behavioral Sciences, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, an American Philosophical Society Fellowship, and two research grants from the American Academy of Religion. He was selected as a Government of India Research Fellowship lecturer in 1998.

His research examines the development of sectarian communities in Central Asia, the Near East and South Asia -- where he has traveled extensively -- through interdisciplinary approaches involving anthropology, archeology, history, languages, linguistics, literatures, numismatics and religious studies.

Professor Choksy is the author of three books: Evil, Good, and Gender: Facets of the Feminine in Zoroastrian Religious History (Peter Lang Publishers, 2002); Conflict and Cooperation: Zoroastrian Subalterns and Muslim Elites in Medieval Iranian Society (Columbia University Press, 1997); and Purity and Pollution in Zoroastrianism: Triumph over Evil (University of Texas Press, 1989).

He is writing a book on the history of Iranian religions for the Harvard University Press and is an associate editor of the Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender (Macmillan, 2007).

Before joining Indiana University, he taught in the Department of History and the International Relations Program at Stanford University as a visiting assistant professor from 1991 to 1993. He was a member and an NEH Fellow at the School of Historical Studies in the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey from 1993 to 1994.

Suman Guha Mozumder