September 11: What Is Our Role?
Many of us have been struggling, personally and professionally, with the events of September 11 and its aftermath. As educators, we have powerful opportunities to explore the events with our students. The former Network of Educators on the Americas (NECA) articulated goals for teachers relating to the September 11 tragedy. These goals seem a useful departure point for the discussion of our role in addressing these troubling issues within our classrooms. As educators, we can:
- Help (students) deal with the personal and collective emotions generated by such a visible and massive tragedy;
- Prevent the racial profiling of Arabs, Arab Americans, and anyone from the Middle East or of the Muslim faith;
- Place the current events in historic and contemporary context; and
- Encourage (students) to think critically about next steps.
This collection of materials offers websites, teachers' stories, and other information to help us make choices in the classroom. It's a place to start.
Thanks to Heather Brack, Jeff Carter, Marcia Chaffee, Janet Isserlis, Michele Sedor, and Deb Snow for their suggestions.
Note: PDF documents require the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.
The Algebra of Infinite Justice
A lengthy analytical piece by Arundhati Roy which appeared in The Guardian (UK) and which provides a moderately critical overview of US
policies and practices in the Middle East over the past two decades.
Democratic Mirage in the Middle East
An intriguing eight-page PDF article from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace which examines the historical and political
nuances which may hinder a desired, swift "regime change."
first writing since
A long, powerful poem by Suheir Hammad, a Palestinian-American poet and political activist, composed over the first two-to-three
weeks following the attacks on the World Trade Center.
All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Terror in the Middle East
Stephen Kinzer. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2003.
The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity
Tariq Ali. London: Verso, 2002.
The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror
Bernard Lewis. New York: Modern Library, 2003.
Democratization and the Islamist Challenge in the Arab World
Najib Ghadbian, Michael W. Suleiman, and John P. Entelis (eds.). Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1997
The ESL Classroom: Teaching, Critical Practice, and Community Development
Brian Morgan. Toronto, Ontario: University of Toronto Press, 1998.
The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad
Fareed Zakaria. New York: Norton, 2003.
Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War
Judith Miller, Stephen Engelberg, and William Broad. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2001.
Global Disorder: America and the Threat of World Conflict
Robert Harvey. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2003.
Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama Bin Laden
Peter Bergen. New York: Free Press, 2001.
Intelligence Wars: American Secret History from Hitler to al-Qaeda
Thomas Powers. New York: New York Review Books, 2002.
The Iraq War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions
Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf. New York: Touchstone, 2003.
Legacy of the Prophet: Despots, Democrats, and the New Politics of Islam
Anthony Shadid. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2001.
Messages to Ground Zero: Children Respond to September 11th
Shelley Harwane and New York City Board of Education. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2002.
A Nation Challenged: A Visual History of 9/11 and Its Aftermath
Nancy Lee, Mitchel Levitas, and Lonnie Schlein (eds.). New York: Henry Holt, 2002.
The New Iraq: Rebuilding the Country for Its People, the Middle East, and the World
Joseph Braude. New York: Basic Books, 2003.
Of Paradise and Power: American and Europe in the New World Order
Robert Kagan. New York: Knopf, 2003.
Silencing Political Dissent: How Post-September 11 Anti-Terrorism Measures Threaten Our Civil Liberties
Nancy Chang. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2002.
Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil, and Fundamentalism in Central Asia
Ahmed Rashid. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000.
Terrorism and U.S. Foreign Policy
Paul Pillar. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2001.
Terrorism and War
Howard Zinn. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2002.
Terrorism, Asymetric Warfare, and Weapons of Mass Destruction: Defending the U.S. Homeland
Anthony Cordesman. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2001.
War in a Time of Peace
David Halberstam. New York: Scribner, 2001.
What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response
Bernard Lewis. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
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Anti-Arab, Anti-Muslim Harassment: Advice to Educators, Employers, and Community Leaders
Helping Kids Feel Secure
Integrating September 11 into the ESOL or ABE Classroom
100 Questions and Answers About Arab Americans
From the Detroit Free Press, this comprehensive resource examines
questions about the Arab world that help us move beyond stereotypes. As the
introduction states: "Misunderstanding ultimately hurts each one of us."
