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Dr. Zackery Heern

What will be covered:

These lectures introduce students to important themes related to the Middle East and Islam in the context of World History. Each lecture covers defining trends, ideas, and moments in the History of the Middle East and Islam. The format is an interactive lecture, which will include visuals, text, and plenty of time for discussion.

Islamic Contributions to Civilization: Science, Math, Literature, and Art of the Middle East

Whether we realize it or not, Islamic culture has contributed greatly to our modern lives. According to the Oxford History of Technology, "There are few major technological innovations between 500 and 1500 that do not show some traces of Islamic culture.” The great literary tradition of the Islamic world lives on in the tales of Aladdin and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, as well as the poetry of Rumi. Islamic contributions to the field of mathematics include the invention of algebra and algorithms - both of which are English words borrowed from Arabic. In the 10th century, the Muslim scholar Al-Biruni explained the lunar eclipse - 600 years before Galileo. Ibn Sina's Cannon of Medicine is possibly the most famous medical textbook in world history and was used in European universities until the 17th century - 600 years after its author died. In terms of art and music, the violin and guitar are imitations of Middle Eastern instruments and many architectural spaces in the West are still adorned with silk carpets and arabesque designs.

Islam 101: Beliefs, Practices, and History of 1.6 Billion People

After Christianity, Islam is the largest religion and global culture on the planet. However, in the United States relatively little is known about the beliefs, practices, and history of Islam, which was founded in the late 500s CE by Muhammad, whose only claim to prophethood was the Qur'an. What are the ideals laid out in the Qur'an that provided the foundation for a new civilization? One generation after Muhammad, Muslims ruled the swath of territory from Spain to India, which is often referred to as the Middle East. Today, more Muslims live east of this region than in the Middle East itself. What are the basic beliefs and practices of this global community? This lecture begins to answer these questions.

Drawing Lines on Maps: World War One and The Creation of Nation-States in the Middle East

The impact of World War One on the Middle East was tremendous! The end of the war signaled the fall of the great Ottoman Empire, which had ruled much of the Middle East and Eastern Europe for 500 years. For the first time in Islamic history, there was no Caliph. What and who would replace the empire? Much of the Middle East became directly controlled by the French and British empires, who created new states. The French territory included what is now Syria and Lebanon, and British territory included Israel, Palestine, Jordan, and Iraq. This lecture is the story of war, nationalism, imperialism, and the creation of new identities.

State Standards

These presentations meet the following state education standards for high school students:

Social Studies

Geography—Eastern Hemisphere

6-9.GEH.1.8.1 Describe major aspects of the civilizations of the Eastern Hemisphere prior to European contact.

6-9.GEH.1.8.4 Explain how and why events may be interpreted differently according to the points of view of participants and observers.

6-9.GEH.1.8.5 Describe the historical origins, central beliefs, and spread of major religions, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.

6-9.GEH.5.1.1 Discuss how social institutions, including the family, religion, and education, influence behavior in different societies in the Eastern Hemisphere.

6-9.GEH.5.1.2 Give examples of how language, literature, and the arts shaped the development and transmission of culture in the Eastern Hemisphere.


World History and Civilization

6-9.WHC.1.8.1 Find examples of how writing, art, architecture, mathematics, and science have evolved in civilizations over time.

6-9.WHC.1.9.1 Explain the relationship between religion and the peoples understanding of the natural world.

6-9.WHC.1.9.2 Explain how religion shaped the development of civilizations.

6-9.WHC.1.9.3 Discuss how religion influenced social behavior and created social order.

6-9.WHC.1.9.4 Describe why different religious beliefs were sources of conflict.

6-9.WHC.5.1.2 Explain the global consequences of major conflicts in the 20th century, such as World War I; World War II and the Holocaust; and the Cold War.