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Other Online Resources

Here are some online lesson plans and resources that we think are great!

Online Resources and Curriculum

Units produced by Hemispheres and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies

  • Naturally, pride makes us point out that we have a number of our own curriculum resources waiting for you to use them!

Lesson Plans from the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Arizona

  • Lots of good stuff here!

Snapshots of Contested Istanbul

  • Blog posts produced by students in Dr. Jeannette Okur’s undergraduate course, Contested Istanbul, right here at UT Austin. 

Museum Resources on Middle Eastern Art

Education Page at the Smithsonian Institution's Freer and Sackler Galleries of Art

The Education Program at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met has several downloadable PDF lesson plans for classroom use, including:

  • The Art of Ancient Egypt: A Resource for Educators
    The art of ancient Egypt and the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art come together in this comprehensive resource for educators, which includes summaries of ancient Egyptian history and art, maps, lesson plans and classroom activities, a bibliography, and a glossary. The descriptions of the works and other information are aimed at increasing knowledge and pleasure in viewing Egyptian art at the Metropolitan or other museums. The materials can be adapted for students of all ages, interests, and abilities, and can be used to enrich any curriculum.
  • Art of the Ancient Near East: A Resource for Educators
    Many features of civilization originated in the lands we call the ancient Near East, a vast and varied area from Turkey to the Indus Valley of present-day Pakistan and from the Caucasus to the Arabian Peninsula. This essential guide for K–12 educators introduces the variety and diversity of art produced by the rich and complex cultures that flourished in this region during an equally vast time period, from the eighth millennium B.C. to the middle of the seventh century A.D. Learn about the cultural, archaeological, and historical contexts for a selection of thirty works of art in the form of sculpture, silver and gold ritual vessels and objects, monumental reliefs, cuneiform tablets, and stamp and cylinder seals. Curriculum connections, discussion questions, lesson plans, and activities for a range of grade levels provide useful strategies for teaching in the classroom. The resource also includes a bibliography and glossary.
  • Islamic Art and Geometric Design: Activities for Learning
    Examine the principles of geometric design that are the basis for the beautiful and intricate patterns in the art of the Islamic world. Includes a brief overview of Islamic art, an introduction to related works in the Museum, and a series of pattern-making activities (including reproducible grids) for use in the classroom. Teachers can readily adapt these materials to create exciting lessons in art, culture, math, and geometry.

The Art Institute of Chicago

The British Museum

It may be a bit far to take your class on a field trip, but the British Museum's Web site has a dizzying array of lesson plans and resources on its Web site for educators and schools, organized by subjects, which include:

TED Talks

(Suggested by former Outreach Director Christopher Rose)
As a feel-good resource for everyone, I wanted to share a few of my favorite TED talks.  If you're not familiar with TED, it's a collection of inspiring talks by people you probably haven't heard of, but will enjoy hearing from. Each one is a short video clip (5-20 min) that can be downloaded.

Chimamanda Adichie: The Danger of a Single Story

Watch the talk here.

This lecture isn't Middle East specific -- the speaker is a Nigerian woman -- but it very neatly captures who we as educators devoted to world studies are and why we do what we do. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

I've used this clip several workshops and it really captures for many teachers why they want to teach from diverse perspectives, and it really resonates with me. If you've ever found yourself wondering why you have to address--again--"Why they hate us" or debunking the myth that Iraqis are all religious fanatics, that all Israelis hate all Palestinians (and vice-versa) and that the region as a whole is spoken for authentically by Osama bin Laden and Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, (views that are, sadly, prevalent in the reader comments on the next two videos) this is a good one to use as a basic building tool.

Lesley Hazelton: On Reading the Qur'an

Watch the talk here.

Lesley Hazleton sat down one day to read the Koran. And what she found -- as a non-Muslim, a self-identified "tourist" in the Islamic holy book -- wasn't what she expected. With serious scholarship and warm humor, Hazleton shares the grace, flexibility and mystery she found, in this myth-debunking talk from TEDxRainier. I've started showing this relatively short (8 minute) clip in all my workshops where I do an Islam 101 presentation. I've even used it with a military audience, and they really liked it.

