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“As the most sacred holiday in the Islamic calendar, the holy month of Ramadan is marked by fasting during daylight hours and special evening prayers in the mosque. Reading the Koran during Ramadan, which began Tuesday night with the appearance of the new crescent moon, is an essential part of the observance. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, one of the largest Muslim advocacy organizations in the United States, is sponsoring a campaign called ‘Explore the Quran.’ The goal is to give the general non-Muslim public a greater familiarity with Islam's holy book by offering it free. The council has received more than 20,000 requests for free Korans since the campaign began in mid-July. … The requests have come from Christian ministers who want to learn more about Islam, students, professors, atheists, prisons, and police and government officials in communities with a significant Muslim population … ‘The Koran is often difficult to read for Westerners because it is in a non-linear structure. It's a non-chronological, non-historical book,’ said Sohaib Sultan, who is Muslim chaplain at Trinity College and Yale University. Sultan is author of ‘Koran for Dummies,’ which was published in May as part of the ongoing ‘For Dummies’ reference book series. ‘It's not a book that talks about historical narrative in which there is moral judgment, but rather it is a moral narrative that uses history to emphasize and reinforce the moral teaching it presents,’ Sultan explained.”

“Spreading The Koran: Group Offers Free Copies To Non-Muslims To Counter Negative Publicity”
Hartford Courant, October 5, 2005

“Universities are not just for enriching the knowledge of students willing to pay the price of admission; they are also capable of making meaningful contributions to the economic status of the regions they occupy. This was the main point of Kenneth Reardon's kick off of UT's Outreach and Engagement Week on Monday. Reardon, associate professor at Cornell University, said universities are excellent in promoting economic and community development in the most distressed of neighborhoods … ‘Many colleges and universities must have a mission involving public service and democracy,’ he said. Reardon added labor demands, community expectations, legislative pressure and alumni support are all aspects that must be acknowledged to promote the economic development. ‘There also needs to be a vast amount of self-interest, which leads to student and faculty recruitment,’ Reardon said … [He] discussed three examples. Trinity College, a private, four-year liberal arts college in Connecticut, set its vision toward community renewal, focusing on housing and commercial development, youth services, public school reform and access to primary health care. The outcome: about $168 million in development that led to the revitalization of Hartford's Frog Hollow neighborhood, Reardon said.”

“Universities play vital role in cities”
Independent Collegian (University of Toledo), September 22, 2005

“On a warm spring day near the end of the last academic year, I found myself in class dancing with a freshman girl to Bruce Springsteen's ‘Born to Run.’ I am not known as a particularly reserved professor. In teaching students that ideas matter, I try to bring passion to my courses in American cultural history: I do not mask my affection for such figures as Ben Franklin, Dorothea Lange, or Jackie Robinson; I've taken joy in reciting parts of Jonathan Edwards's "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" and imitating Marlon Brando's speech to his brother from On the Waterfront. But until that day, I had never discussed Springsteen in class. And I certainly had never thrown off my blazer and spun a student around the lectern …Until that day, however, my students had no idea of my passion and the meaning of Springsteen's music in my life. But as the opening beats of "Born to Run" blared into the lecture room, I started singing and annotating: ‘In the day we sweat it out in the streets of a runaway American dream’ (the underside of making it in America, I told my students); ‘Baby this town rips the bones from your back’ (the feeling of being cut off from community); ‘We gotta get out while we're young’ (the need to hit the road to find oneself) … That evening I received multiple e-mail messages from students who said that the class had been one of the best they had ever taken … Just months ago, I would not have believed that I could find a way to incorporate my passion for Springsteen into my teaching and writing, that Springsteen, of all subjects, would revitalize my scholarly interests. But … that spring day in class invigorated me. I'm listening to Springsteen with fresh ears, I'm reading widely in rock 'n' roll history, I'm writing material that fuses the personal with the academic, and I'm thinking about teaching in new ways. Oh yes, I'm also practicing my steps, so that I'll be ready the next time I dance in class.”

“The Boss in the Classroom” by Louis Masur
[William R. Kenan Professor of American Institutions and Values]
The Chronicle Review, September 2, 2005

“Thirty years ago, Bruce Springsteen's album ‘Born to Run’ thundered onto the American scene to remarkable reviews. Greil Marcus of Rolling Stone declared ‘You've never heard anything like this before, but you understand it instantly, because this music ... is what rock 'n' roll is supposed to sound like.’ … I turned 18 in 1975, when Presley was a Vegas lounge act, and the rock revolution ushered in by Dylan's appearance at the Newport Folk Festival and the recording of ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ was a decade in the past. Bruce belonged to us; we were part of the legend from the start. No more older siblings bragging that they saw the Beatles at Shea Stadium or attended Woodstock. I first heard Bruce in 1973, and I followed him and the band to clubs and small theaters, where I soaked in long sets that left me feeling exhilarated. ‘Born to Run’ gave voice to my dreams of escape and search for meaning. Of course, taking to the road to find yourself is a classic American theme. Bruce and Clarence on the cover are part of a cultural history that includes Herman Melville's Ishmael and Queequeg at sea or Mark Twain's Huck and Jim lighting out for the territory. But each generation conducts its search in its own way and out of its own imperatives. Mine was something of a post-heroic generation, too young to have participated fully in the cultural rebellions of the 1950s and the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s, yet socialized and politicized by those impulses and seeking direction. Richard Nixon resigned, the Vietnam War ended, and I ached to get away from home. Somehow, national and personal malaise mixed.”

“ROCK 'N' ROLL REFLECTIONS: The long run with Springsteen” by Louis Masur
[William R. Kenan Professor of American Institutions and Values]
Chicago Tribune, August 21, 2005


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