Winthrop University: Art and Architecture of the Islamic Worlds Come to Dacus Library and the Department of Fine Arts
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Art and Architecture of the Islamic Worlds Come to Dacus Library and the Department of Fine Arts

March 28, 2022

HIGHLIGHTS

  • More than 85 new volumes and several online encyclopedias and research anthologies on Islamic art and visual culture are now available to the Winthrop community. 

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Winthrop University’s Ida Jane Dacus Library recently increased the number of books, online encyclopedias and research anthologies that deal with the art and architecture of the Islamic worlds.

This is due to a collaborative effort between Dacus Library and the Department of Fine Arts, as well as a transformational gift of a generous benefactor. More than 85 new volumes and several online encyclopedias and research anthologies on Islamic art and visual culture are now available to the Winthrop community. 

This strategic library collection development initiative was led by Kyle G. Sweeney, assistant professor of art history in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, with support from Dacus librarians Hope Johnson and Martha Smith. Sweeney said the new holdings will give students and others a chance to learn more about Islam, which is the world’s second-largest religion, with 1.9 billion followers or roughly one-quarter of the world’s population, according to the Pew Research Center.

Among the new resources available is The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture, which features over 1,600 entries, and is easily searchable online through the library’s website. Other new titles include The Image Debate: Figural Representation in Islam and Across the World and The Praiseworthy One: the Prophet Muhammad in Islamic texts and images, both of which address the widespread misapprehension that depictions of the human figure were forbidden in Islamic art. 

New exhibition catalogs were also added to the collections, such as Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Exchange Across Medieval Saharan Africa, which looks at medieval trans-Saharan exchange and its legacy. 

Members of the Winthrop community interested in learning more about Islamic art and Dacus Library’s new resources can check out the new book display on view at the library near the student lounge through the end of the spring semester or explore this new online research guide.

Winthrop undergraduate students interested in studying Islamic art history can enroll in ARTH 358 “Art and Architecture of the Islamic Worlds,” which is listed in three Gen Ed categories and has no prerequisites. Sweeney said that the course will explore cultures from the Iberian Peninsula to the Indian Subcontinent, and investigate works of art ranging from illustrated manuscripts, to delicate metalwork, to monumental mosques, from the seventh through 18th centuries. 

“Using art as a lens to introduce Winthrop students to the Islamic worlds will help them gain a better understanding of cultures that differ from their own and develop intercultural competencies,” said Sweeney. 

ARTH 358 is a new course and will be offered for the first time this fall as a result of the collection development initiative and demonstrated student interest in global art and visual culture beyond the western canon.  

For more on Winthrop’s art history program, visit the website or contact Professor Alice Burmeister at burmeistera@winthrop.edu. For more on Dacus Library’s collections in art and design, contact Hope Johnson at johnsonhs@winthrop.edu

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Last Updated: 7/13/22