Lane Library Presents “Muslim Journeys” Program

(Aug. 28, 2013) Armstrong's Lane Library announces new cultural programming to increase awareness and understanding of Muslim culture. “Let's Talk About It: Muslim Journeys,” is a lecture and discussion series that will explore many facets of the Muslim world and its literature, art, film and history. The program is made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in cooperation with the American Library Association (ALA). All events are free and open to the public.

In addition to the support from the NEH and American Library Association, “Let's Talk About It: Muslim Journeys,” has partnered with Live Oak Public Libraries and The Learning Center at Senior Citizens, Inc., to present this programming.

In early 2013, Armstrong received the first of two grants from the NEH “Bridging Cultures” program. The initial grant, “Bridging Cultures: Muslim Journeys Bookshelf,” provided Armstrong's Lane Library with 25 books and three films that offer new and diverse perspectives on the Muslim culture both in the United States and around the world. That award has allowed the university to offer resources to students, faculty and staff that will encourage them to increase their understanding of Islamic culture through fiction and non-fiction as well as through film.

In Spring 2013, Armstrong received a second grant from the NEH, for the “Let's Talk About It: Muslim Journeys” program, a reading and discussion series led by local scholars and organized around themes that engage and stimulate audiences. It was pioneered by the ALA on a national level in 1982. “Let's Talk About It” has reached hundreds of libraries and more than four million people around the United States in the past thirty years.

Armstrong and Live Oak Public Libraries' Muslim Journeys reading and discussion groups will explore the Points of View theme, developed by NPR's Deborah Amos, through the lens of the humanities—that is, by relating the readings to historical trends and events, other works of literature, philosophical and ethical considerations. One of the main goals of this reading and discussion series is to stimulate public interest in the world of ideas. As such, it will provide the Savannah community an opportunity for continuing education as starting points for substantive discussion, study and programming.

The series will commence on Sept. 4, 2013 with Savannah State University Professor of History Mohamed H. Mukhtar's lecture on “Many Faces of Islam.” The series continues throughout September with a presentation of “Persopolis,” the award winning animated French film based on Marjane Satrapi's bestselling autobiographical graphic novel. Yassaman Saadatmand, Armstrong Economics Department Head, will present the film and discussion. Later in the month, Armstrong art history professor Deborah Jamieson will present and discuss the film “Islamic Art: A Mirror of the Invisible World,” and James Todesca, professor of history at Armstrong, will discuss “Convivencia: Christian-Muslim Relations in Medieval Iberia.”

In addition to the films and lectures, book-club style sessions focused on titles from the “Muslim Journeys Bookshelf” will be held throughout the fall at Live Oak Public Libraries' Southwest Chatham Branch. Led by Armstrong's Saadatmand, readers will have the opportunity to participate in group discussions of “In The Country of Men,” by Hisham Matar; “Persepolis,” by Marjane Satrapi; “House of Stone,” by Tony Shadid; “Broken Verses: A Novel,” by Kamila Shamsie; and “Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood,” by Fatima Mernissi. A full schedule of lectures and book talks is below and on the Muslim Journeys web page.

“Let's Talk About It: Muslim Journeys”

Wednesday, Sept. 4, 12:30p.m.
Armstrong's University Hall, Room 156
11935 Abercorn St., Savannah, Ga. 31419
Lecture: “Many Faces of Islam”
Mohamed H. Mukhtar, Professor of History, Savannah State University
For a fifth of the world's population, Islam is both a religion and complete way of life. Join Mukhtar, as he discusses the people, places, history, faith and cultures of the Muslim community.

Friday, Sept. 6, 6:00p.m.
Armstrong's Solms Hall, Room 108
11935 Abercorn St., Savannah, Ga., 31419
Film: “Persepolis”
Presented by Yassaman Saadatmand, Armstrong Economics Department Head
Wise, funny and heartbreaking, “Persepolis” is the film adaptation of Marjane Satrapi's bestselling graphic memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran's last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.

Thursday, Sept. 12, 5:30p.m.
Live Oak Public Libraries—South West Chatham Branch
14097 Abercorn St., Savannah, Ga. 31419
Film: “Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World”
Discussion led by Deborah Jamieson, Armstrong Assistant Professor of Art History
This ninety-minute documentary of stunning breadth and beauty, narrated by Susan Sarandon, transports viewers over nine countries and across 1,400 years of cultural history to reveal the astonishing riches of Muslim arts, crafts and architecture. Exploring distant locations and many rare pieces of art, the film illuminates the history of a global culture, reflecting the Islamic world as it developed over centuries and as it is today.

Monday, Sept. 16, 6:00p.m.
First Presbyterian Church
520 Washington Ave., Savannah, Ga. 31405
Lecture: “Convivencia: Christian-Muslim Interaction in Medieval Iberia”
James Todesca, Armstrong Associate Professor of History
Convivencia describes the centuries of Muslim-Christian cohabitation on the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages. Medieval Muslims enjoyed a prosperous and intellectually lively era in what is today Spain (they called their portion al-Andalus). Circumstances changed for them in the early eleventh century as al-Andalus devolved into a patchwork of small kingdoms, where disunity made them vulnerable to Christian rulers in the north. This lecture explores the two-hundred-year shift of power from Islam to Christianity in medieval Spain and reveals the significant ways in which the cultural and intellectual heritage of al-Andalus became a lasting part of Christian Spain.