American and Muslim Worlds ca. 1500–1900

Long before the age of twentieth-century geopolitics, the American and Muslim worlds informed, interacted, perplexed, inspired, confounded, and imagined each other in ways far more numerous than is frequently thought. Whether through the sale of American commodities in Central Asia, Ottoman consuls in Washington, orientalist themes in American fiction, the uprisings of enslaved Muslims in Brazil, or the travels of American missionaries to the Middle East there was no shortage of opportunities for Muslims and the inhabitants of the Americas to meet, interact, and shape one another from an early period.

The opening keynote by Denise Spellberg will take place at the Perry World House. Friday’s panels will be held at the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, and the final day’s panels on research in progress will be held at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies. The program will close with a keynote by Sylviane Diouf, award-winning historian of the African diaspora, and author of Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas.

The conference is free and open to the public but registration is required. Conference papers will be circulated to all registered attendees prior to the conference and will only be briefly summarized by the presenters.



The conference is made possible by the generous support of University of Pennsylvania Libraries’ Thomas Sovereign Gates Library Lecture Fund. Conference presented by the McNeil Center for Early American Studies and the Penn Libraries, co-sponsored by the Penn Humanities Forum, Perry World House, the Middle East Center at Penn, the Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, and the Asian American Studies Program.


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