Graffiti "Terrorist"Courtesy of Steve Snodgrass via Flickr

Bridging a Cultural Divide with Literature about Arabs and Arab Americans

An article by Tami Craft Al-Hazza & Katherine T. Bucher, published in The Association for Middle Level Education Middle School Journal, January 2010, volume 41,no. 3, pages 4-11

From Exotic to Demonic: Images of Iranians in the US Media

This article explores the changing images of Iran in the American media.

Islamophobia: An Anatomy of An American Panic

This edition of The Nation features writings by Jack Shaheen and other scholars about Islamophobia in the US.

Stereotypes and Realities: A Collection of Articles from Teach Mideast

A collection of articles about stereotypes and realities of the Middle East

The Axis of Evil Middle East Comedy Tour (video)

Jamil Abu-Wardeh jump-started the comedy scene in the Arab world by founding the Axis of Evil Middle East Comedy Tour, which brings standup comedians to laughing audiences all over the region. He’s found that, by respecting the “three B’s” (blue material, beliefs and “bolitics”), the Axis of Evil comics find plenty of cross-border laughs.

Jason Jones: Behind the Veil (video)

A Daily Show segment with Jason Jones on Iran.

Pictures of Muslims Wearing Things (images)

Pictures of Muslims wearing things in order to breakdown stereotypes.

A Land Called Paradise (video)

This video is a nice portrayal of Islam in America.  Accompanying Power Point presentation and presentation notes.

Arab Culture through Literature and Film

Arab Culture through Literature and Film is a five unit high school curriculum that provides students with knowledge and tools to analyze and understand the Arab world. The materials utilize a student-centered pedagogical approach that promotes critical thinking and respect and encourages engaged global citizenship. Through this curriculum, students will recognize shared themes across the region and gain a sense of the rich diversity inherent to the multidimensional cultures of the Arab world. Students will study life and culture in the Arab world and engage with primary sources including films, short stories, and poems. Exposing students to Arab voices and putting human faces on the Arab world will increase understanding and tolerance in the American classroom.

psu logo edited Arabs in Hollywood

This lesson uses Jack Shaheen’s documentary, Reel Bad Arab, to explore the how Arabs have been portrayed in American cinema.

psu logo edited Being Young in Iran: Kristine Bahareh Rabii and Monica Parisa Rabii

Video footage of presentation given at Middle East Studies Center Workshop, People, Power, and Protest: Iran.  In this  presentation, PSU students Kristine and Monica Rabii talk about what it’s like to be young in Iran.  View accompanying powerpoint slides here.

Educational and Cultural Perspectives on Iran

These lesson plans provide activities and discussion questions to help students explore stereotypes and develop a framework for understanding cultural identity.  These lesson plans help students and teachers develop strategies to support multicultural students.

Exchange 2.0

This program uses new media technologies to enable deep social learning across cultures.


psu logo edited Intro to the Modern Middle East

Many American children lack a basic understanding of the Middle East. The geography, cultures and customs of the region are often based on inappropriate misconceptions perpetuated by American society and media. The purpose of this unit is to clarify and outline a basic knowledge for students to build on through their further education in a variety of subject areas. This is intended to be a very basic unit to wrap up the sixth grade units on Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt.

Islamic Extremism in the Modern World: Episode 2

In this episode, we tackle “that pesky standard” in the Texas World History course that requires students to understand the development of “radical Islamic fundamentalism and the subsequent use of terrorism by some of its adherents.” This is especially tricky for educators: how to talk about such an emotional subject without resorting to stereotypes and demonizing? Christopher Rose offers a few suggestions and some background information on how to keep the phenomenon in perspective, and how to explain what drives some to turn to violent actions in the first place.

Content developed by the University of Texas at Austin.

Middle Eastern-American Resources Online

This site provides educators, students, and professionals access to a variety of materials about Americans who trace their ancestry to the Middle East. Arabic, Armenian, Iranian, Israeli and Turkish-speaking immigrants and other smaller numeric groups from the Middle East and North Africa have settled in the United States since the late nineteenth century. Together with their descendants, they comprise a diverse and important panethnic community deserving attention and study, especially by America’s precollegiate schools and institutions of higher learning.

psu logo edited Muslim Women and Soccer

This unit explores the role of sport and its impact on society, focusing on soccer in the Middle East.  Students will consider the challenges Muslim women face playing and supporting soccer in Iran and the power of soccer to encourage tolerance and peace. Created by Claudia Werner for the Middle East Studies Center workshop, Sport in the Middle East.

Muslim Women Beyond the Stereotypes

The curriculum is composed of seven individual lesson plans, each one of which focuses on a different section of the digital presentation Muslim Women Beyond the Stereotypes. Every lesson includes detailed notes that describe each slide in the presentation. In addition to the notes, each lesson also features post-presentation analysis, comprehension and discussion questions.

Mystical Musician Healers from Morocco

Mixing video, audio, photographs and text, Gnawa Stories takes you inside the uncharted waters of this secret world, and explores the Gnawas’ commitment to connect with their traditions while adapting to a new Global Age.

Reading Political Comics

In this lesson, students will learn to recognize visual stereotyping in political cartoons and to analyze its use.

“Save the Muslim Girl!”

by Özlem Sensoy and Elizabeth Marshall

In the years since 9/11, books like The Breadwinner and Broken Moon have become staples in many English classes. But does this young adult literature about Muslim girls build understanding or reinforce stereotypes?  Rethinking Schools, Volume 24 No. 2 – Winter 2009-10

Shadya: The Arab Israeli Experience & Muslim Feminism

These lessons use the Israeli movie Shadya to explore investigate the situation of Palestinian-Arab citizens of Israel and to explore some of the ways that Muslim women are fighting for gender equality.


Shadya: The Israeli Arab Experience

During this lesson, students will investigate the situation of Palestinian-Arab citizens of Israel and how the film Shadya draws attention to a population rarely exposed in the media. Students will then use their research skills to take a deeper look at a minority group in another country and present their findings and recommendations online.  Watch the film here.

Stereotypes Lesson Plans

This article answers the question: what are some typical misperceptions and stereotypes Westerners hold about Islam and the Middle East, and vice versa?

Stereotypes: More Than Meets the Eye

In this lesson, students will develop a better understanding of the concept of stereotyping. They will think critically about images and media that portray the Middle East and its inhabitants, make determinations about the impact of the images on their perceptions, and consider ways to overcome these stereotypes.

The Arab World: Islam and Feminism in the Age of the Arab Renaissance

From the unit “Restoring Women to World Studies” from the University of Texas at Austin.

psu logo edited Vocabulary of the Middle East

In these two lessons, students create visual aids to help each other master the basic vocabulary terms associated with the Middle East.  This lesson also introduces students to the basic research (including source citation) process.  Each student will contribute one slide to a presentation of the key vocabulary terms in the next class.

psu logo edited Voices of the People

This week long teaching unit for the Language Arts classroom explores elements of the Middle East through reading and writing.  Students learn about stereotypes, the Israel-Palestinian conflict, gender and sports.  Created by Brittany Richmond for the Middle East Studies Center workshop, Sport in the Middle East.

Who Wears a Veil?

In this lesson, students will define stereotypes and learn how common misperceptions foster visual stereotypes about Muslim women. Students will identify famous women and learn about the significance of the veil in different cultures.

psu logo edited Women in Islam

This lesson plan explores stereotypes of women in Islam.  Written by Claudia Werner.