Guest Presenter: Dr. Özlem Sensoy, Associate Professor of Education at Simon Fraser University, Centre for the Comparative Study of Muslim Societies and Cultures at SFU.

August 24 at 5:00PM Pacific Time/6:00 Mountain/7:00 Central/8:00 East Coast.
Duration: 1.5 hours.
Online through Adobe Connect
For Middle School Teachers, grades 6-8 (students’ ages approx. 12-14 years)

This is the first in a series of online curriculum workshops for culturally relevant teaching about the Middle East. We will address patterns of representation which undergird the most common stereotypes of the Middle East.The workshop will result in specific activities for the classroom, as well as images to use. Dr. Sensoy's masters degree is in Middle East studies from the Univ of Washington.. She is affiliated with the Centre for the Comparative Study of Muslim Societies and Cultures at SFU, and has been conducting workshops and working with teachers,administrators, and preservice teachers on Islamophobia since 2003 in Canada and the United States.
The workshop will be facilitated by the Assistant Director of the Middle East Studies Center at the Ohio State University, M.A. in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, and doctoral candidate in Global Education, Ohio State, Melinda McClimans. The curriculum development portion will focus on images in the media. It will be hands-on, revising existing texts and creating new curriculum based on Ohio’s standards for Middle School. We will brainstorm as a group, conduct internet searches, and address the question “How do we imagine the Middle East?".

Odalisque with Slave, by Ingres, Acquired by Henry Walters, 1925, Wikimedia Commons


8:00PM Presentation about stereotypes, how they fit into a larger imperial logic when looking at the ways in which the Middle East is commonly represented.

8:15PM Brainstorm answers to the question “How do we imagine the Middle East"? What emotions do people have in pictures of the Middle East? What is their daily life like?

Write all of the answers on the white board. What patterns become apparent?


8:45 Debrief - What are the challenges for including critical perspectives in Global Content?

9:00 Revise activity from text book with additional images, research questions for students, and a media search on key social studies standards vocab words in relation to one of several lesson plans in the text books, or one of your own making.
Text books we will be referencing:

  • Zimmer, Jarrett, and Killoran, Regions and Cultures of the Eastern Hemisphere. We will analyze the activity on p. 115
  • Zimmer, Jarrett, and Killoran, “Mastering Ohio’s Grade 6 Social Studies Test."
  • Prentice Hall, Eastern Hemisphere.
  • Middle East Activities suggested by Columbus Public -

Revise the "push pull factors for migration" exercise. Problematize the notion that: Everyone has equal rights here, while the Middle East is oppressive.

Enhancement/homework: Read latest news on the Middle East and see which of these patterns of representation are informing the reporting of events.

“How have tradition and diffusion influenced modern cultural practices and products?"
Geography: Content Statement 8 “Modern cultural practices and products show the influence of tradition and diffusion, including the impact of major world religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism)."
Reading informational texts: Content statement 7 “Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually and quantitatively) as well as in words to develop coherent understanding of a topic or issue."

Source: Text Book by Zimmer, Jarrett, and Killoran, Regions and Cultures of the Eastern Hemisphere, p. 115

These activities will explore “cultural diffusion" , and dive into the meaning of “tradition". The idea of “empire", how it has evolved, and what it has meant to the religious and cultural communities of the Middle East.

Ohio Social Studies Standards Vocabulary words related to the Middle East:
6th grade: civilization; cultural region; international trade; migration; Buddhism; Christianity; Hinduism; Islam; Judaism; tradition; perspective; source; democracy; dictatorship; theocracy; produce; productive resources; supply; consumption; goods; manufactured items; production;
7th Grade: archeologist; artifact; norms; perspective; primary source; astrolabe; Christianity; governance; republic; Byzantine Empire; Turks; Islamic Civilization; Crusades; cultural change; social change; political power; Roman Catholic Church; empire; Silk Road; trans-Saharan slave trade; colonization; conquest; exploration; Buddhism; democracy; representative democracy; Magna Carta; productive resources; market.
8th Grade: perspective; primary source; secondary source; colonized; colonizing powers; economic development; Enlightenment; social; sovereign; displacement; industrial; cultural bias; prejudice; stereotype; democratic ideals; national identity; representative democracy;

Source: Text Book by Zimmer, Jarrett, and Killoran, Regions and Cultures of the Eastern Hemisphere, p. 115