Public Talk By Prof. Ali S. Asani

Understanding Islam in an Age of Polarization and Misinformation

Public Talk by Ali S. Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures,
Harvard University

When: Thursday, 5 March 2020, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Where: Room 1-5, Business Building, University of Alberta

We live in a world in which illiteracy about Islam has been increasingly exploited to divide people and undermine the pluralistic fabric of societies.  The dehumanization of entire religious communities through stereotypes and the language of hate has resulted in not only violation of human rights but also in violence and loss of life. This presentation will focus on how we can combat illiteracy about Islam in political, media and social spaces and promote more nuanced perspectives about the tradition.

Ali Asani is Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures at Harvard University. A specialist of Islam in South Asia, he teaches a variety of courses related to Islam and Muslim cultures at Harvard, including Multisensory Religion: Rethinking Islam through the Arts. For several decades he has been active in improving the understanding of Islam and its role in Muslim societies by conducting workshops for educators as well as making presentations at various public forums. He has been involved in the Islamic Cultural Studies Initiative, an international professional development program for high school teachers in Kenya, Pakistan and Texas intended to promote a culturally and historically based approach to the study of Islam and Muslim societies. He has also served on the American Academy of Religion’s Task Force on the teaching of religion in schools and as a consultant for the National Endowment for the Humanities Bridging Cultures Muslim Journeys Bookshelf Project.  He is recipient of the Harvard Foundation medal for his outstanding contributions to improving intercultural and race relations. More recently he was awarded the Petra C. Shattuck prize for excellence in teaching by Harvard’s Division of Continuing Education.