Understanding and Teaching the Modern Middle East



“This book is unique in its breadth and scope. There is no comparable volume that offers guidance on teaching the Middle East at the university or high school level. Chapters include a diverse range of voices, and the gender balance among the contributors is commendable and significant, placing it at the cutting edge of academic pedagogy.”—Rachel Harris, editor of Teaching the Arab-Israeli Conflict

“With the emphasis on the diversity of elements involved in the topics covered and a conscious avoidance of ‘essentialist’ approaches, the authors individually and the volume as a whole succeed in presenting analyses that are not Orientalist or civilizationalist, while avoiding ideological polemics.”—John Voll, Georgetown University

Many students learn about the Middle East through a sprinkling of information and generalizations deriving largely from media treatments of current events. This scattershot approach can propagate bias and misconceptions that inhibit students’ abilities to examine this vitally important part of the world. Understanding and Teaching the Modern Middle East moves away from the Orientalist frameworks that have dominated the West’s understanding of the region, offering a range of fresh interpretations and approaches for teachers. The volume brings together experts on the rich intellectual, cultural, social, and political history of the Middle East, providing necessary historical context to familiarize teachers with the latest scholarship. Each chapter includes easy- to-explore sources to supplement any curriculum, focusing on valuable and controversial themes that may prove pedagogically challenging, including colonization and decolonization, the 1979 Iranian revolution, and the US-led “war on terror.” By presenting multiple viewpoints, the book will function as a springboard for instructors hoping to encourage students to negotiate the various contradictions in historical study.