Navigating and Preserving Interfaith Dialogue: Perspectives from Two Academic Librarians

PUN, Raymond and PARROTT, Justin (2019) Navigating and Preserving Interfaith Dialogue: Perspectives from Two Academic Librarians. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2019 - Athens, Greece - Libraries: dialogue for change in Session 83 - Religions: Libraries and Dialogue Special Interest Group (SIG RELINDIAL).

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/2521
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Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.
Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/2521/1/083-pun-en.pdf

Abstract

Navigating and Preserving Interfaith Dialogue: Perspectives from Two Academic Librarians

This paper presents examples from academic librarians' experiences on documenting religious conflicts and promoting interfaith dialogue without sustaining resentment. To prepare for the Parliament of World Religions in November 2018, an academic librarian in the United States collaborated with a religious studies professor to document ways to enhance dialogue and understanding of “dignity” in religions including Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism through Wikipedia. The wikipedia collaborations led to opportunities to teach the meanings and concepts of dignity in religious contexts but there were also moments when the added citations and texts were challenged by other Wikipedia users; we reflect on navigating sensitive topics such as dignity in religious studies and in Wikipedia during such complex times. In an interdisciplinary course entitled ‘Contemporary Debates in Islam’ at New York University Abu Dhabi, one librarian was tasked with supporting the course through both collection development and instruction. This experience provided an important test case for the library’s mission of easing the tension between academic freedom, interfaith dialog, and mutual respect between proponents and opponents of Islamic traditions. From collection development to wikipedia activities, these engagements demonstrate opportunities to document religious conflicts and to foster interfaith dialogue.

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