American Psychological Association (APA): Managing Traumatic Stress
This set of questions and answers, subtitled "Tips for Recovering From Disasters and Other Traumatic Events," provides
a clear, succinct guide to gauging one's reaction to a deeply unsettling event. The page also links to sites related to
disaster relief and emergency preparedness.
Arab British Chamber of Commerce: Arab Country Profiles
This page provides decent overviews of 22 Arab nations.
California TESOL: Lessons Related to September 11, 2001
This site includes facts about Islam, provides relevant maps, lesson plans, and
links to a variety of sites specific to classroom use.
Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL): Cultural Orientation Resource Center
The Center's Cultural Profiles, originally developed for refugee service providers and others assisting newcomers to the United States, contain basic introductions to different refugee groups and a wealth of demographic details. Many of the Cultural Profiles are free online in full-text; a few require purchase.
Center for Contemporary Arab Studies: Background Modules
This academic center at Georgetown University offers several teaching modules covering Arab cultures and Islamic religion.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC): Public Health Preparedness: Anthrax
A very thorough, down-to-earth guide to the biological structure, physical symptoms, and basic precautions pertaining to the anthrax virus.
Education World: Sept. 11: Lessons and Resources for Classroom Teachers
Although the primary audience for this page is elementary and secondary school teachers, the site has links to a
number of other sites which provide good material for higher (and adult) education programs.
Educational Development Center: Beyond Blame: Reacting to the Terrorist Attack
A mini-curriculum for middle- and high-school teachers called, "Beyond Blame: Reacting to the Terrorist Attacks." Available in English and Spanish.
ERIC Digest: Arab American Students in Public Schools
From the former ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education comes a succinct overview of some issues and strategies relevant to teachers in multicultural classrooms.
Media Literacy Clearinghouse
Compiled by journalist and educator Frank Baker, this site offers excellent links to articles, lesson plans, activities, and thought-provoking essays on decoding print and broadcast media.
Mental Health and the ESL Classroom: A Guide for Teachers Working with Refugees
Produced by the International Institute of Boston and the Immigrant and Refugee
Services of America, with support from the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
Middle Eastern Research and Information Project (MERIP)
Maintained by an excellent organization which has been in existence for 40 years, this site offers selected articles from
their quarterly publication, Middle East Report, along with recent newspaper op-eds on Middle Eastern events.
The NYC Literacy Community Responds to September 11
The Fall 2002 issue of the Literacy Harvest, the annual journal of the Literacy Assistance Center in New York, is devoted to practitioner- and learner-based reflections on the infamous day. The special issue is online as a 44-page PDF version.
Public Broadcasting System (PBS): America Responds: Classroom Resources
Besides a dozen or so lesson plans, this site offers links to other resources for educators, parents, and caregivers.
Rethinking Schools: War, Terrorism and Our Classrooms
From the excellent, progressive, quarterly publication, Rethinking Schools, comes a collection of thought-provoking essays and lessons.
Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan
A glimpse of the relentlessly oppressive, violence-laden conditions faced by women in Afghanistan and of the struggle
undertaken by women to change these conditions. CAUTION: Some of the photos of atrocities on this site are rather graphic and may be disturbing to viewers.
The September 11 Digital Archive
Jointly organized by CUNY and George Mason University, this site holds a vast collection of articles, documents,
e-mail messages, photos, videos, and Web site links.
A project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, this site offers a number of questions and sections meant
to foster discussion around issues of cross-cultural diversity, history, and communication.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
First composed and approved by the United Nations in 1948, this document outlines a truly humanistic approach to national governance and social policy.
Women Make Movies
WMM is a producer and distributor of engaging independent films. To see titles related
to September 11, visit their online catalog and seek out the subject headings: Arab, Islam, Middle East, Terrorism, War.
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