Muslim-American Encyclopedia Racks Up Awards
From the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
An encyclopedia that features the contributions of 11 School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI students is having a big impact in the world of reference books.
The "Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History," has been named one of best reference books of 2010 by “Library Journal"; one of the top 40 reference titles of 2010 by the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association; an editor’s choice reference source by “Booklist” ; and an “honor book” by the Society of School Librarians International.
The recognition is gratifying for the encyclopedia’s general editor, Edward E. Curtis IV, Millennium Chair of Liberal Arts and professor of religious studies at IUPUI. “This is exactly the kind of attention we need to get this encyclopedia into public and school libraries, where the reference is really needed,” said Curtis.
Ten undergraduates and one graduate student from the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI are among the 125 contributors to the "Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History," published in 2010. The IUPUI students contributed entries to the reference book by way of Curtis’ spring 2008 religious studies course on Islam in America.
A recent wave of Islamophobia, including protests over the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” in Lower Manhattan, a number of state legislative attempts to outlaw shari‘a, or Islamic law and ethics, and U.S. Rep. Peter King’s hearings in the House of Representatives on Muslim American “radicalism”, has helped to make Muslim Americans more visible and more vulnerable.
“Knowledge of the various contributions made by Muslim Americans to U.S. society” has never been more critical, according to one review of the encyclopedia.
“Many of today’s anti-Muslim sentiments express the idea that Muslims and their cultures are foreign to America,” said Curtis. “The encyclopedia shows instead how Muslims and Islam have been part of American life since before the republic was even founded.”
Several reviews of the “Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History” describe the reference as the first to chart the long history of Muslims in the United States.
“It is unique in that there is no other source that chronicles the history of Muslim-American experience so broadly,” states “Reference Reviews.” In addition to covering religion, the encyclopedia analyzes Muslim contributions to realms of American life such as agriculture, poetry, basketball, philanthropy, and politics.
According to Curtis, the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI deserves some credit for the reference’s success. "By creating an environment where public scholarship is rewarded rather than punished," he asserts, "the school is helping to show how the liberal arts are essential to navigating today's world.”
For additional information about the IUPUI students' contributions to the "Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History," go to http://liberalarts.iupui.edu/news/index.php/11_students_publish_in_muslim-american_encyclopedia/.