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The Middle East and Islam

04 July, 2017 13:18
The Middle East and Islam

New perspectives of Islamic History from the 16th century to the present

June 25-29, 2017 | Duke University

Workshop Report

The Duke Islamic Studies Center and Qatar Foundation International presented a summer institute for 6-12 educators.

A five-day workshop this summer designed to introduce teachers to key themes in contemporary Islamic Studies. Overviews of the Safavid and Ottoman empires and their modern counterparts in Iran and Turkey, as well as the impact of Islam in America today has been explored. Teachers engaged with scholarly texts, learned about classroom resources, and participated in experiential learning activities such as visiting a mosque. Throughout the summer institute, teachers thought about how to bring these themes into their classrooms and worked in groups or individually to develop curriculum or materials for classroom use.

The workshop was led by Dr. Omid Safi, a prominent Islamic studies scholar and director of the Duke Islamic Studies Center (DISC). During the workshop, participants explored two examples of Middle East and Islamic civilizations: the Ottomans and the Safavids. Visual images of significant Ottoman buildings (such as the Suleymaniye and Sultanahmet mosques) encouraged participants to reflect upon their cultural significance. The importance of Shi’a belief as a state religion from the Safavid era to the Islamic Republic was also covered.  The workshop also engaged with the development of contemporary Muslim societies in the United States and abroad.

Sessions with K-12 experts was integrated into the workshop to help teachers link the content learned with pedagogical practice. Working in small groups, participants began to develop a lesson plan or activity integrating workshop content. Work-time was allocated throughout the program for research and writing the draft of the lesson or classroom activity. Participants continued to work on their resource after the workshop has completed, and submitted the final draft of their curricular resource within a month following the workshop.

Source: The Duke Islamic Studies Center

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