NEH seminar offers K-12 teachers an opportunity for academic study of Muslim American identities

Edward E. Curtis IV

Edward E. Curtis IV

The academic study of Muslim American history and life is the focus of a summer seminar open to K-12 teachers.

Applications are now being accepted for a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar, “Muslim American Identities, Past and Present,” to be held July 12 to Aug. 1, 2015, in Indianapolis.

Sixteen teachers from across the country will be selected for the three-week seminar during which they will discuss the racial, ethnic, religious and gender identities of U.S. Muslims.

Directed by Edward E. Curtis IV, an award-winning scholar of Islam in America and holder of the Millennium Chair of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, the seminar will focus on the academic study of Muslim American identities, not the religious or spiritual beliefs or habits of the participating teachers.

Participants will study 30 primary source documents written by Muslim Americans, listen to distinguished guest lecturers Kambiz Ghanea Bassiri and Juliane Hammer, and visit two local mosques. They will also work on individual research projects on topics such as Muslim American slave narratives, Islamic hip-hop, Muslim American food cultures and Muslim American political engagement.

“My primary aim is to nurture an environment of deep intellectual engagement and active learning in which teachers try to answer a key question of our time: What does it mean to be both Muslim and American?” said Curtis, who is the author of “Muslims in America, among other books.

The seminar will meet almost daily in the Campus Center on the IUPUI campus. In addition to meeting rooms, the IUPUI Campus Center houses a bookstore, a credit union and a food court.

As one of seven campuses administered by Indiana University, IUPUI is known as Indiana’s premier urban research and health sciences campus. IUPUI has more than 30,000 students enrolled in 17 schools, which offer more than 250 degrees. IUPUI awards degrees from both Indiana and Purdue universities. The campus is near the heart of downtown Indianapolis. Several major cultural attractions and affordable restaurants are within walking distance or a brief bus ride.

All seminar participants receive a $2,700 stipend to help cover transportation, food, housing and other costs. Housing is available on campus. Teachers in public and private schools are encouraged to apply.

Funding for the summer seminar comes from the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent federal agency that supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation.

Deadline for applications is March 2.

For additional information about the seminar, teachers should address their questions to Edward E. Curtis IV by phone at (317) 278-1683 or email: ecurtis4@iupui.edu

Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys book discussion series at Ivy Tech

The community is invited to join a book club hosted by Ivy Tech and co-sponsored by IUPUI and the Center for Interfaith Cooperation. Everyone is welcome. The topic is “Connected Histories,” one of the five themes of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Muslim Journeys Bookshelf.

Learn more about the people, places, history, faith and cultures of Muslims in the United States and around the world through a special program at the Julia M. Carson Learning Resource Center (LRC) titled Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys, a reading and discussion series. The LRC is proud to present the series with the help of grants from the American Library Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

In this series, attendees are welcome to read one or more of the following featured books and then attend the discussions which take place at the LRC (2725 N. Illinois Street, Indianapolis). The LRC has extra copies of each book available for checkout. Each book discussion will take place from 4:00pm – 5:30 p.m. on the following dates:

  • DECEMBER 4: When Asia Was the World: Traveling Merchants, Scholars, Warriors, and Monks Who Created the “Riches of the East” by Stewart Gordon
  • JANUARY 15: The House of Wisdom: How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge and Gave Us the Renaissance by Jim Al-Khalili
  • FEBRUARY 12: The Ornament of the World by Maria Rosa Menocal
  • MARCH 19: Leo Africanus by Amin Maalouf, translated by Peter Sluglett
  • APRIL 9: Islamic Art film screening and art exhibit. This event is co-sponsored by IUPUI and the Center for Interfaith Cooperation and will be held at the Indiana Interchurch Center (1100 West 42nd Street, Indianapolis).

Extra copies of the books are available through the Ivy Tech library. For more on the books themselves and the theme of connected histories, please see the following website. To pre-register for one or more of the above events, please visit the event website.

 

IUPUI University Library joins with community partners to share perspectives on Muslim culture

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Lilly Auditorium, IUPUI University Library

Faculty, students and community members are invited to “Muslim Journeys, Human Journeys,” an exploration of the people, places, histories, beliefs and cultures of Muslims in the U.S. and beyond. IU School of Liberal Arts professor Edward Curtis will speak about key themes from a series of books highlighted by a current program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The NEH’s “Muslim Journeys” program engages the power of the humanities to promote understanding of and mutual respect for people with diverse histories, cultures and perspectives within the United States and abroad. Through the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf, NEH and the American Library Association are providing a collection of 25 books, three documentary films, a one-year subscription to Oxford Islamic Studies Online, and a DVD of short films titled “Islamic Art Spots” to a variety of libraries across the country, including University Library at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Curtis is Millennium Chair of the School of Liberal Arts and professor of religious studies at IUPUI. He is the author or editor of several books, including Muslims in America: A short history, which was named one of the best 100 books of 2009 by Publishers Weekly. A former NEH Fellow at the National Humanities Center, Curtis has been awarded Carnegie, Fulbright and Mellon fellowships. He is also a founding co-editor of the Journal of Africana Religions.

The Ivy Tech Community College library and the Center for Interfaith Cooperation are co-sponsoring this event with the IUPUI University Library. Parking will be provided for community guests in the North Street garage at the corner of Michigan and Blake streets.

Herron Professor Anila Agha presents new exhibition: Intersections

Assistant Professor of Foundations Anila Quayyum Agha will present an exhibition of works created as part of her 2012-13 New Frontiers Research Grant from Indiana University. The exhibition entitled Intersections will be on view in the Frank and Katrina Basile Gallery from Sept. 25 – Oct.17, 2013.

Agha writes in the artist statement for Intersections:

I used a 2012-13 New Frontier’s Research Grant from Indiana University for a large-scale installation project composed of patterned wood. With this project I explored intersections of culture and religion, the dynamics and interpretation of space and sight as it threaded through cultures and emerged as varied expressions that redefine themselves with the passage of time. In this piece, a motif that is believed to represent certitude is explored to reveal its fluidity i.e. the geometrical patterning in Islamic sacred spaces. This project is meant to uncover the contradictory nature of all intersections; which are simultaneously boundaries and also points of meeting.

The Intersections project takes the seminal experience of exclusion as a woman from a space of community and creativity such as a Mosque and translates the complex expressions of both wonder and exclusion that have been my experience while growing up in Pakistan. The wooden frieze emulates a pattern from the Alhambra, which was poised at the intersection of history, culture and art and was a place where Islamic and Western discourses, met and co-existed in harmony and served as a testament to the symbiosis of difference. I have given substance to this mutualism with the installation project exploring the binaries of public and private, light and shadow, and static and dynamic. This installation project relies on the purity and inner symmetry of geometric design, the interpretation of the cast shadows and the viewer’s presence with in a public space.

The object in the Basile Gallery is a smaller version of the larger design.