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Lesson Plans

World Religions: Islam, the Quran, and the hijab

We learn through media and our personal relationships that veiling is associated with Islam. However, it can be unclear to many non-Muslim students (and perhaps even to Muslim students) exactly why some Muslims veil, why some do not, and how their religious beliefs shape these decisions. This lesson gives students an introduction to Quranic passages and gives them a chance to understand how veiling is discussed in this sacred text.

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Political Cartoons: Differing Perspectives on Veiling and the Ban on the Burqa

Political cartoons are an excellent vehicle for exploring different perspectives on veiling and the ban on the burqa (the most conservative type of veiling) which has been implemented in some European societies since 2010, including France and Belgium. In this lesson, students are invited to explore some of the reasons behind laws on religious dress in some Muslim-minority societies as well as the multiple opinions surrounding these laws. They will analyze comics in order to question particular points of view and begin to develop their own opinions about veiling.

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Veiling in Film

For what reasons does one practice veiling?  How have these reasons changed, adapted and evolved over time within different regions and cultures? In Muslim-minority societies, what are some of the benefits or disadvantages of veiling? Students can explore these questions as well as others through the lens of film in this lesson. Also, students have a chance to delve into questions of voice and context when deciding how to treat information that is put in front of them.

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World Regions: A Focus on France: Muslim Citizenry in France and a Comparison of Laws on Religious Dress in France, Turkey, and Uzbekistan

This lesson offers an introduction to French ideals of assimilation and secularism, and also provides a comparative view of laws between France, Turkey and Uzbekistan. Students work with newspaper articles to glean information regarding how France views the practice of veiling and people who veil and how citizenry is conceived. This is an interesting view into some of the challenges faced by Muslim immigrants living in a Muslim minority society.

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Representations of Veiling in Art  

Students are invited to explore veiling in art produced over the last couple of centuries- in Orientalist paintings and photographs during colonial times up through contemporary treatment of veiling in art by both Muslim and non-Muslim artists. Students learn about how to read paintings and photographs and learn also what art tells us about the artist, the community/viewer of the time. This exercise will ultimately help to clarify the students’ own perspectives about veiling.

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Alloula, Malek. The Colonial Harem. Manchester University Press: ND, 1987.

Archer, Isabella. “(Re)Envisioning Orientalist North Africa: Exploring Representations of Maghrebian Identities in Oriental and Occidental Art, Museums, and Markets. Intersections online, Fall 2010.

Bailey, David A. and Gilane Tawadros. Veil: Veiling, Representation, and Contemporary Art. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003.

Essaydi, Lalla. Converging Territories: Essay and Interview with Amanda Carlson. New York, NY: PowerHouse Books, 2005.

Estrin, James. “Unwilling Subjects in the Algerian War.” The New York Times (online). 14 May 2010.

Penn, Irving. Worlds in a Small Room. New York: Grossman, 1975.

From Delacroix to Kandinsky: Orientalism in Europe: The Exhibition.


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