Exploring Islam

"Exploring Islam" was the theme of Hope College's 2011 Critical Issues Symposium. Delving into the multi-layered diversity of Islam's core beliefs and practices, "Exploring Islam" will embody the College's commitment to open inquiry and civil discourse about differing beliefs and traditions. In “Exploring Islam,” the Critical Issues Symposium seeks to enhance discernment, understanding and interfaith cooperation for all constituencies of Hope College about a topic of vital importance to our global society.

2011 Keynote Speakers

CIS Schedule

Reza Aslan Asma Barlas


Link to Detailed Schedule - CIS 2011

Link to Photo Gallery

Tuesday Evening Keynote Address - 7:00 pm
Dimnent Memorial Chapel - Reza Aslan
Book Signing, Reception

Wednesday Morning Keynote Address - 9:00 am
Dimnent Memorial Chapel - Asma Barlas

Morning Focus Sessions - 10:30 am
Multiple Locations on Campus

Afternoon Focus Sessions - 1:00 pm
Multiple Locations on Campus

Department-Sponsored Sessions
2:15 pm
Departments are encouraged to host sessions
relevant to their particular disciplines.

Reza Aslan

Internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions. Author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam.

Asma Barlas

Professor of Politics, Ithaca College, Director of the Center for the Study of Culture, Race and Ethnicity. Author of "Believing Women" in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur'an.

Read more about all CIS speakers here... Read the Press Release here...




Visit the Van Wylen Library
Resource Page

Books, Videos, Articles, Maps, Links

  • General Overviews/Reference
    • Need to Know? Islam
    • Understanding Islam
    • Sunni/Shiite
    • Islam: Opposing Viewpoints
  • History & Origins of Islam
  • Muslims in America
  • Islam, Judaism & Christianity
  • Islam & Women
  • Islam & Science
  • Law, Politics & Economics


Related Events


For more information about other local events: GVSU Kauffman Interfaith Institute


Reading For Hope

More about CIS at Hope College

Six books on Islam have been selected for use in campus-wide discussions this summer and next fall. Get a head start on your reading and then join in the conversation...
As a service to the community, all CIS events are
free and open to the public.

For nearly 30 years the Critical Issues Symposium (CIS) has been an integral part of the Hope College academic landscape. A committee of faculty, staff, and students, in consultation with President Bultman, selects one topic to focus on each year. Hope College takes this academic endeavor seriously enough to cancel daytime classes on one day each fall semester in order to allow the campus community to fully participate in examining the topic at hand. CIS has sponsored international leaders in a variety of fields, but also calls on the resources of the West Michigan and Hope College communities to provide input on our discussions.

Please note that Wednesday evening classes
DO meet on the day of CIS.

If you have any questions about CIS please feel free to contact either:

Alfredo Gonzales
Associate Provost and CIS Co-Chair

Derek Emerson
Director of Events and Conferences and CIS Co-Chair

Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation

Eboo Patel

The Future of Islam

John Esposito

Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time

Karen Armstrong


The Muslim Next Door: The Qur'an, the Media, and that Veil Thing

Sumbul Ali-Karamali

No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam

Reza Aslan


Zeitoun, a true story about Muslum residents of New Orleans in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.

Dave Eggers