Teaching about the Arab World

After the first edition of our textbook was published in 2011, Kim Brown and I were surprised by how quickly world events required changes to some chapters. For example, when we wrote the first edition, the energy chapter had no mention of fracking. In the space of two years, fracking completely changed energy trends not only within the United States but also globally. In terms of regions, the area in which there has been the greatest change politically and socially over the last fifteen years has been the Arab World, particularly after the invasion of Iraq. The New York Times has a new article, “Fractured Lands: how the Arab World came Apart,” which represents long-form journalism at its best. The work puts the recent political turmoil in the region in a historical context, while using individuals’ stories to convey the experience of nations. It is the kind of writing that takes months of fieldwork to complete, and is all too rare in this age when print journalism is in decline.

The photographs are as beautiful as they are heartbreaking, particularly the images of refugees in Greece. This piece would be an excellent reading for students in an “Introduction to International and Global Studies” class. The Pulitzer Center has also created a set of resources for educators to use this work, which include discussion questions and exercises.

Shawn Smallman, 2016.

Countries of the Arab World by Karakizi, Wikipedia Commons
Countries of the Arab World by Karakizi, Wikipedia Commons
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