Website brings Middle East close to home

U. CHICAGO (US) — A new online resource explores the history and the culture of the Middle East, from prehistory to 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,” says Gil Stein, director of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago.

Teaching the Middle East “provides an invaluable tool for secondary school teachers as well as college faculty to develop courses and curricula about this crucial region,” Stein says.

The essays on the Website are written by some of the world’s leading experts on the Middle East—they present clear, well-written overviews of the most important topics that will be of use to teachers throughout the country.”

The resource is divided into modules and designed as supporting material for teaching classes in world history. In addition to essays, the resource also has lesson plans and guiding questions created by high school teachers, and additional resources including photo banks, maps, and interactive items.

“We got the idea about six years ago as high school social studies teachers were telling us that there just wasn’t anything available in one place on the Internet to teach the history of the Middle East,” says Wendy Ennes, associate head of public education.

“What was out there was fragmentary and seemed to be written from a particular point of view. We wanted to create an online resource that would be comprehensive and also objective.”

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