PIER REGIONS African Studies East Asian Studies European Studies Latin AMerican Studies Middle East Studies

Worlds of Islam: Regional Perspectives on Unity and Diversity

Application deadline is May 16, 2014. Tuition is $160 and must be received by May 30, 2014.

One cannot understand the events of today’s world without an understanding of Islam and Muslims, who comprise nearly a quarter of the world’s population.  Less appreciated is that one cannot understand the history of the West itself without an understanding of Islamic history.  One need look no further than the etymology of numerous everyday items to see the extent of their interaction: alcohol, check, coffee, ketchup, magazine, mattress, pajama, sofa, syrup, and zero all take their names from languages of the Muslim world. Indeed some thinkers have gone so far as to speak of the West as not only a “Judaeo-Christian civilization” but also an “Islamo-Christian civilization” in light of their shared scriptural heritage, similar theological outlook, and long history of mutual interaction and influence.

Western and Muslim societies frequently look at one another with incomprehension, ignorance, and fear.  What can we teach our students to help overcome this bias?  What are the lines that demarcate the religion of Islam from cultural practice? Why do we so often hear about violence in the Muslim world if peace and mercy are Islamic values? What is the history of Jewish-Muslim and Christian-Muslim relations?  What roles have women played, and do they presently play in Muslim societies?  How do Islamic spiritual practices compare to those of other faiths?  How are Muslim societies grappling with the challenges of modernity?

The Worlds of Islam Summer Institute will empower teachers to better understand and explain the complexity of Islam and the diversity of the Muslim World to their students. Invited experts will engage the participants through discussion on the pre-modern and modern history of the diverse regions which make up the Muslim World -- Arab Middle East, Iran, Africa, Europe (the Ottoman Empire and Muslim Spain), India (Mughal Empire), China, South-East Asia (Malaysia and Indonesia), and Islam in the Americas – as well as well as aspects of the Islamic faith relevant for understanding the Muslim World today.  Specific topics would include: Muhammad, the Qur’an, Islamic Law, Islamic Mysticism (Sufism), Women and Islam, Jihad, Muslim-Jewish-Christian Relations, Art.

Potential activities include tours of: Yale’s Beinecke Manuscript Library (considered among the top libraries in the world), the Yale Art Gallery, New York City, including the Islamic Art Gallery of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as evening movie screenings.

A Teacher Advisor will form an integral part of the program to assist participants in authoring their own curricular units, which can potentially be published on PIER’s website as resources for outside educators.

A highlight to this institute includes an optional field trip following the legendary Silk Road through the best of Uzbekistan! Beyond the incredibly rich historical sites and architectural monuments that the tour will take you to, this 12-day adventure will enlighten your understanding of Islam in its wide range of contexts and also introduce you to Uzbekistan’s greatest resource – it’s generous and kind people!

Participants will be accompanied by Frank Griffel, Chair of the Council of Middle East Studies and Professor of Islamic Studies at the MacMillan Center. For more information on the trip and how to register, contact the tour organizer, GEEO, at www.geeo.org/tours/SilkRoad. Participation in this field trip is not a requirement of the institute.

Complete on-line application.

Application deadline is May 16, 2014. Tuition is $160 and must be received by May 30, 2014.

Sponsored by PIER and the Councils on African Studies, European Studies, East Asian Studies, Middle East Studies, South Asian Studies, and Southasia Studies at Yale University with generous support from the Title VI National Resource Center Grants from the United States Department of Education.


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