Teaching about the Middle East

List of Presentations

What is Terrorism?

Dr. James Piazza, Liberal Arts Research Professor of Political Science, Penn State
Dr. James Piazza is Liberal Arts Research Professor in the Department of Political Science at The Pennsylvania State University. He received a Ph.D. in Politics from New York University (1999), an M.A. in Middle East Studies from the University of Michigan (1994) and a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola University Chicago. His research and teaching centers on the study of terrorism, political violence and armed intrastate conflict. His published research has examined several themes including the socioeconomic roots of terrorism, minority rights and terrorism and the impact of political regime type, political stability, foreign military interventions, religion, human rights, and state repression on terrorist movements and terrorist activity. In more recent work, he has studied and blogged about U.S. public opinion about the use of extraordinary interrogation and detention of terror suspects. He has also investigated the effects of oil and the transnational narcotics trade on patterns of political violence and terrorism and was a co-investigator on a U.S. Department of Defense, Minerva Research Initiative grant on natural resources and conflict.

Presentation Description: Introduction to the phenomenon of terrorism, the context where it occurs, its causes and consequences.

(Student attendees were asked to read "Inside Terrorism" by Bruce Hoffman prior to Dr. Piazza's workshop)

Why has the Middle East become destabilized?

Christine Morris, Bellefonte Area High School Educator in World Cultures, AP Psychology, and AP European History
Christine has been teaching Social Studies in the Bellefonte Area School District for 22 years. She has designed and implemented new courses in Psychology, European History, World Cultures, and 20th century United States History in addition to teaching mini courses on several different eras. From Penn State, Mrs. Morris has earned a Bachelor’s Degree in History and a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, in addition to a Master’s degree in Psychology from North Central University.

Presentation Description: After the end of World War I and the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Middle East became destabilized as different ethnic groups began to advocate for independence.  While events that have occurred through the 20th century can be traced back to political, economic, and social changes within the region, the 21st century has brought a new sense of change with events that can be traced back to the Arab Spring.  Participants in this workshop will examine how to teach this cultural region to high school students that are enrolled in Language Arts and/or Social Studies classes.

Teaching the Middle East:  Engaging with Volatile Issues in English and Social Studies Classrooms

Emily Hicks, M.A. TESL Candidate, Center for Global Studies Graduate Assistant, Penn State

Emily is a former 7th and 8th grade ELA instructor. Emily has taught and tutored English and ESL in K-12 and university settings.

Presentation Description: This presentation discusses types of texts that language arts and social studies teachers can use in teaching about terrorism and the Middle East in their classrooms, and will share strategies teachers can use in engaging students in the difficult conversations which will result from engaging students in those texts. Participants in this session will look at examples of appropriate literature and nonfiction that teachers can use in their classrooms, and will discuss online resources for locating these materials. Participants will experience examples of strategies Emily has used to engage students in the difficult issues that can be present in literature or nonfiction, such as the issue of terrorism, and will be able to discuss how they could use those strategies in their own classrooms.

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