"Bridging Cultures: Islam and the West," a 30-minute television program based on interviews with several Shared Cultural Spaces speakers, is now available online

For details and airing times on Twin Cities Public Television, click here.


The University of Minnesota's Program in Religious Studies is pleased to present Shared Cultural Spaces, a conference on Islam and the Humanities. 

We will explore the ways in which Muslim contributions to literature, arts, science, and architecture have influenced and become foundational to Western humanistic and scientific expressions. Our goal is to draw scholarly and public attention to the many ways in which Muslim and Western humanities co-exist in dialogue with one another.

The conference will feature two keynote lectures; the debut of a play based on a highly influential twelfth-century Arabic philosophical novel; a trip to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts; and sessions on Islamic literature, science, architecture, art history, and digital technologies. 

These sessions will look closely at the concept of the humanities within Islamic contexts and the epistemologies at the heart of Muslim contributions to the arts and sciences. The conference also will explore shared cultural spaces through the influence of Islamic architecture in the United States, art and aesthetics, and contemporary uses of digital technologies for humanistic and artistic purposes.

Following the conference, we will hold a workshop of faculty and community partners to develop a national program on Islamic humanities that similarly focuses on "shared" and "crossed" cultural space, building bridges between Muslims and non-Muslims both within the United States and in the broader global context.

                          Conference Organizers

Nabil Matar
Professor, English Language/Literature
University of Minnesota
Phone: 612-626-8320

Director, Program in Religious Studies
University of Minnesota
Phone: 612-626-8320

Professor, Anthropology
University of Minnesota
Phone: 612-625-3400

This conference is made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this conference do not necessarily reflect those of the NEH.