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Overview of Institute

The institute’s approach is a broad one, introducing the richness and diversity of Muslim cultures. We will offer a survey of the role of the word—written, spoken, sung, and illuminated across many societies, rather than a detailed study of any one culture in which Islam is the dominant religion.

Week One

The first week we focus on poetry and the written word. We begin with an exploration of City Lore’s Poetic Voices of the Muslim World digital exhibit and resources, and then focus on classical and contemporary poetry in Arabic, Farsi, and Urdu along with close readings and translation exercises. We also introduce Summer Scholars to City Lore’s arts education pedagogical tools, such interviewing community guests and creating artwork based on personal narratives. We also attend performances by Muslim-identifying artists for whom faith and culture feature in their work and engage in conversation with them. The week concludes with a visit to the Indo-Persian inspired gardens of Untermyer Park, followed by a workshop on garden design. 


Throughout Week One, teachers have time to begin working on their final projects and to meet with the Project Directors to discuss their ideas.

Week Two

The second week focuses on music and visual arts. We explore a variety of musical forms and cultures, ranging from Arab maqam traditions to sung poetry of Central Asia to Algerian popular music and dance.  We also investigage the connection between American blues music and the Muslim call to prayer. The week includes a curator-led tour of the Islamic collection at the Metropolitan Museum, followed by a hands-on workshop with the Met’s educators. We meet with two guest artists, Sierra Leonian finah and filmmaker Kewulay Kamara and Indo-Canadian singer/songwriter Kiran Ahluwalia, and explore their work and how it relates to the themes of the institute. During the second week, Summer Scholar's are introduced to another City Lore pedagogical tool—object analysis—the use of personal object as part of studying a culture. 


Participants continue to attend independent project meetings with the Institute Co-Directors and to work on their final projects during Week 2. Projects are due by the last day of the institute. We understand that Summer Scholars may wish to continue to refine their lesson plans beyond the institute; however, a final draft for our purposes is due at the end of the program.

Full Institue Schedule

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Institute Readings

Prepatory readings for the institute: Key readings for the institute include short articles and poems selected by the faculty and made available to accepted Summer Scholars through our password-protected participant portal:

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