America and the Muslim World: Parley's Panorama
This audio slideshow is excerpted from the e-seminar America and the Muslim World—E-Seminar 1, Battles and Bibles: 1776-1910 taught by Richard W. Bulliet, a leading scholar of modern Islam. In this e-seminar series, Professor Bulliet examines the history of America and its relationship to the Muslim world, paying special attention to the deep-rooted negative feelings Americans often harbor toward Islamic societies.

One thread that Bulliet follows throughout several sections of the seminar is the way teaching about the Islamic world has changed over time in the United States. During the nineteenth century, when most Americans had comparatively limited resources for learning about the rest of the world, rural Americans often consulted books of lore or one-volume encyclopedias such as Parley's Panorama; or, Curiosities of Nature and Art, History and Biography. Entries in this particular reference work, which belonged to Professor Bulliet's great great grandfather, are riddled with stereotyping and misinformation about the Muslim world, and contain legends that first surfaced in medieval writings.

Parley's Panorama offers a valuable perspective on what Americans of the time may have believed about Islamic history.