We’ve got another new HL90 to check out this spring! Arianne Urus shared more about her class, “Islam in Early America.”
Tell us more about your class and what students can expect to learn.
Bringing together the Spanish Inquisition, Atlantic slavery, West African politics, and European imperialism, this course will examine how Islam and Muslims have been present in the Americas for centuries, even if this history is largely forgotten. While focused on the early modern period, the course concludes with a reading of Malcolm X. Together, we will open up questions about the connections between the past and present place of Muslims in the United States and the Atlantic World more broadly.
What’s a text you’re excited to share with students?
I’m looking forward to reading the autobiography of Omar ibn Said. Originally from West Africa, ibn Said was enslaved in the Carolinas and wrote his autobiography in Arabic in 1831. Rhiannon Giddens has created an opera, “Omar,” based on his life, composing music with Arabic and African influences as well as African American folk traditions. Considering the text and the opera side by side, we can think about how the position of Muslims in the United States today might have influenced Giddens’s opera as well as how ibn Said’s experiences as a Muslim in early America might complicate twenty-first-century narratives about Muslim Americans.
How can students learn more about the class?
My canvas site is published and I have a shopping week event on Wednesday January 20 at 3pm. Interested students an also reach out via email email@example.com