The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in Washington, D.C, has announced that Edward Curtis, Millennium Chair of the Liberal Arts and professor of religious studies, has been awarded $114,438 to conduct a national seminar for school teachers on “Muslim American Identities, Past and Present.”
The three-week seminar, which will take place on the IUPUI campus in the summer of 2015, will give sixteen school teachers from around the country the opportunity to explore the history and diverse cultures of Muslims in the United States.
Participants will study thirty primary source documents, hear from two visiting experts, make field trips to two local mosques, and use the resources of the IUPUI University Library to complete individual research projects.
“My primary goal,” said Curtis, “is to nurture an environment of deep intellectual engagement and active learning in which school teachers can answer a key question of our historical moment: what does it mean to be both Muslim and American?”
In order to answer that question, Curtis will emphasize the impact of gender, race, ethnicity, and religious interpretation in the making of Muslim American identities.
The Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, which has offered numerous seminars and professional development opportunities for young scholars and school teachers, will support the logistical aspects of the program.
Funding for NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes is provided by the federal government, and grants are awarded through a rigorous and selective process of peer review.
“Understanding the rich diversity of Muslim American identities in a balanced and informed manner,” Curtis concluded, “can be a powerful means of bridging cultures inside the United States and beyond.”