A $250,000 National Endowment for the Humanities grant will fund a new MATRIX digital library project on Islamic Practices in West Africa. Four scholars, including MSU's University Distinguished Professor David Robinson from the Department of History, will conduct research on various aspects of Muslim life in Ghana and Senegal. Collaborating scholars will conduct video interviews and collect photographs and archival documents. MATRIX will publish four case studies on the web organized in thematic galleries that will feature each scholar’s research materials and documentation.
Typically intellectual work--like that planned for this project--is published in academic journals most often consulted by content experts and specialists. In designing this project MATRIX and its scholarly collaborators deliberately chose a web publication outlet in order to ensure broad public access to the content. As a result, other researchers can use primary-source materials in the digital collection to develop new scholarship. Teachers can also use the resources in the classroom, for example by having student look at the documents and photographs, and listen to the voices of regular men and women from an important part of the world.
Access to the Islam in West Africa digital collection is free and accessible through the African Online Digital Library (http://aodl.org).