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Grant number like: ME-228623-15

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Trustees of Indiana University (Bloomington, IN 47405-7000)
Edward E. Curtis (Project Director: August 2014 to July 2018)
Arthur Farnsley (Co Project Director: March 2015 to July 2018)

Bridging Cultures at Community Colleges
Education Programs

[Grant products]

$119,009 (approved)
$113,920 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2015 – 4/30/2017

World Religions in Greater Indianapolis: An NEH Bridging Cultures Project

A two-year study course for fifteen faculty members at Ivy Tech Community College, in partnership with Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, on contemporary religious traditions in greater Indianapolis.

Ivy Tech Community College (ITCC), in collaboration with Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), conducts an exploration of contemporary religious traditions in the greater Indianapolis area. Guided by religious studies scholars Edward Curtis and Arthur Farnley (both IUPUI), and humanities program chair John J. Cooney (ITCC), fifteen Ivy Tech faculty members, over the course of two years, study five world religious traditions that reflect the changing demographics and religious diversity of the city: Jews from the former Soviet Union, Russia, and Ukraine; Spanish-speaking Roman Catholic Christians from Latin America; Muslims from West Africa; Hindus from India; and Buddhists from Vietnam. Explorations of each world faith tradition follow a pattern of three sessions held over a period of three months. To begin, visiting scholars engage participating faculty in a seminar-style discussion of the history, sacred texts, and practices of the tradition in question. A second meeting the following month focuses on the same tradition in its American contexts. The third meeting then focuses on contemporary manifestations of the tradition in greater Indianapolis, with visits to a local religious institution to engage in dialogue with practicing members of that particular faith. Guest lecturers/discussants in religious studies include Jason Mokhtarian and Sarah Imhoff (both Indiana University, Bloomington) on Judaism; Peter Theusen and Arthur Farnsley (both IUPUI), and Arthur Canales (Marian University) on Christianity; Edward Curtis (IUPUI) and Waseema Ali (Muslim Alliance of Indiana) on Islam; Chad Bauman (Butler University) and Andrea Jain (IUPUI) on Hinduism; and Heather Blair (Indiana University, Bloomington) and Sister Ange (An Lac Vietnamese American Buddhist Association) on Buddhism. Primary readings include Mary Pat Fisher, Lived Religions; Hasia Diner, A New Promised Land: A History of Jews in America; David Wills, Christianity in the United States; Jane I. Smith, Islam in America; Sunil Bhatia, American Karma: Race, Culture, and Identity in the Indian Diaspora; and Richard Hughes Seager, Buddhism in America. The fifteen participants are expected to produce ten course modules each to incorporate into existing history, world civilizations, world literature, art and culture, and anthropology courses at the college. In a final public meeting (March 2017) at IUPUI, each of the participants gives an account of his or her experience offering one of the new modules.