Bridging Cultures is a National Endowment for the Humanities initiative that engages the power of the humanities to promote understanding and mutual respect for people with diverse histories, cultures and perspectives within the United States and abroad. The Michigan Humanities Council supports Bridging Cultures in Michigan with our partner organizations by providing grants and programs, and by seeking out new opportunities for broad-based Bridging Cultures programming.
The Bridging Cultures initiative encompasses a broad array of themes and programming informed by the best in humanities research and scholarly insight. Former NEH Chairman Jim Leach has noted, “The sharing of language, philosophy, literature, and art – the history of peoples – is the most profound bridge between societies and across cultures.” At MHC, staff have embraced this line of programming by investing in its sound scholarly insight and bringing this scholarship in the form of new programs, partner initiatives and to existing programs.
Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys
Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys is a scholar-led reading and discussion program designed to foster opportunities for informed community conversations about the histories, faith, and cultures of Muslims around the world and within the United States.
The five week reading and discussion program is at two locations in Michigan: Public Libraries of Saginaw, and Pickford Community Library.
Each library will hold a five week reading and discussion series on Bridging Cultures theme: Points of View. Visit the program page to learn more about the books in Points of View. Thanks to NEH and American Library Association support, MHC is able to provide 25 copies of five different books, as well as an introductory essay, promotional and support materials, reading lists, and discussion outlines to the host sites. In addition, host sites will receive a grant to support a local scholar for the five-week discussion series.
Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys, a reading and discussion series, has been made possible in Michigan by the Michigan Humanities Council through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in cooperation with the American Library Association.
The five books provided are:
The five titles gathered under the heading of “Points of View” on the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf offer a corrective to some of the misunderstandings that confront the Muslim community in America. These books, both novels and memoirs, open doors to the experiences of adults and children living in Muslim-majority societies. The novels and memoirs presented demonstrate the rich diversity of experience, the variety of Muslim opinions, and confirm our shared values. The books do not represent the full spectrum of dialog in these societies, nor offer a definitive portrait of Islamic culture. That would be impossible. Rather, they reveal the universally human rhythms of everyday life in societies typically presented to us only through news headlines about war, turmoil, and unrest.
Programming Dates for Pickford Community Library
All programs begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Pickford Community Library, at 230 E. Main Street in Pickford. All scholar-led book discussions will be led by Jillena Rose.
March 8: Prince Among Slaves (movie)
March 11: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
March 18: In the Country of Men
March 25-29: Islamic Art (daily movie schedule to be announced)
April 1: House of Stone
April 8: Broken Verses
April 12: Koran by Heart (movie)
April 15: Dreams of Trespass
Muslim Voices is a new reading and discussion program for children and teens. Over the course of the Muslim Voices series, a group of young people and program facilitators explore universal themes in American life through high-quality books with Muslim protagonists. Each 60-minute session focuses on one book and one theme, allowing the group to engage in deep discussions of literature and the common bonds that make us human.
This spring, two grantees will host Muslim Voices in Michigan: Dearborn Public Library and Cromaine District Library (Hartland).
Themes and books for these discussions are:
Courage: The Champ, The Librarian of Basra, Shooting Kabul, Wanting Mor
Freedom: Where the Streets Had a Name, Nasreen's Secret School, Silent Music
Community: The Day of Ahmed's Secret, Kampung Boy, Mirror, The Day of the Pelican
Courage: Ask Me No Questions, Persepolis, Beneath my Mother's Feet, How Does it Feel to be a Problem? (Rasha, Sami, Lina)
Faith: The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf, Does my Head Look Big in This?, From Somalia with Love, How Does it Feel to Be a Problem? (Yasmine, Rami)
Community: Child of Dandelions, No Safe Place, Skunk Girl, How Does it Feel to Be a Problem? (Omar, Akram)
Grantees are provided with a program grant and a set of 25 copies of each books in the series. To apply for the next cycle of Muslim Voices, please contact Judith Dworkin, Program Officer at 517-372-7770 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Muslim Voices, a reading and discussion series, is made possible in Michigan by the Michigan Humanities Council through a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities and has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Programming Dates for Dearborn Public Library
All sessions are from 4-6 p.m. at the library
April 1: Ask Me No Questions
April 15: Beneath my Mother's Feet
April 29: No Safe Place
May 13: How Does it Feel to Be a Problem? (Omar, Akram)
Programming Dates for Cromaine District Library
All sessions are 6:30-7:45 p.m. at the library.
March 17: Librarian of Basra
March 31: Shooting Kabul
April 7: Mirror
April 21: The Day of the Pelican
April 28: Silent Music
May 12: Where the Streets Have a Name