Willimantic, Conn. – Eastern Connecticut State University recently presented “Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys,” a multi-day cultural exhibition showcasing Islamic artwork, architecture and history. The Muslim Journeys Bookshelf collection consists of 25 books, three films and a database called Oxford Islamic Studies Online. This is a collection of resources carefully curated to present new and diverse perspectives on the people, places, histories, beliefs, practices, and cultures of Muslims in the United States and around the world.
Former Eastern Librarian Tracy Sutherland originally planned the event last year. Eastern librarians Carol Reichardt and Janice Wilson, and other library staff organized and presented the events and coordinated with guest lecturers.
Michele Boskovic, professor of French in the Department of World Languages and Cultures, started off the series of presentations on Sept. 16 by introducing the literary editions of the grant collection. Yahya Michot, professor of Islamic Studies at the Hartford Seminary, gave an informative lecture about Islam.
On Sept. 19, a film about Islamic art, architecture and history was presented to students in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Conferernce Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library.
“It was very informative,” said one Eastern student. “I know so little about Islamic art and architecture. So many of buildings and gardens that were shown looked so beautiful. It was great getting the chance to see it.”
Additional activities included sampling Mediterranean Cuisine and the option of getting free henna designs, a type of tattoo known for its floral patterns.
Muslim Journeys was funded through a grant award from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association. Additional support for the program 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. Eastern was one of several hundred libraries and state humanities councils across the country that were chosen to receive the grant contributions.
The books and videos are available to borrow in J Eugene Smith Library. They are located near the library circulation desk.