Saturday, January 11, 2020

Iranian Cultural Sites Activity

Here's a link to a web activity I created to review Iranian cultural sites.

After the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, the high ranking Iranian general, President Trump tweeted that he might bomb 52 Iranian cultural sites if the country escalated the violence with the United States.
Students use this Religious News Service essay about six important Iranian cultural sites to complete a chart with an image and a summary of each site.

Next, students researched specific sites such as the magnificent Iman Reza Holy Shrine and listened to Professor Omid Safi explain the importance of some Iranian cultural sites not only to Iran but to humanity in this PBS WUNC radio broadcast. Professor Safi's section starts about 19 minutes into the broadcast.

Finally, students looked at the provision of the 1954 Hague Convention about the protection of cultural sites and determined whether any of the Iranian sites in the chart are protected.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Mughal & Muslim Art Analyzed: Shangri La Center for Islamic Art

Here is a terrific Islamic art collection, some of which you can see online, and some of which you can see explained by scholars.

It's all part of The Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art at Shangri La in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Doris Duke was the heiress of a tobacco tycoon and traveled throughout the world.

But it was her travels to Egypt, Jordan, and India in 1935 where she developed an appreciation and love for Muslim art.

Over the next 50 years, she built a large collection of Muslim art, especially with floral motifs. She even commissioned a bedroom designed with a Mughal motif.

The best part of the collection is the scholar's favorites. Here, various resident scholars analyze various pieces of art.

For example,  Dr. Amanda Phillips, Fellow at the Institute of Iranian Studies at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, explains how a velvet panel made in Bursa used silk from Iran and dyes harvested from oak trees.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, artists were using dyes from tiny parasitic insects imported from Mexico called cochineals.

One of the online exhibits allows you to view differences in tile work in Ilkanid Iran, Ottoman Turkey and Syria, and Pahlavi Iran.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Why do Iran & the U.S. Hate Each Other?

Students cannot understand the current crisis between the United States and Iran without understanding the history that brought the two countries to the precipice where they are today.

That history begins with the assassination of Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953. Mosaddegh was elected Prime Minister in 1951 and began to nationalize the country's oil industry.  Britain and the United States overthrew Mosaddegh in 1953 and installed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi as the new leader. The shah ruled Iran from 1941 until 1979 when he was driven from power and into exile by a massive revolution.

Here is an awesome  7 minute summary of the U.S. and Iranian relations from Dr. Charles Kurzman of the University of North Carolina along with a student and teacher guide.

The podcast, Throughline, has an engaging episode about the assassination of Masaddegh.

Vox has a good short video summary of the relationship between the U.S. and Iran below.
Here is a  link to an excellent powerpoint about the Middle East along with presentation notes from Lisa Adeli from the University of Arizona.

Frontline explains the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia in an episode called "Bitter Rivals."

And the New York Times has a good story about the tension between the two countries called The Tension Between America and Iran, Explained.  It examines more recent issues between the two countries such as Iran's warning to close the Persian Gulf to shipping traffic in the1980's.

The Shah was overthrown in 1979 and Ayatollah Khomeini, a religious leader in exile, came to power. During the revolution, Iranians overtook the American embassy and held American captives for almost a year. Al Jazeera has a good 45-minute review of the revolution below. And Crash Course also has a good short overview.


Compilation of News Stories & Essays about Assassination of Qasem Suleimani

Here is a compilation of news stories and opinion pieces about the Trump Administration's assassination of the Iranian general, Qassim Suleimani.

The assassination of Suleilmani was in response to the Iranian killing of an American contractor when 30 unguided rockets hit an American military base near Kirkuk in Iraq.

Suleiman was Iran's most high-ranking general and had the ear of Iran's supreme leader. He was also the architect of Iran's grand strategy to expand his country's influence throughout the Middle East.

New York Times: Suleimani’s Death Changes Nothing for Iran
He was an important figure. But the Islamic Republic won’t lose influence in the region.

New York Times: Qassim Suleimani’s Killing Will Unleash Chaos
Revenge is not a strategy.

The Guardian: Donald Trump’s assassination of Qassem Suleimani will come back to haunt him,

Washington Post: How did the U.S. get to the brink of war with Iran?  The assassination of Soleimani will provoke Iran to act.

Respobnsib le Statecraft: Trump Lit a Fire by Exiting the Iran Deal & Poured Gasoline on it by Assassinating Soleimani 

International Crisis Group: A Perilous Turning Point in the U.S.-Iran Confrontation 

AL Monitor: Soleimani’s assassination unites Iranians

CS Monitor: Why US assassination of Soleimani is unlikely to deter Iran

Foreign Affairs: Will Iran’s Response to the Soleimani Strike Lead to War?

New Statesman: The killing of Qasem Soleimani shows America has not learned from the Iraq war

Columbia: Center on Global Policy: Geopolitical and Energy Implications of Qasem Soleimani's Death 

Politico: Crisis in Iran will drive wedge between Europe and WashingtonEurope’s worst predictions are becoming reality.

The Week: America is guilty of everything we accuse Iran of doing

New York Times: Iranians in Los Angeles Shed Few Tears for Suleimani. But What Comes Next? 

New Yorker: The Dangers Posed by the Killing of Qassem Suleimanin

New York Times: As Tensions With Iran Escalated, Trump Opted for Most Extreme Measure

Atlantic Magazine: Qassem Soleimani Haunted the Arab World

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Hiroshima & Nagasaki: Did we do the Right Thing?