Naif al-Mutawa: Superheroes inspired by Islam (The 99)

Watch the talk here.

The 99, a series of graphic novels / comics about superheroes who each bear one of the 99 names of God given in the Qur'an as a superpower, is supposed to be an inspirational series for Muslim kids and others. Not surprisingly in this day and age, it also ran into controversy when it was being turned into an animated series over fears of "indoctrinating" non-Muslim kids.  Here, creator Naif al-Mutawa talks about what inspired the series in the first place.

Ghada Abdel Aal at TedX Amsterdam Women

Watch the talk here.

Ghada Abdel Aal is the Egyptian author of I Want to Get Married!, the popular blog-turned-book-turned-Ramadan serial about a young, professional, Muslim Egyptian woman who seeks out a husband for herself but doesn't really want to settle for the first guy who comes in the door. And so she meets various characters, including the mama's boy, the groom who flips out when he feels that his favorite football player has been insulted, the policeman who feels that his uniform should speak for itself, and other assorted misfits. Abdel Aal addresses the success of the blog and the experience of having it translated into different languages and the fame that it's brought her in this talk.

BBC World Book Club

World Book Club invites the globe's great authors to discuss their best known novel. This monthly program, presented by Harriett Gilbert, includes questions from World Service listeners.
Each Episode is approximately 55 minutes long in MP3 audio. Among the Middle Eastern authors represented are:

Leila Aboulela (Sudan/Egypt)
Aboulela speaks about her novel Minaret
Download: https://open.live.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/6/redir/version/2.0/mediaset/audio-nondrm-download/proto/https/vpid/p03cdykv.mp3

Alaa al-Aswany (Egypt)
Egyptian writer Alaa Al-Aswaany discusses his best-selling novel, The Yacoubian Building, a moving study of politics and power in downtown Cairo.
Download: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/worldservice/wbc/wbc_20091107-2006b.mp3
David Grossman (Israel)
Acclaimed Israeli writer David Grossman talks to presenter Harriett Gilbert and a studio audience about his prize-winning novel To the End of the Land.
Download: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/worldservice/wbc/wbc_20111105-1106a.mp3

Mohsin Hamid (UK/Pakistan)
Hamid discusses his book The Reluctant Fundamentalist, now made into a film.
Download: https://open.live.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/6/redir/version/2.0/mediaset/audio-nondrm-download/proto/https/vpid/p02qr65q.mp3

Khaled Hosseini (Afghanistan)
Bestselling writer Khaled Hosseini discusses The Kite Runner, his first novel set in Afghanistan, which has sold 15 million copies.
Download: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/worldservice/wbc/wbc_20080527-1554.mp3

Yasmina Khadra (Afghanistan)
Yasmina Khadra discusses The Swallows of Kabul, a portrait of life under a tyrannical theocracy.
Download: https://open.live.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/6/redir/version/2.0/mediaset/audio-nondrm-download/proto/https/vpid/p02sv0tb.mp3

Hisham Matar (Libya)
Libyan writer Hisham Matar talks to Harriett Gilbert and a studio audience about his chilling novel In the Country of Men.

Elif Shafak (UK/Turkey)
Harriett Gilbert speaks to author Elif Shafak about her novel The Forty Rules of Love.
Download: https://open.live.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/6/redir/version/2.0/mediaset/audio-nondrm-download/proto/https/vpid/p02qr9f7.mp3

Ahdaf Soueif (Egypt)
Soueif discusses her Booker-shortlisted novel The Map of Love. She explains exactly what has gone wrong in Egypt, in her eyes, over the last decade.
Download: https://open.live.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/6/redir/version/2.0/mediaset/audio-nondrm-download/proto/https/vpid/p02qqv3r.mp3

You can find all of the audio recordings here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/wbc/all
The list of authors represented is quite substantial, and includes other notable (non-Middle Eastern) authors such as Carlos Ruiz Zafon (one of my favorites), Chinua Achebe, Henning Mankell, Armistead Maupin, Jane Smalley, Barbara Kingsolver, and more. Definitely worth checking out!