Virtual World: Al-Andalus 2.0


Down to the details of flowers in bloom and fruiting orange and lemon trees, the gardens in the virtual community of Al-Andalus, below, have been “built” to resemble those of the Generalife in Granada, Spain.


When you hear the term “social media,” what comes to mind? Twitter? Probably. Facebook? Certainly. How about Second Life? Maybe not so much. Yet since 2003, Second Life’s immersive, user-built “virtual world” has attracted some 17 million people from all over our physical world, and it’s a potentially powerful digital tool for exploring cultural relations.

The arch of red roses is one of the contributions of Al-Andalus Project co-founder “Rose Springvale.”
The arch of red roses at the center of the topmost image is one of the contributions of Al-Andalus Project co-founder “Rose Springvale,” above.

In 2008, my collaborator, Rita J. King, and I embarked on a study titled “Digital Diplomacy: Understanding Islam Through Virtual Worlds” to explore the potential value of on-line, digital environments in cultural dialogue. We spent a year researching communities across four continents in the physical world and throughout a number of on-line virtual worlds. We chose to focus on Second Life not only because it is by far the largest of the on-line virtual worlds but, most importantly, because it is created entirely by its users.

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Understanding Islam through Virtual Worlds


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Saladin says:

    It’s interesting that so many feel spiritually satisfied through the SL construct. I can certainly imagine it valuable for community-building or educational purposes but I would have thought the religious component rang hollow for people. Fascinating that it didn’t. An interesting post. Thank you.


  2. webbigest says:

    assalamualaikum,,,,nice article,,


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