[R6299] Let’s Put It All Together!: Pedagogical Fluency in the Middle East Studies Classroom after 2020

Created by Victoria Hightower
Wednesday, 12/01/21 2:00 pm


Even before the outbreak of Covid, many scholars of Middle East Studies questioned their role in the classroom. Since the 1970s, our field has been self-consciously reflective and a 2017 Maydan survey of Middle East Scholars reveals a growing recognition of cultural and political plurality than just a generation earlier. The recent investment in Middle East Studies pedagogy provides instructors with a growing body of important literature that not only focuses on the content, but also on the form, narratives, and structures of the field. The Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative and Omnia El Shakry’s recently edited work on Understanding and Teaching the Middle East are two great examples.

The rise of powerful liberal and conservative social movements around the world has brought, once again, into focus the questions of equity, representation, and the power of narratives. As scholars, we generally realize that there is always more to be incorporated, new ideas to be assimilated, and new perspectives to be explored. Yet as our field becomes more attuned to how we teach the Middle East, the shift to online, hybrid, and hyflex modes of instruction forced every scholar who teaches to reconsider our teaching styles, delivery styles, content, and the legal landscape in which we find ourselves. We also need to consider the intended and unintended consequences of this shift.

This panel will explore methods and purposes of moving classes between face-to-face and online from pedagogical, technological, practical, and theoretical perspectives. It aims to engage the audience in a workshop format, bringing the audience in to brainstorm the answers to the following questions:

1)What was your instructional mode? (How) Did you shift online in Spring 2020 and then (how) did you cope with the modes that proliferated in the subsequent semesters?
2)What were the constraints and opportunities you identified?
3)What worked for engagement? What did not?
4)How did you incorporate new ideas or perspectives into your classroom for upper and lower division courses? (How) did it change graduate instruction?
5)How can we mobilize our experiences in the earlier moments of crisis to help us find ways through our current challenges to make the classroom more inclusive and representative while avoiding Orientalist tendencies and countering the stereotypes our students bring with them into the classroom?

This roundtable is submitted with the sponsorship of Committee for Undergraduate Middle East Studies (CUMES).


Organized under the auspices of the Committee for Undergraduate Middle East Studies (CUMES)


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Sean Foley

(Middle Tennessee State University)
Dr. Sean Foley is a Professor of History at Middle Tennessee State University (USA). He specializes in the Middle East and religious and political trends in the broader Islamic world. Previously, he taught at Georgetown University, where he earned an...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Victoria Hightower

(University of North Georgia)
Victoria Penziner Hightower is an Associate Professor of History at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega, GA. She holds two Master's degrees in History (Florida State University, 2004) and in Near Eastern Studies (University of Arizona, 2006)...
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Kristi N. Barnwell

(University of Illinois at Springfield)
Dr. Barnwell received her Ph.D. in history from The University of Texas at Austin in 2011. She is an Associate Professor of history at The University of Illinois, Springfield where she teaches courses in history methods and history of the Modern Middle...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Farah Al-Nakib

(Cal Poly)
Farah Al-Nakib is Assistant Professor of History at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Until 2018, she was Associate Professor of History and Director of the Center for Gulf Studies at the American University of Kuwait. Al-Nakib...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Pheroze Unwalla

(University of British Columbia)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

James Worrall

(University of Leeds)
Dr James Worrall, is Associate Professor in International Relations and Middle East Studies, in the School of Politics and International Studies at the University of Leeds, UK. His research interests lie in the broad fields of Comparative Politics,...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;