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Visualizing the Muslim Gandhi

by Kelley Reardon

As part of the Wednesdays at the Center series, the John Hope Franklin Center for Interdisciplinary and International Studies welcomed Tim Dobe, Th.D. and Sumathi Ramaswamy, Ph.D. for a conversation on “Visualizing the Muslim Gandhi.”

 

The John Hope Franklin Center, Duke India Initiative, and Duke Islamic Center hosted the event, which discussed the connection of Gandhi to Islamic culture. Dr. Dobe is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Grinnell College and a current visiting fellow at the Duke Islamic Studies Center. Dr. Ramaswamy is a James B. Duke Professor of History and International Comparative Studies at Duke, Co-Director of Duke’s India Initiative, and President of the American Institute of Indian Studies.

 

 

Dr. Dobe discussed how there is often a focus on Gandhi’s Hinduism and western influence, but less attention on his ties to Muslim culture. In his earlier years, Gandhi was often depicted in art as “a man of the people,” and he was known to put immense effort into dressing appropriately to fit in with his surroundings. For instance, there are images of Gandhi in a suit while he was training to be a lawyer, and images of him in traditional Indian dress when he returned to India.

 

Furthermore, Dr. Dobe shared many works of Khwaja Hsan Nizami, who studied Gandhi and is known for his literary pieces. Nizami even predicted that Gandhi’s legacy would extent to the year 2050, when there would be a landscape of ethics and non-violence and nearly all Muslims would be vegetarian.

 

Dr. Ramaswamy shared artistic depictions of Gandhi later in life, when he would go without clothes and present himself nothing but a loin cloth. Artists depict this stage of Gandhi’s life in different ways—for instance, the modern Indian painter Maqbool Fida Husain did not shy away from painting Gandhi’s unclothed body. Meanwhile, Sayed Haidar Raza, who was also a modern Indian painter, rarely showed Gandhi in his paintings. Yet Raza’s work is still a reflection of his perspective on Gandhi.

 

As Ramaswamy explained, “there is no single way in which Muslim artists respond to Gandhi’s barely clothed body.” There was also the potential that artists were worried about allowing their faith to stand in the way of their art. However, the limitations that faith may have had on an artist’s work can be difficult to determine.

Duke hosts “Dimensions of the Middle East”

Summer Institute provides professional development for 6-12 grade educators.

by Catherine Angst

The Duke Islamic Studies Center and the Duke University Middle East Studies Center in partnership with the Qatar Foundation International (QFI) hosted forty 6-12 grade educators for a five-day summer institute from June 24-29, 2018.

“This institute will completely shift your perspective,” said Jennifer McKinney, a high school history teacher from Fort Smith, Arkansas, “It’s one of those life-changing institutes.”

Professor lectures classroom

Professor Erdağ Göknar, Ph.D. lectures on teaching the Ottoman Empire.

Throughout the week teachers engaged with university experts on a variety of topics to expand their understanding of the cultures, histories, and geopolitics of the Middle East. Lecture titles included:

  • “Religious Diversity of the Middle East” with Professor Carl Ernst, Ph.D.
  • “Women and Leadership in the Arab World” with Professor Nadia Yaqub, Ph.D
  • “Contemporary Turkey from Ataürk to the AKP” with Professor Erdağ Göknar, Ph.D.
  • “An End – Or A Beginning?: The Arab Uprisings of 2011 as History” with Professor James Gelvin, Ph.D.

“We have designed the institute’s program of study around common themes in state curricula, as well as frequently asked questions about the region,” said Emma Harver, a partner on the program from the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies. Beyond lectures, the educators participated in specialty breakout sessions, curriculum building workshops, and a panel discussion on Islamophobia with local Muslim community members.

Institute participants partook in several extracurricular cultural experiences. Teachers donned their chef hats and prepared a Middle Eastern feast as part of a cooking enrichment class. They also toured the Islamic Center of Raleigh’s school and observed prayer.

Chopping

Preparing the chicken tagine.

“One of the biggest things I’ll bring back to my classroom is a comparison between of world religions,” said Kevin Wagner, a world history teacher from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, “There are so many things that the Islamic faith shares with Judaism and Christianity.”

A review committee selected this year’s participants through a competitive, nation-wide application. The educators represented 21 different states and a variety of teaching disciplines from social sciences, language arts, and more.  “The committee was quite impressed with the number and quality of applications to this program,” Harver noted.

