Professor receives Hall Center's first Scholars on Site award

Tue, 04/09/2013

Contact

Victor Bailey
Hall Center for the Humanities
785-864-7822

LAWRENCE — The Hall Center for the Humanities has announced that Beverly Mack, University of Kansas professor of African and African-American studies, received its 2013 Scholars on Site award.

Scholars on Site seeds research projects that involve collaboration between KU faculty members and community partners. The intent is to support collaborative research projects that mutually benefit community organizations and the university, and generate best practices in collaboration between humanities scholars and public partners. This award is part of the Hall Center’s 2011 Challenge Grant and was funded by the Friends of the Hall Center.

The goal of Scholars on Site is to demonstrate the positive impacts that academic knowledge can have on communities and the impact that community knowledge and experience can have on academic research. The result of the project is an equal partnership of academic humanities and public knowledge that strengthens both scholarship and communities.

Mack studies Yan Taru practices, a model of community education for Muslim women based on West African Qadiriyya Islam traditions. Yan Taru emphasizes scholarship, social justice and education. The movement was founded in the 19th century by Sufi Muslim scholar Nana Asma'u, a poet whose work Mack has studied for more than 30 years.

The American Yan Taru was established in the 1990s in Pittsburgh and soon grew into several branches across the country. Dylia Camara, the organization's national leader, is responsible for the creation of the curriculum used by Yan Taru women today. The Scholars on Site award will support the collaborative work that Mack and Camara will undertake. Together, the women will create a scholarly account of American Yan Taru, study and assess the current curricula, survey the efficacy of teaching and resulting community work, and study how the curriculum affects women's lives.

This formal assessment of Yan Taru practices will culminate in the establishment of a network among groups in the United States. Mack and Camara hope to have a national conference to talk about their work and the changing face of Yan Taru after meeting and working with individual groups.

The benefits of collaboration for both parties are significant. Mack will work intimately with the American branch of Yan Taru, learning from the groups what is working best and what the past can tell them about moving into a productive future. Working intimately with community partners allows Mack to better understand the needs and social welfare work of active American Yan Taru groups. In turn, Camara will consult Mack on her extensive knowledge and research on Nana Asma'u's life and works, as well as African Yan Taru practices. This research project will benefit the humanities by increasing understanding of Islam in America.  

Mack and Camara intend to produce an interactive website to facilitate communication among Yan Taru groups, as well as a site for posting both 19th century and contemporary digitized educational materials. After establishing these resources, the researchers plan to continue self-funded annual conferences to discuss Muslim women’s education and social welfare activities in America.

At its completion, the project will have established a method of “training women to train other women,” Mack said. “That is exactly what Asma’u intended when she established the Yan Taru model of women’s education.”

For information regarding the Scholars on Site Award, please contact Associate Director Sally Utech by email.



Can a new species of frog have a doppelgänger? KU researchers say yes. Learn more about the discovery here: http://bit.ly/XHT3H3 Tags: #KUdiscoveries #KUresearch #KUstudents #Frog #LookAlike

Poet offers insights to Jayhawk experience through wordplay "Welcome to KU. Where questions rest, in stacks of answers from the past. …" Listen to Topher Enneking, a spoken word poet and former KU football player, as he weaves the experience of KU and its traditions through this storytelling and wordplay performance. Learn more about KU traditions at http://www.ku.edu/about/traditions/. Welcome to KU. Where questions rest in stacks of answers from the past. Where dreams crawl out of bed And learn to walk Uphill both ways. Where freshmen stand on stilts And hang from the rafters, While the wheat waves In a fieldhouse Where the Phog rolls in Helping us to see Through the past into the future. Haunting hosts giving handouts in a heritage Too heavy to grasp til you add to it. So it may be born anew, Allowing our boots to stand in the ash of oppression’s hate But shine bright as the sun While war cries of warriors past Ring in our ears long after their battles are won. Memorials telling time, “you don’t have to stand still.” Because the top of the world Is just up that Hill. Where our natural history is an awe-struck echo Of world’s fair and equal Past, present and future, prelude and sequel. Where our flags fly above planes. Where we build in chalks that can’t be erased. Stone edifices made to last So you would walk Past their doors, down their halls And let your voice fill their room. Because only in empty silence can destruction loom. So stand tall. Wrap your arms around this crowd Sing our alma mater and sing it out loud. Let your voice sing in chorus and reach other nations Beckoning new Jayhawks to spark new collaborations Because you are the mortar that will hold these walls upright. Your future Your dreams are why Jayhawks did fight For the tradition before you Was merely prelude For what will come next now that you’re at KU.


One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
1 of 9 public universities with outstanding study abroad programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
$260.5 million in externally funded research expenditures
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times