The Muslim Journeys Bookshelf is not intended to be a comprehensive study of Islam as a religion or of the Muslim world in all its complexity. Rather, it seeks to introduce readers to some new and diverse perspectives on the people, places, histories, beliefs, practices, and cultures of Muslims in the United States and around the world. The collection has been organized around five themes, including American Stories, Connected Histories, Literary Reflections, Pathways of Faith and Points of View.
Libraries selected to receive the collection will also have access to a Muslim Journeys website, which will be launched by the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies at George Mason University in February 2013, offering further information about the hundreds of books, films, magazines, and web resources available to anyone interested in learning more about Islamic history and culture.
Project Partners and Sponsors
The Bridging Cultures Bookshelf on Muslim Journeys is a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities, conducted in cooperation with the American Library Association.
Major support for the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf was provided by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. Additional support for the arts and media components was provided by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.
National Endowment for the Humanities
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities. NEH grants enrich classroom learning, create and preserve knowledge and bring ideas to life through public television, radio, new technologies, exhibitions and programs in libraries, museums and other community places. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at the NEH website.
NEH’s Bridging Cultures Initiative
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is conducting a special initiative, Bridging Cultures, which 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.
Projects already funded under the Bridging Cultures initiative address themes as varied as the role of civility in democracy; religious pluralism in the United States; the Muslim world and the humanities; U.S. history in global perspective; Asian cultural traditions on the Pacific Rim; the role of women in war and peace; cultural encounters between China and the U.S.; the influence of the American West on European culture; and the history of relations between China and Africa.
As part of its Bridging Cultures initiative, NEH is collaborating with the ALA to present Muslim Journeys, the first in a planned series of Bridging Cultures Bookshelves. Through Bridging Cultures Bookshelf programs, NEH will provide resources to enhance libraries’ collections and their capacity to engage audiences in reflection on and conversation about a variety of Bridging Cultures themes. Additional information is available at NEH’s Bridging Cultures website.
American Library Association
Established in 1876, the American Library Association (ALA) is the oldest and largest library association in the world. Through its Public Programs Office, ALA promotes cultural and community programming as an essential part of library service in all types and sizes of libraries. Successful library programming initiatives have included “Let’s Talk About It” reading and discussion series, traveling exhibitions, film discussion programs, the Great Stories CLUB, LIVE @ your library and more. Recently, the ALA Public Programs Office developed www.ProgrammingLibrarian.org, an online resource center bringing librarians timely and valuable information to support them in the creation of high-quality cultural programs for their communities. Additional information is available at the ALA website and the ALA Public Programs Office website.
Libraries that are selected to participate in the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf will receive the materials and resources listed below. For annotations of the books and films, as well as thematic content for program purposes, please see the THEMES area of this site.
- Minaret by Leila Aboulela
- A Quiet Revolution by Leila Ahmed
- The Conference of the Birds by Farid al-Din Attar, translated by Dick Davis and Afkham Darbandi
- The House of Wisdom: How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge and Gave Us the Renaissance by Jim Al-Khalili
- Prince Among Slaves by Terry Alford
- Islamic Arts by Jonathan Bloom and Sheila Blair
- Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction by Jonathan A. C. Brown
- The Columbia Sourcebook of Muslims in the United States, edited by Edward E. Curtis IV
- In an Antique Land by Amitav Ghosh
- When Asia Was the World: Traveling Merchants, Scholars, Warriors, and Monks Who Created the “Riches of the East” by Stewart Gordon
- Leo Africanus by Amin Maalouf, translated by Peter Sluglett
- The Arabian Nights (anonymous), edited by Muhsin Mahdi, translated by Husain Haddawy
- In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar
- The Story of the Qur’an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life by Ingrid Mattson
- The Ornament of the World by Maria Rosa Menocal
- Dreams of Trespass by Fatima Mernissi
- Rumi: Poet and Mystic, edited and translated by Reynold A. Nicholson
- Snow by Orhan Pamuk, translated by Maureen Freely
- Acts of Faith by Eboo Patel
- The Children of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam by F. E. Peters
- The Art of Hajj by Venetia Porter
- House of Stone by Anthony Shadid
- Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
- Broken Verses by Kamila Shamsie
- The Butterfly Mosque: A Young American Woman’s Journey to Love and Islam by G. Willow Wilson
Films with Public Performance Rights
- Prince Among Slaves (directed by Andrea Kalin, produced by Unity Productions Foundation, 2007)
- Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World (directed by Rob Gardner, produced by Unity Productions Foundation, 2011)
- Koran by Heart (directed by Greg Barker, produced by HBO documentary films, 2011)
- A one-year subscription to Oxford Islamic Studies Online (January–December 2013)
- A one-hour DVD of short films written, developed, and performed for the project by D. Fairchild Ruggles and produced by Twin Cities Public Television. These “Islamic Art Spots” will provide an introduction to Islamic art and architecture in a way that relates to the project themes and readings and references additional primary source texts.
