About Muslim Journeys
The Muslim Journeys project presents to the American public new and diverse perspectives on the people, places, histories, beliefs, practices, and cultures of Muslims in the United States and around the world.
Elements of the project include:
- The Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys collection
- Distribution, free of charge, of the complete Muslim Journeys Bookshelf to more than 800 libraries nationwide
- Distribution, free of charge, of the complete Muslim Journeys Bookshelf to 36 state humanities councils
- Library programs for the public in every state, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands
- This website (the Muslim Journeys website)
The cornerstone of the project is the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys, a carefully curated collection of resources recommended and reviewed by distinguished scholars in the fields of anthropology, world history, religious studies, interfaith dialogue, the history of art and architecture, and world literature, as well as interdisciplinary fields such as Middle East studies, Southeast Asian studies, African studies, and Islamic studies. Six public libraries hosted focus groups to review many of the titles, and all titles were reviewed by librarians and other humanities practitioners with extensive programming experience.
Five essays written by renowned project scholars tie selected books together using themes designed to help draw connections among the varied voices represented by these books and to facilitate conversations in libraries and other settings. In addition, an eminent art historian has written and presented in video format a series of seven short visual essays called “Art Spots,” designed to make art from Muslim societies an integral part of the Muslim Journeys experience.These essays, the Art Spots, books, films, and web resources aim to make current scholarship and knowledge about Muslim worlds accessible to Americans from all walks of life.
843 libraries and state humanities councils applied for and received a complete Muslim Journeys Bookshelf collection. With distribution of the collection in January 2013, these institutions also gained public performance rights to the three films, as well as free access for one year to Oxford Islamic Studies Online. Together, they are poised to introduce Muslim Journeys to residents of all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
In Fall 2013, 125 of these institutions will launch in-depth public humanities programs on Muslim Journeys themes, with support from competitive grants made by NEH and ALA.
The Muslim Journeys project website is intended to introduce the Bookshelf collection to the American public and to enrich the experience of readers by offering online resources that place the books and documentary films in a larger context. By visiting the website, those who seek broader paths for making their Muslim Journeys will find themed essays that draw connections among the books, video essays that illuminate the role of the arts in Muslim societies, and a rich array of primary resources and interpretive articles intended to enhance understanding of ideas and events encountered in the books.
The Muslim Journeys project is jointly produced by National Endowment for the Humanities, in cooperation with Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies at George Mason University and American Library Association Public Programs Office.
Muslim Journeys is a component of NEH’s agency-wide Bridging Cultures initiative, which engages the power of the humanities to promote understanding and mutual respect for people with diverse histories, cultures, and perspectives within the United States and abroad.