Duke and QFI piloted this summer institute in June 2017 with the theme “The Middle East and Islam: New perspectives of Islamic History from the 16th century to the present”. The pilot institute was quite successful, so the program grew to double the size of its teacher cohort this summer.

Scripture: Judaism, Christianity & Islam – Fall 2018

Course Number: RELIGION 156, AMES 138, JEWISHST 156

Course Attributes: CCI, EI, ALP, CZ

Course Time: Tues. & Thurs., 11:45am – 1:00pm

Course Description:

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are characterized as religions of the book. Their sacred texts are foundational to the faiths they represent. In spite of shared histories, overlapping contents, and parallel perspectives, their Sacred Scriptures diverge in key points of content, interpretation, and uses by their communities. In this course, students will be introduced to the history, contours, and content of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Qur’an and hadith, exploring issues of scripture and authority, texts and manuscripts, translation and interpretation, performance, canonicity, ethical issues, and contemporary use.

Faculty biographies:

Marc Zvi Brettler is an American biblical scholar, and the Bernice and Morton Lerner Professor in Judaic Studies at Duke University. He earned his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Brandeis University, where he previously served as Dora Golding Professor of Biblical Studies. He researches biblical metaphors, the Bible and gender, biblical historical texts, the book of Psalms, and the post-biblical reception of the Hebrew Bible, including in the New Testament. He is a co-founder of the website thetorah.com, which integrates critical and traditional methods of studying the Bible.

 

 

Marc GoodacreMark Goodacre is a Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Duke University. He specializes in the New Testament and Christian Origins. He earned his MA, M.Phil, and DPhil at the University of Oxford and was Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham until 2005.

His research interests include Jesus, the Synoptic Gospels, John’s Gospel, the Gospel of Thomas and Jesus in Film. He is the author of four books including The Case Against Q: Studies in Markan Priority and the Synoptic Problem (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 2002) and Thomas and the Gospels: The Case for Thomas’s Familiarity with the Synoptics (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012). He is well known for internet sites like The New Testament Gateway and his podcast, the NT Pod.

ellen mclarneyEllen McLarney’s training is in Middle East Studies, Islamic Studies, and Comparative Literature. Her field of specialization is in Arabic literature, with a specific focus on the literary culture of Islamic societies. Her book Soft Force: Women in Egypt’s Islamic Awakening explores how Muslim women writers describe Islamic conceptions of women’s liberation, women’s rights, and women’s equality. She was in the Peace Corps in Morocco where she taught in the university and has lived in Tunisia, Egypt, Jerusalem, and Syria. 

 

 

 

Scripture Flyer

 

Duke Hosts Middle East and Islam Summer Institute

Twenty-three educators from around the country convene on campus to develop 6-12 grade curricula.

From June 25-29, 2017 Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center led “The Middle East and Islam: New perspectives of Islamic History from the 16th century to the present” a summer institute for middle and high school educators from around the country. Over the course of the program, the educators attended lectures by Duke University, North Carolina State University, and University of North Carolina professors, and received specialized resources from the Duke Libraries.

 

 

Throughout the week, programming focused on different themes including the Ottoman and Safavid Empires of Turkey and Iran, and Islam in America. The educators were assigned readings from several books before arriving on campus and came prepared with questions. Participants engaged in daily curriculum session and discussions with university experts in K-12 education and Middle East Studies.

 

Along with their studies, the educators also partook in several experiential learning activities: film screenings, visiting a local mosque, and eating a variety of traditional Middle Eastern cuisines. “Our hope for the summer institute is to introduce teachers to new, engaging content and resources, and provide a space for participants to form networks with like-minded educators across the country,” said Emma Harver, a partner on the program from the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies.

Students in library training

Emma Harver watches librarian Mohamed Hamed deliver a library resource training session at the Edge.

 

Program participants were selected through a nation-wide search which received over 110 applications. A committee of teachers and Middle East specialists selected the program attendees which represent 14 states, teach a variety of disciplines, and work with both middle and high school students.

 

“I know for myself, I came in with a fairly solid understanding of Islam, but the institute was still able to tell me there was still a lot of things that I didn’t know and that I was open to learning about,” said Tara Rana, a Global History teacher from New York City, New York.

