Speakers Bureau

Talks and Living History Presentations for Your Community


First Impressions: 19th Century New Englanders and the Origins of American Perceptions of Islam

Image of Dragur ReisIn 1819, Middlebury College graduates Pliny Fisk and Levi Parsons set out to the Middle East to serve as Christian missionaries in the Islamic world, having had no documented contact with Muslims, but having read a lot about Islam. Their worldview was profoundly changed by their experiences.

Using their writings and the letters from other Vermont missionaries and their wives, Philip Crossman will examine the early 19th century origins of Americans’ views of Islam and their impact on our perceptions today. What can these historical examples tell us about our own impressions of countless peoples whom we only know second or third hand?


About the presenter

Image of Phillip Crossman Philip Crossman - Philip Crossman has spent most of his life teaching the humanities to high school and college students. His interest in Middle Eastern history was sparked by several years he spent working in Jerusalem. See full biography.

Booking a talk

First, contact the speaker to confirm their availability and discuss any special arrangements. Then, click the “Book this Talk!” button below to send a request form to VHC. We’ll respond within one week.