Bainbridge State College’s Library received a $4,500 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA) to host a five-part reading and discussion series titled “Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys.”

BSC’s library is one of 125 libraries and state humanities councils across the country selected to participate in the project, which seeks to familiarize public audiences in the United States with the people, places, history, faith and cultures of Muslims in the United States and around the world. The Muslim Journeys theme the college library has chosen to explore is “Points of View.”

“I am very grateful to the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association for these grants and the positive impact they will have on literacy and education in the greater Bainbridge area,” said U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop. “I commend Bainbridge State College for their ongoing commitment to bringing interesting and enriching programming like the Bridging Cultures initiative to southwest Georgia.”

The “Bridging Cultures” Bookshelf is a project of NEH, conducted in cooperation with the ALA Public Programs Office, with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Additional support for the arts and media components was provided by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Arts. Drs. Betty LaFace, David Nelson, Zeina Schlenoff and Amie Seidman, and Sherri Newberry provide local support.

Books to be discussed in this series are part of the “Bridging Cultures” Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys. In January, the NEH awarded BSC a collection of books, films and other resources as part of the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf. The books and films comprising the Bookshelf were selected with the advice of librarians and cultural programming experts, as well as distinguished scholars in the fields of anthropology, world history, religious studies, interfaith dialogue, the history of art and architecture, world literature, Middle East studies, Southeast Asian studies, African studies and Islamic studies.

BSC Vice President for Academic Affairs Tonya Strickland said the book discussions would be memorable experiences.

“The scholars chosen to lead the book discussions have excellent credentials and will provide a memorable experience for participants, whether you’re reading about a ten-year-old girl’s relationship with her family in Iran in ‘Persepolis’ or the poignant memoir of a journalist who returns to war-torn Lebanon to rebuild his family home in ‘House of Stone’,” Dr. Strickland said.

The books to be discussed are “Broken Verses” by Kamila Shamsie, “Dreams of Trespass” by Fatima Mernissi, “House of Stone” by Anthony Shadid, “In the Country of Men” by Hisham Matar and “Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood” by Marjane Satrapi. The discussion series will run from this September to March 2014.

“We are delighted to have been chosen to host this unique series that will allow patrons a chance to discuss some important themes in Muslim history and literature with the help of a well-qualified scholar,” said Susan Ralph, library director and project director.


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