The Paul & Helen Schnare Library was thrilled when we learned we were the recipients of the “Bridging Cultures: Muslim Journeys” grant. This grant was offered by the National Endowment for the Humanities in conjunction with the American Library Association, the Ali Vural Ak Center for Islamic Studies, Oxford University Press, Twin Cities Public Television, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.
The Muslim Journeys grant provided us with a collection of 25 books, 3 documentaries, and a DVD of short films to add to our collection. The books follow five different themes:
- American Stories
- Connected Histories
- Literary Reflections
- Pathways of Faith
- Points of View
We’ll be highlighting each of those themes here on our blog, and the books that make up each theme can be found on the Muslim Journeys display located by the Reference Desk.
The Muslim Journeys theme of Connected Histories was developed by Giancarlo Casale of the University of Minnesota. As it states on the Muslim Journeys website:
[T]his theme of “connected histories” [is] a new way of understanding the past in which Islam and the West, far from being locked in an endless “clash of civilizations,” are seen instead as products of this cosmopolitan and inextricably intertwined history. By highlighting the intellectual inheritance shared by Islam and the West, their mutual bonds of monotheism, and the surprising intensity of their cultural and commercial interaction, as well as the individual experiences of the many merchants, missionaries, and other adventurers who journeyed “to the other shore,” these books all chart a path to a new vision of the world of our ancestors, a world that was as remarkably complex and dynamically interconnected as the one we live in today.
Casale wrote an essay about this Connected Histories theme and you’ll definitely want to check it out. You can find the essay here. It gives an overview of the theme along with a brief summary of each of the five titles that correspond to it in the collection:
- When Asia Was the World: Traveling Merchants, Scholars, Warriors, and Monks Who Created the “Riches of the East” by Stewart Gordon
- The House of Wisdom: How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge and Gave Us the Renaissance by Jim Al-Khalili
- The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain by Maria Rosa Menocal
- Leo Africanus by Amin Maalouf, translated by Peter Sluglett
- In an Antique Land: History in the Guise of a Traveler’s Tale by Amitav Ghosh
Make sure you take advantage of this great opportunity – and check out one of our highlight “Connected Histories” titles!