Published: Aug. 27, 2009

Faculty conversations: David Robinson

Contact(s): Brian Vernellis University Relations student writer office: (517) 355-2281

Through a partnership with Indiana University, Michigan State University history professor David Robinson is working to chronicle the history and lives of Muslims in West Africa.

Robinson’s research will help build a digital repository of information, working with MATRIX, the center for Humane Arts, Letters and Social Studies online (

Robinson recently received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to help fund the project for the next three years. His research focuses on a region of Senegal.

The project aims to help scholars, teachers and students better understand Muslims and the Islamic faith through an online library of photos and audio.

“We’ll present a story, we’ll present some pictures, we’ll present some sound that goes with the pictures and with the text that will make it clear that this is an Islamic practice that functions alongside Christianity and traditional religions,” Robinson said.

“Quite often people in the same family belong to the Islamic faith or the Christian faith and get along just fine.”