The faculty leading the College's new global Islamic studies initiative pose for a group photo. Back row from left: Professors Muhammad Masud, Sufia Uddin, Karolin Machtans, Afshan Jafar and Denis Ferhatovic, the William Meredith Assistant Professor of English. Front row from left: Professors Waed Athamneh, Sharon Portnoff and Fred Paxton, the Brigida Pacchiani Ardenghi Professor of History. Not pictured are Professors Eileen Kane and Caroleen Sayej. Photo by Janet Hayes.
Connecticut College has been awarded a $100,000 planning grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop a new program in global Islamic studies.
"The new pilot program will give students an interdisciplinary focus on Muslim communities worldwide," said Sufia Uddin, associate professor of religious studies, who will oversee the project. "The curriculum will challenge assumptions about the role of Islam in contemporary politics and explore how these assumptions have shaped our understanding of Islam and Muslims in a global context."
Dean of the Faculty Roger Brooks said the initiative will move Connecticut College closer to formalizing a major or minor track in global Islamic studies. "This initiative will strengthen the College's already notable reputation in international education at a time when international programming is a growing campus priority," he said.
Initial steps include plans for a group of faculty to visit Turkey to develop expertise for a new gateway course. "These faculty will experience first-hand the customs, politics and cultures of Turkey, which will inform teaching, research and discussions with other Connecticut College faculty and students," said Uddin.
Incorporating global Islamic studies across disciplines at the College, including classes outside of international and foreign language studies, is also planned.