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New Primary Source Set: Islamic Religious Art, Architecture, and Literature

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Published on Mon, 03/14/2016

[caption id="attachment_9159" align="alignright" width="300"]Example of a great mosque (Iraq) with dome and minarets overlaid with gold. Example of a great mosque (Iraq) with dome and minarets overlaid with gold.[/caption] The following primary source set offers a unique compilation of images showcasing the expression of Islamic faith through architecture, literature, and the arts. Students are exposed to a collection of sources depicting both the religion of Islam and the relationship between Islam and the other Abrahamic religious traditions of Judaism and Christianity. Included in the set is a comprehensive historical background on the origins and basic beliefs of Islam and the artistic and architectural manifestations of those beliefs. Recommended secondary sources and classroom activity ideas provide real world options for utilizing primary source materials including Ninian’s Smart’s 7 dimensions of religion. Primary source materials contained within the collection depict the rich and varied visual representations of Islam in locations ranging from Algeria to New Jersey to Timbuktu. Pictures of mud mosques in West Africa and geometric patterns found in the clothing of a Nestorian Archbishop from Persia indicate the wide variety of historically significant primary source documents on Islamic art and architecture. Through analyzing and discussing the materials in this primary source set, students will gain a better understanding of Islam and the Muslim people throughout history and across many lands. View more details, or download and access the primary source set online. Developed during the 2015 History in Motion program, a collaboration between Emerging America and the Library of Congress.
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Karen Albano

History eNews Editor, Emerging America
Karen Albano began working with the Emerging America program in 2015. She is currently the editor of the weekly History eNews, and has contributed to many facets of the Emerging America program, including developing curriculum, improving the accessibility of the website to educators, and overseeing social media outreach.