Deborah Amos’s (Points of View) reports can be heard on NPR’s award-winning Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. Amos joined NPR in 1977, first as a director and then a producer for Weekend All Things Considered. Amos joined ABC News in 1993 and spent a decade in television, reporting for ABC’s Nightline and World News Tonight and the PBS programs NOW with Bill Moyers and Frontline. Upon returning to NPR, Amos took up the post of foreign correspondent in Amman, Jordan, and then London Bureau Chief. Amos won widespread recognition for her coverage of the Gulf War in 1991. A year later, she published Lines in the Sand: Desert Storm and the Remaking of the Arab World (Simon and Schuster, 1992). She is a former Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, has taught journalism at Princeton University, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Her latest book is Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East (PublicAffairs, 2010). She lives in New York City.
Leila Golestaneh Austin (Literary Reflections) is Professorial Lecturer in Global Theory and History and Middle East Studies at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), where she also directs the Cultural Conversations project at the Foreign Policy Institute and co-directs the Global Politics and Religion Initiative. Dr. Austin’s research interests include the role of religion, literature, and political culture more generally in defining politics and policy-making, and the history and politics of the Middle East and North Africa. She received her Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University and her M.A. in International Affairs from SAIS. Dr. Austin’s most recent articles include The New Opposition in Iran (2010) and The Politics of Youth Bulge: From Islamic Activism to Democratic Reform in the Middle East and North Africa (2011).
Giancarlo Casale (Connected Histories) holds a PhD in History and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University, and is currently associate professor of the history of the Islamic World at the University of Minnesota, where he has taught since 2005. He is an expert in Ottoman history, early modern empires, and the history of geography and cartography. His book, The Ottoman Age of Exploration, was awarded the Cundill Recognition of Excellence prize in 2011.
Frederick Mathewson Denny (Pathways of Faith) is Professor Emeritus of Islamic Studies and History of Religions in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. An alumnus of the College of William and Mary and Andover Newton Theological School, he also holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago and has previously held teaching appointments at Colby-Sawyer College, Yale University, and the University of Virginia. He has conducted field research on Qur'anic recitation, Muslim popular ritual, and the characteristics of contemporary Muslim societies in Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and North America. His publications include a widely used college level textbook, An Introduction to Islam (4th ed. Pearson Prentice Hall, 2010) and several edited volumes. He is founding editor of the scholarly book series Studies in Comparative Religion at the University of South Carolina Press. He was lead editor for the second edition of Atlas of the World's Religions (Oxford University Press, 2007). Denny served for eleven years on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Religion.
Kambiz GhaneaBassiri (American Stories) is an Associate Professor of Religion and Humanities at Reed College. He received his bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies from Claremont McKenna College and completed his master’s and doctoral degrees in Islamic Studies at Harvard University. GhaneaBassiri’s scholarship stands at the intersection of religious studies, Islamic social and intellectual history, and American religious history. His most recent book, A History of Islam in America (Cambridge University Press 2010) traces the history of Muslim presence in the United States through colonial and antebellum America, through world wars and civil rights struggles, to the contemporary era. His work has been supported by fellowships from the Carnegie Scholars Program (2006–2008) and the Guggenheim Foundation (2012).
D. Fairchild Ruggles (Art, Architecture, and Film, “Islamic Art Spots”) is Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She received her A.B. in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard and M.A. and Ph.D. in the History of Art from the University of Pennsylvania. She has taught art, architectural, landscape, and cultural history at universities that include Cornell, Binghamton, and Harvard. Her first book, the award-winning Garden, Landscape, and Vision in the Palaces of Islamic Spain (2000), explored the complex cultural conditions that gave rise to the built landscape of al-Andalus, and in her award-winning Islamic Gardens and Landscapes (2008), she extends this to the Islamic world as a whole. Her other publications include a series of volumes on cultural heritage, and Islamic Art and Visual Culture: An Anthology of Sources (2011).
If you have questions about the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf on Muslim Journeys, or would like assistance planning an application, please contact the ALA Public Programs Office: