May 31, 2013
The decade after 9/11 was marked by crowds gathering near Ground Zero to protest plans to build an Islamic cultural center, a Florida minister promising to burn the Koran, and the labeling of then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama as a Muslim as a way to derail his presidential candidacy. At the same time, Sheikh Hamza Yusuf and Imam Zaid Shakir were working to establish what may have seemed to many as unviable—the first Muslim liberal arts college in the United States.
In Light without Fire: The Making of America's First Muslim College (Beacon Press), Scott Korb chronicles the 2010-11 year at the Berkeley, Calif. institution, Zaytuna College, which employs a single, unified curriculum based on the Great Books model of Columbia University and St. John’s College.
In the book, Korb, an instructor at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, follows Zaytuna's students and teachers, offering a portrait of the school and insights into how Islam is being lived and re-envisioned in America.
Korb’s previous works include Life in Year One: What the World Was Like in First-Century Palestine and The Faith Between Us, co-authored with Peter Bebergal. He is also associate editor of The Harriet Jacobs Family Papers.