The project here was planned, researched, and presented by three Global Historical Studies classes at Butler University in Indianapolis Indiana. The idea behind Global and Historical Studies has been in the Butler curriculum since 1983.  We understand it is important to develop an appreciation of people and their cultures.  No matter what a student’s field of study, living in the modern world requires it.  GHS classes are taught by a wide variety of instructors from various departments and colleges across the university.  As a result, the approaches and perspectives presented are multidisciplinary and richly varied.

Classes are guided by these statements of principle:  Binding us together is a common interest in interdisciplinary study of global cultures.  Though faculty and topic varies, every GHS course has common goals.

  • To examine the processes by which great world civilizations have formed their cultural traditions, the circumstances under which those traditions have been challenged by the forces of change, and the degree to which those traditions have persisted, evolved, or fragmented.
  • To establish the historical context for cultures that we study and to explore the links between the present and past.
  • To establish broad thematic, cultural comparisons that will allow us to explore ethical values and cultural ideals, with an eye to identifying those values and ideals that seem nearly universal versus those that shift over time that that differ from one culture to another.
  • To foster understanding of cultural traditions and values as they have been formulated and debated from within each culture but with an understanding that traditions and values inevitably must exist, adapt, or resist change in the context of the world community.

Happy Ramadan (Mobarak Alaikom Al Shahar)
by Bashar Al-Ba’noon, used under 

In the case of this project, students were assigned to study and write about the “World of Islam.”  They selected topics including culture, history, custom, sacred text, place, and people.  In this case students worked to create a website that will help others learn more about Islam, the world’s second most populous religion.  We hope it will help create a deeper appreciation and understanding of this great monotheistic religion.

The project would not have been possible without the tireless work of two librarians here at Butler University, Amanda Starkel and Franny Gaede.  They worked with students on issues such as research, source documentation, and especially on important technology applications.  Their work was critical to our success and we want to thank them.

James Keating
English Department

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Top Image Collage Attributions: Left: Sultan Ahmed Mosque (by Gregory T. Smith, 2008, CC BY-NC-SA), Center: Students of Madarasa Bhalwal (by Rizwan Sagar, 2009, CC BY), Right: Mosque in Kuala Lumpur (by Trey Ratcliffe, 2006, CC BY-NC-SA).