Organizing Institution: Michigan State University
Start Date: March 4, 2022 (11:30am)
End Date: March 4, 2022 (1:00pm EST)
Drawing on selected pre-1800 archival materials from the Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections at the MSU Libraries, this special online talk and discussion will present the interactions and “translations” between early modern English and Muslim travelers and empires, with a focus on the Ottoman (Turkey) and Mughal empires (India). As the frontiers of geographical knowledge were expanding and changing, so were the cultural, linguistic, religious, and racial/ethnic coordinates by which Europeans (Christians) and Muslims defined their own identities. These changes figure in many cross-cultural “encounters,” which reveal the process of confronting “otherness” — both as real and imagined – and as specters or projections of familiar fears and fantasies. This talk will look afresh at the concept of the “encounter” in the context of Anglo-Muslim interactions, with a thematic emphasis on representations of Islamic cities and cultures from the perspective of English travelers, emissaries, and ambassadors who visited these empires. Selections from the books will be on display via Zoom, presented by Tad Boehmer, Curator of Rare Books. Professor Singh’s talk will be followed by facilitated small group discussions.