Published on November 04, 2013
By Aileen Bachant

Rowan University Library invites all Rowan University students to explore the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf; to read about the diverse histories, practices, and cultures of Muslims in the United States and around the world; and to write a reflective essay.  

One essay will be selected as the winning essay.  It will be posted on the Library’s website and the author will receive a gift certificate for dinner for two at Marrakesh (a Moroccan restaurant in Philadelphia) courtesy of the International Studies Concentration.


  • Essays should be 4-6 pages in length and should address one of the four writing prompts listed below.
  • You may use MLA, APA, or Chicago style.
  • All entries must be submitted to Dr. Glenn Odom ( ) no later than 5:00 PM on Friday, November 22, 2013.

Writing Prompts

  • If the books in the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf inspired you to write something or writing prompts listed below spark other ideas, feel free to write about those topics.  The best essay you can write will always be your own essay.
  • Many of these books deal with longstanding histories of trade, interconnections, and travel.  Consider the ways in which these historical trajectories are still relevant today.  In other words, what information, products, or ideas circulate along the same paths outlined in these books?  Why is this circulation important to contemporary life?  Alternatively, if you do not feel that there is a circulation, explain what factors have limited this circulation and what the costs of this limitation have been.
  • Many of these books discuss feeling like an outsider either religiously or ethnically.  Consider the ways in which our everyday society contributes to these feelings in others or in yourself.  Consider ways in which society could become more inclusive.  The books make a point of the daily struggles, which suggests that examples of inclusiveness should be specific, concrete, and immediate rather than broad and vague.  Reference the specific types of isolation mentioned in the books.  Society can be defined as broadly or as narrowly as you choose – you could focus on the Rowan community, the region, or the nation.
  • What place do poetry, fantasy, and fiction have within a larger socio-political discussion (Why include Arabian Nights for instance) --and, specifically, within this context?   Many people have argued that we should know something about other cultures.  What is it that literature might teach us and why is this cultural knowledge important?

Evaluation Criteria

  • Does the essay have a clear connection to the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf?
  • Does the essay relate to the contemporary world?
  • Does the essay represent the values of inclusivity that are central to our mission as a University?
  • Does the essay present original ideas and/or present ideas in a novel way?
  • Is the essay well written, with a strong organizational structure, coherent paragraphs, grammatically correct sentences, and appropriate punctuation?

For more information about the Muslim Journeys project, please visit our website -