Art and Islam: Interview with Ken George

kenArt0Many of the world’s greatest art works are inspired by religion (for example, Leonarda da Vinci’s The Last Supper) and arouse an almost religious sense of awe (think of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel paintings). This close relationship between art and religion is very much alive in contemporary Indonesia, home of the largest Muslim population in the world. Nobody understands this better than Kenneth George, UW-Madison professor of anthropology and author of an upcoming book, Picturing Islam: Art and Ethics in a Muslim Lifeworld. Prof. George sat down with Inside Islam recently to share his diverse experience with Muslim culture, from living in a small rural Muslim community to working with cosmopolitan Muslim artists and urban intellectuals. Continue reading

“The Domestic Crusaders”

domesticMany Muslims in the United States will say that the events of September 11, 2001, changed their life and their outlook on their faith and their place as Americans. What it meant to be Muslim American acquired a new complexity and depth that was not true of earlier generations.  In order to deal with this new reality, Muslim Americans have found myriad ways to respond and redefine themselves–interfaith dialogues, rallies, Islamic studies, etc. Some, though, respond using literature, art, music, and now drama. Continue reading