Teaching Teaching the Modern History of Islam and the Islamic World

AHA Session 230
Saturday, January 7, 2017: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Mile High Ballroom 3B (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)
Dale Stahl, University of Colorado Denver
Aimee Genell, University of California, Berkeley
Noah Haiduc-Dale, Centenary University
Manser Kierstead, University of Colorado Denver
John Willis, University of Colorado at Boulder

Session Abstract

This roundtable will discuss the methods, strategies, and challenges faced by instructors when teaching about the modern history of Islam and the Islamic World. The panelists have approached this subject in multiple ways, such as in standalone classes or as part of world history courses, and with various foci, including political Islam, Islamic thought, and social and political history. Moreover, the panelists have experience in teaching about Islam and the Islamic World in multiple venues, including high schools, liberal arts colleges, and research universities. The central aim of the roundtable is to introduce perspectives on several key topics related to the teaching of Islam and Islamic history, with the further aim of generating a broader discussion among participants. Speakers, and then attendees, will be invited to give a brief statement about their experience teaching these histories. Presenters will then address two broad themes. First, panelists will consider conceptual, temporal, and pragmatic definitions and boundaries. Second, presenters will discuss theoretical and pedagogical concerns. Relating to the first theme, speakers will review some of the problems of defining a course on the “modern history” of “Islam” and the “Islamic World” (all indefinite terms) and the challenges of framing the topic. Discussion will also include how to integrate Islam and the Islamic World into a broader world history course. Relating to the second theme, panelists will consider the challenges of introducing a politically-charged subject in college and high school classrooms. What are some ways to approach controversial subjects in a social studies curriculum? What has the conjunction of military interventionism and the rise of the neoliberal university produced in relation to pedagogy? The session will then turn to an open discussion among all participants. The group as a whole may discuss the above topics or consider others, including how best to treat specific contentious topics (gender, terrorism, jihad, etc.); the importance of diversity and considerations of positionality; useful texts, assignments and projects for students; and so forth.
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