 

Learn more about the Duke Islamic Studies summer institute.

 

Group photo

Participants of the 2017 Middle East and Islam Summer Institute for Educators.

Islamic Mysticism – Fall 2017

Course numbers: AMES 373S, ETHICS 373S, ICS 380S, RELIGION 373S

Course attributions: CCI, EI, CZ

Course Description:

This course explores the mystical dimension of Islam, with a bold, poetic, and mystical emphasis on the legacy of human and Divine love.   No background is needed.

Themes explored in this class include the tradition of love poetry of Rumi and Hafez, the various meditative techniques, Sufi poetry and music. We will also explore the controversies surrounding Sufism in the contemporary scene ranging from attacks on Sufism from Muslim fundamentalists to the destruction of Sufi shrines by ISIS and Wahhabis.

Professor biography:

Professor Omid Safi is an award-winning professor in the department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, and the director of the Duke Islamic Studies Center.

 

 

 

Rumi

s17_ames321
Course numbers: AMES 321, RELIGION 321

 

Course codes: CCI, R, ALP, CZ

 

Course Description:

Rumi is the iconic love poet of Islam, and one of the great mystical visionaries in history. This course explores Rumi’s traditional erotic love poetry, where human and Divine love mingle. All reads are in English. Open to all. No previous coursework required.

Instructor: Dr. Omid Safi

Dr. Safi is Director of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center. He is the past Chair for the Study of Islam, and the current Chair for Islamic Mysticism Group at the American Academy of Religion. In 2009, he was recognized by the University of North Carolina for mentoring minority students in 2009, and won the Sitterson Teaching Award for Professor of the Year in April of 2010.

Omid is the editor of the volume Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism, which offered an understanding of Islam rooted in social justice, gender equality, and religious and ethnic pluralism. His works Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam, dealing with medieval Islamic history and politics, and Voices of Islam: Voices of Change were published 2006. His last book, Memories of Muhammad, deals with the biography and legacy of the Prophet Muhammad. He has forthcoming volumes on the famed mystic Rumi, contemporary Islamic debates in Iran, and American Islam.

 

 

Fall 2016 Featured Courses, part 2

Interethnic Intimacies: Production and Consumption

with Professor Nayoung Aimee Kwon

AMES 415S, LIT 415S, CULANTH 415S, AMI 415S, VMS 415S, ICS 415S

(CCI, EI, ALP, CZ) Gateway course for the Undergraduate East Asian Studies Certificate

This course is a critical examination of cultural dynamics, political economies, and ethical implications of interethnic intimacies or “intercourse” as represented from and about Asia. The class examines shifts within and beyond “Asia,” asking why cultural representations matter in ways societies construct, produce, and consume objects of desire and repulsion. Texts from literature and visual culture read along with theories of critical race studies, gender and sexuality, post-colonialism, globalization, visual culture, and other representative technologies of the Self/Other. Not open to students who have taken the freshman seminar version of this course.

 

Surviving Globalization: The Global South and the Development Imagination

with Professor Michaeline Crichlow

LATAMER 409, AAAS 409, SOCIOL 409, ICS 409, CULANTH 409

(CCI, EI, SS)

Global Change entails a multiplicity of environmental, social, economic, political, and cultural factors that create challenges for development. The Global South, a vital area of the world, has been entangled in this vortex of global change as both catalyst and conductor of an emergent globalizing modernity. The progress of globalization seems beset by multiple stressors, ranging from financial crises and global recession, to climate change, state and non-state conflicts, free ranging terrorist aggression, and global health scares. What are the odds then of surviving globalization? What role do our imaginations of development play in either creating crises or effectively responding to them?

 

Islam in the Americas

with Professor Mona Hassan

RELIGION 384S, HISTORY 351S, AAAS 274S, AMES 230S

(CCI, W, CZ, SS)

Explores how Muslim communities live and practice Islam in the American context. Examines diverse Muslim communities emerging from transatlantic exploration, trade in slaves, and migration as well as indigenous conversion. Discussion of religious and cultural identities of American Muslim peoples and consideration of questions of communal organization, religious authority, gender dynamics, youth culture, political and civic engagement, as well as American Muslim comedy and entertainment. This course examines the impact of 9/11 upon American Muslims, their responses to the tragedy, and Americans’ shifting perceptions of Islam and Muslims.

 

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