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How to Teach About the Middle East—and Get it Right!

This series offers five interactive sessions between January and May 2021, featuring resources and strategies for teaching about the Middle East relevant to both in-person and virtual teaching for Grades 6-12 and community colleges. Educators may register for any or all of the sessions. SCECHs from the Michigan Department of Education are available.

This is a Title VI collaboration between two National Resource Centers dedicated to Middle East Studies: CMENAS at the University of Michigan, and the Consortium at Duke University-The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

January 28: Islam Through Art

Christiane Gruber, Professor of Islamic Art and Chair of the History of Art Department, University of Michigan

This webinar introduces participants to key issues and themes in Islamic art, including architectural interactions and the importance of ornament and Arabic-script calligraphy. This session also aims to dispel contemporary discourses about figural imagery, especially depictions of the Prophet Muhammad. Finally, we will discuss readings, pedagogical strategies, and online resources that can help teach Islam in a manner that aims to circumvent simplistic presuppositions and “otherizing” binaries.
Watch the recording.

February 25: Teaching Middle East History in World History

Allen Fromherz, Director, Middle East Studies Center at Georgia State University

Relevant to high school curricula, this webinar explores ideas and strategies for using decisive moments in Middle East History to explore larger themes of World History including charisma, religious encounters, commerce, and geographical diversity.
Watch the recording.

March 18: Experiential Learning about the Middle East through the Senses

Barbara Petzen, Director of Training Initiatives, the Abshire-Inamori Leadership Academy at the Center for Strategic & International Studies

This session explored and demonstrated a variety of sensory approaches, many of which can be adapted to the virtual environment. Barbara Petzen led participants in using new ways to understand the diversity of the historical and contemporary Middle East through images and film, sound, taste and smell, and tactile experiences. Watch the recording.

April 22: Teaching about the Middle East through Underreported Stories

Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

This session with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting explores reporting on the MENA region and curricular resources that can be used to connect underreported news stories to the classroom. We outline ways to engage students in global issues through journalism, develop media literacy, encourage critical thinking about the MENA region, and connect with a journalist for a conversation about their experience reporting from the Middle East. Watch the recording.

May 20: Hip Hop and Women's Voices in the Middle East and North Africa

Angela Williams, Associate Director, Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Through the work of rap artists from the MENA region, participants learn about the varied lived experiences of girls and women in this region. Their music and online expressions depict the challenges and pressures they face, as well as spaces for hope and a better future for women and girls. Watch the recording.