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

Curtis awarded for NEH Summer Seminar about Muslim American Identity

curtis-home

Edward E. Curtis IV

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.”