Schedule & Readings

Overview of Schedule:

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. Following is an overview of the institute.
For an up-to-date, detailed schedule, CLICK HERE.

Week One

We will begin the institute with a welcome reception at the beautiful Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies at NYU on Sunday, July 15th, where you’ll meet the rest of the City Lore staff and some of our local guest faculty and institute alums. The next day, we will open the first week’s sessions at NYU, with a focus on poetry and literary arts, from an exploration of the language of the Qur’an to classical and contemporary poetry in Arabic, Farsi, Turkish, Urdu. The week will also include visits to two mosques and conversations with local imams at the Islamic Cultural Center of New York on and the Islamic Center at NYU. Mid-week, we’ll head to the City Lore Gallery for a poetry reading and improvisational game. We’ll conclude the week with a Saturday morning trip to the Indo-Persian-inspired gardens of Untermyer Park and lunch at Amanda’s house nearby afterward, where you’ll have time to work on your lesson plans.

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

Week Two

We will return to City Lore’s gallery for the second week, which will focus on music and visual. We’ll look at the history of cultural production among Muslim Americans, and then go global with workshops on Sufi music from Central Asia and from the pan-African Gnawa tradition. We’ll also explore 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 and a Muslim history tour of Harlem, as well as an evening concert of classical Sufi music at Poets House, the national literary center and our partnering organization. We will conclude the institute on Friday, July 27th with time to finish your lesson plans in the morning, followed by a tour of and celebratory meal in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, home of a thriving Arab American community.

Participants will continue to attend independent project meetings with Project Directors and to work  on their final projects during Week 2. Projects will be 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 Institute.

Institute Readings:

  • Scholars will receive two preparatory materials ahead of the institute: the DVD Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World, and Essays on the Occasion of Illuminated Verses: Poetries of the Islamic World. The film provides a decent overview of art in an Islamic context and touches on the genres we’ll be looking at. The essays come out of City Lore’s 2011 symposia Illuminated Verses and feature short pieces by a few of the scholars and writers about their relationships with poetries from the “Islamic world,” (a phrase we’ll certainly challenge during our institute!). Lastly, we also invite Scholars to peruse the website and digital exhibit of Poetic Voices at In addition to the digital exhibit, the website includes video clips of scholarly lectures and a detailed resource page.
  • 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 page:
    LIBRARY OF READINGS (password-protected)

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.