Ajay Singh Chaudhary Named 2018 Roddenberry Fellow

The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research (BISR) is pleased to announce that founder and Executive Director Ajay Singh Chaudhary has been named an inaugural Roddenberry Fellow. Chaudhary is one of 20 recipients chosen for their commitment to their communities and the potential for sustainable impact in their work. Through the Roddenberry Fellowship, BISR will receive $50,0000 to expand its Network and Praxis programs and work on new development strategies to ensure BISR’s long-term sustainability.

Newly created by the Roddenberry Foundation, the Roddenberry Fellowship provides monetary support and tailored, professionalized training to individuals who are pursuing or commencing projects that, in the Foundation’s words, “seek new ways of approaching systemic and entrenched problems” in order “to make the U.S. a more inclusive and equitable place to live.” In selecting Chaudhary, the Roddenberry Foundation affirmed the importance of BISR’s unique model of community-based education, wherein rigorous, scholarly, and socially engaged inquiry is interwoven with the lives and needs of working adults.

“It’s an incredible honor both personally but also institutionally to have BISR’s work building new homes and spaces for critical education and research in the public sphere, recognized like this” says Chaudhary. “We’ve been working incredibly hard to make critical inquiry more broadly accessible and we’re glad that impact is being felt.”

As a Fellow, Chaudhary will focus on three key projects: BISR Network, Praxis, and institutional development. BISR Network is a series of small education centers expressly situated in Midwestern communities distended by economic instability, demographic change, and racial tension, while Praxis provides tailored educational resources, including workshops, seminars, and written materials, to non-profits, labor, political, and other public-interest groups. Throughout the fellowship year, Chaudhary will work to expand both programs—forge new partnerships, identify new sources of funding, and develop new courses and materials. In addition, Chaudhary will focus on non-profit development models to support BISR’s long-term sustainability. “I’m looking forward to learning from all the fellows and am grateful to the support the foundation will give me and the whole BISR team throughout the year.”

According to Suzanne Schneider, BISR’s Deputy Director, Chaudhary’s selection as a Roddenberry Fellow is both a tribute to his dedication to making high-quality education broadly accessible and a valuable opportunity for BISR to improve and expand its programming while concentrating on long-term viability. “It’s wonderful to see Ajay receive recognition for the years of labor that have gone into making BISR a powerful source for civically-engaged public education. Our entire team is looking forward to building on our past successes as we continue to pursue a new model for education and scholarship in the 21st century.”

The Roddenberry Foundation was started in 2010 to honor Gene Roddenberry, the acclaimed creator of Star Trek, and his commitment to a more just, equitable, and utopian future. The connection is fitting: “I can’t believe I managed to keep quiet about Star Trek during the whole review process with the foundation. I’m a lifelong fan and Star Trek is actually a key cultural touchstone—it comes up in my classes all the time!” Chaudhary remarked. “It may be more influential on the the development of my thinking than I should publicly admit.”

About Ajay Singh Chaudhary
Ajay Singh Chaudhary is the founding and executive director of the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research and a member of the core faculty specializing in social and political theory. He holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University’s MESAAS department and Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, and an M.Sc. in Culture and Society from the London School of Economics. His research focuses on social and political theory, comparative philosophy, Frankfurt School critical theory, religion, political economy, media studies, and post-colonial studies. He has written for the Los Angeles Review of Books, Quartz, Social Text, Dialectical Anthropology, The Jewish Daily Forward, The Public Eye, Filmmaker Magazine, and 3quarksdaily, among other venues.

About the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research
The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research is an interdisciplinary teaching and research institute that offers critical, community-based education in the humanities and social sciences. Working in partnership with local businesses and cultural organizations, we integrate rigorous but accessible scholarly study with the everyday lives of working adults and re-imagine scholarship for the 21st century.

Founded in 2012 with a single course on Aristotle and Plato in the back of a New York City bar, we work with national and international cultural organizations, local bookstores, cafes, businesses, and community spaces to offer a full curriculum of affordable seminars in subjects that range from philosophy and feminist theory to biology and economics. Our faculty are all gifted scholar-pedagogues with a broad array of expertise acquired through their doctoral work, academic and popular writing, industry experience, and in the classroom itself. As a labor-forward organization, 70% of all tuition fees go to supporting BISR faculty in their teaching and research endeavours.

Named after the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt, Germany, BISR is actively pioneering a new model for scholarship in the twenty-first century that integrates a commitment to pedagogy, research,  and public programming. The BISR Community Initiative, funded by public grants and private donations, brings classes and workshops to underserved communities. Through BISR Praxis and BISR OnSite we offer educational development to non-profits, labor unions, and private companies. And our BISR Office Hours program provides in depth, tailored one-on-one study for interested students. We also host film screenings, panel discussions, talks, and a podcast, and offer intensive Day-of-Learning seminars on single texts. BISR is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. For more information, visit www.thebrooklyninstitute.com or email info@thebrooklyninstitute.com. For press inquiries, contact Mark DeLucas at mark@thebrooklyninstitute.com.

About the Roddenberry Foundation
Launched in 2010, The Roddenberry Foundation is committed to finding and supporting remarkable people and organizations that can disrupt existing dynamics, challenge old patterns of thought, and discover new ways to help us move towards a better future.

We provide grants to accelerate the development of great, untested ideas and invest in models that are challenging the status quo and improving the human condition. Together, our interconnected initiatives offer opportunities for original thinkers and innovators from all walks of life to pursue significant, lasting change.

For more information about the Roddenberry Foundation, visit www.roddenberryfoundation.org.