Students in high schools and colleges around the country can get a much richer look at the history and culture of the Middle East through a new online resource, “Teaching the Middle East,” which includes articles written by University of Chicago faculty on topics ranging from prehistory through the development of modern states.
“It has never been more important for Americans to understand the Middle East, and the ways that its history and religions have shaped — and continue to shape — the modern world,” said Gil Stein, director of the Oriental Institute.
The Oriental Institute developed the site in collaboration with the University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies and its eCUIP Digital Library Project, as a result of a $200,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The resource is divided into modules and designed as supporting material for teaching classes in world history, said Wendy Ennes, Associate Head of Public Education and the Project Manager for the Oriental Institute, who helped prepare the site. In addition to essays by University faculty members, the resource also has lesson plans and guiding questions created by Chicago-area high school teachers.
Lauren Wangerin [a teacher, formerly at the Latin School in Chicago] wanted visual material for her students and also liked being able to connect them with original sources.
“Students tend to be trusting of the Web, and there is quite a bit out there of various degrees of reliability. You could send them to do research on a cylinder seal, for instance, and they could come up with a wide variety of entries. I think it’s important to have someplace on the Web that is reliable,” said Wangerin, who is now a graduate student in medieval history at the University of Wisconsin.
Direct to “Teaching the Middle East”