September 10, 2007

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LEWISBURG, Pa. — Michael Gomez will give the talk, "African Muslims in the Americas," Monday, Sept. 24, at 7 p.m. in the Forum of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell University.

The talk, which is free to the public, is part of the university's ongoing Black Experiences Lecture series, sponsored by the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender.

Professor and chair of the history department at New York University, Gomez also serves as director of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD). His fields of specialization are West Africa, the African diaspora, the antebellum American South, Islam, social and cultural formations, and slavery.
Gomez is the author of Black Crescent: African Muslims in the Americas which won the 2006 Award in Nonfiction from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Other recent books include: Reversing Sail: A History of the African Diaspora and Exchanging Our Country Marks: The Transformation of African Identities in the Colonial and Antebellum South. Gomez also is the editor of Diasporic Africa: A Reader.

Muslim experience in America

According to Gomez, the Muslim experience in the Americas long antedates contemporary discussions and challenges surrounding matters of security, pluralism, and so-called civilizational conflict. "In fact, African Muslims began arriving in the Americas from the very beginning of European "voyages of discovery" and nascent colonialism. While most were enslaved, some were free, and in every instance they were distinguished from other Africans," he says.

In his talk, Gomez will explore the different histories and trajectories of Muslim communities in the Americas from the 15th through the 20th centuries and examine their contributions to their respective host societies.

He also will explore reasons why areas boasting significant numbers of Muslims in the 19th century, such as Brazil, witnessed a diminution in their presence as time progressed; whereas in the United States comparably fewer Muslims in the 19th century formed one basis for the development of a flourishing Muslim community in the 20th century.

Contact: Office of Communications

Posted Sept. 10, 2007