Islamic Civilization ExploredGAMBIER, Ohio (January 18, 2010) Taking a leadership role among liberal arts colleges, Kenyon has added a concentration in Islamic Civilization and Cultures to the curriculum for the 2010-11 academic year.
The interdisciplinary approach to the study of Islamic civilization has been a goal of Vernon Schubel, National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Teaching Professor of Religious Studies, and faculty members in the departments of history, music, and religious studies.
"This isn't just a program in religious studies," Schubel said. "The civilization of Islam is a complex global, historical phenomenon containing many cultures and languages."
Provost Nayef Samhat, as professor of international studies, will be part of the faculty for the interdisciplinary minor. "I think this is yet another unique feature of the academic program at Kenyon, an innovative dimension of the curriculum," Samhat said. "This generally takes a critical mass of faculty interest and institutional resources as well as student interest and, so, it is a challenge to assemble."
A concentration in the study of Islamic civilization and cultures is generally seen only at large, research institutions, Schubel said. "This is making the College a more global place," he said. "This is really something that emerged naturally out of the faculty. We are all very excited about this."
The College gains by establishing its credibility in the study of Islamic civilization and by enhancing the career options of Kenyon students. The program may also help in recruiting students from diverse backgrounds. "Students want to study about the Islamic world and want to learn more about it," Schubel said. "We also want students to learn from it.
Other faculty members who will participate in the program include Jeffrey A. Bowman, associate professor of history; Ruth Dunnell, James P. Storer Professor of Asian History; Nurten Kilic-Schubel, assistant professor of history; Maria Mendonca, assistant professor of Asian music and culture; Sadika Ramahi, visiting instructor of Arabic; Wendy Singer, Roy T. Wortman Distinguished Professor of History; and Stephen Volz, assistant professor of history.