National Archives
National Archives
Seventy-two years, the United States dropped two atomic bombs, one on Hiroshima and one on Nagasaki three days later.

Why did the United States drop the bomb? Why did they drop the bombs in early August and why did they hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

British historian Gill Bennet attempts to answer these questions in a blog post for the British government website in an essay called "What’s the Context? 6 August 1945: an atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima."

But was dropping the atomic bomb the right thing to do? Were there alternatives?

That's what historian Alex Wellerstein considers in a post for Restricted Data: The Nuclear Secrecy Blog.

Students might debate the merits of the two narratives.

Here are other resources about the  wisdom of dropping the atomic bomb to end the war with Japan in 1945.


Wednesday, January 1, 2020

A Hollywood Schindler's List during WWII

Here's a fascinating story about heroism during the Holocaust in the 1940s students might read.

Most everyone knows Oskar Schindler, thanks to the book and the movie, Schindler's List. The German businessman saved over 1100 Jews from certain death in the Nazi concentration camps.

Fewer people know the Hollywood mogul, Carl Laemmle, who is credited with saving over 300 Jews during World War II. That is remarkable because Laemmle is probably the only Hollywood mogul to even get involved with the German Jews. Laemmle was the president of Universal Pictures.

According to this excellent story in the New York Times called "Laemmle’s List: A Mogul’s Heroism," Neal Gabler explains that most Hollywood Jews were just trying to fit in. He notes, "almost from the inception of the American film industry, the Hollywood Jews were dedicated to assimilation, not a religious celebration. They had come to America to escape their roots, not embrace them."

Laemmle, like Schindler, was different from his peers. Gabler says that he "was terrified of what Hitler’s ascension would mean for his country, for the village of Laupheim (where he was born), for members of his family — many of whom had remained in Germany — and, perhaps above all, for his fellow Jew."

That concern prompted him to risk his fortune to save as many Jews from his hometown as he could. He furnished the American consul with hundred of affidavits, which "were pledges of support that were required of every immigrant to ensure that the individual would not become a public charge."

The story is fascinating, like Schindler's, with twists and turns.

Gabler notes two recent books about Hollywood during World War II say very little about Laemmle. “The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact With Hitler” by Ben Urwand and “Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939” by Thomas Doherty both deal with the complicity of Hollywood with Nazi Germany.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Industrial Revolution: Video Review

Studying the Industrial Revolution?  Do you need a good video review? If so, check out this 7-minute clip from the CUNY School of Professional Studies called"The Making of Industrial Society, Part 1.

The host is not Steve Heimler or John Greene but he's still pretty good. Part 1 reviews the development of the industrial revolution and Part 2 examines Marxism and capitalism.




Sunday, December 22, 2019

Kashmir and India's Religious Citizenship Test: Resources


Two issues: Kashmir and India's religious citizenship test

Here are some interesting links to news stories and essays that break down India's move to the right under Narendra Modi and his attempt to make India a Hindu country at the expense of Muslims.

There are close to 200 million Muslims in India, more than in Pakistan.  The Muslim presence in India is a result of the Mughal invasion of northern India in the 1500s. The Mughals were one of three so-called gunpowder empires who came to power during that time. The Ottomans conquered the Byzantine Empire in modern-day Turkey and the Safavids conquered much of modern-day Iran.

In India, The Mughals ruled until the British took power away from them in the 18th century.  Today, the Modi government wants to erase all memory of the Mughals, even street names from the Mughal era. You can read about the origins of this move to the right in Ohio State's history magazine, Origins. 

In addition, The Modi government recently allowed Hindu citizens in northern India to destroy the Muslim holy site of Ayodhya, because it was the birthplace of the famous Hindu god, Ram. The BBC has a good story about that verdict.

The Modi government also recently introduced a citizenship test based on religion.  Both The Week and the New Yorker have stories about this test, which essentially will make Muslims second-class citizens.

Modis' government turned two Muslim states in northern India,  Kashmir and Assam, into concentration camps. Kashmir has long been a disputed state between India and Pakistan.  But in October India divided the state into two  Federal territories and immediately began to tighten control over the state.  Authorities turned off the internet and refused to allow reporters into the state. You can read about Kashmir in this excellent essay by Dexter Filkins for the New Yorker.

And in Assam,  Foreign Policy notes that Muslims have become stateless citizens.

You can find all the links below, as well a couple of video clips, one from the PBS NewsHour  and another from Al Jazeera,  reviewing the religious citizenship test

The Week: India is laying the groundwork for a mass faith-cleansing,

Al. Jazeera, What you should know about India's 'anti-Muslim' citizenship law

New Yorker, Blood and Soil in Narendra Modi’s India

Al Jazeera: What the Zaira Wasim controversy reveals about contemporary India

New Yorker: The Violent Toll of Hindu Nationalism in India,

BBC News: Ayodhya verdict: Indian top court gives holy site to Hindus,

New York Times: India Takes Step Toward Blocking Naturalization for Muslims,

New York Times: India Adopts the Tactic of Authoritarians: Shutting Down the Internet

New Yorker: India’s Citizenship Emergency

New York Times: As Modi Pushes Hindu Agenda, a Secular India Fights Back

Foreign Policy: All Are Stateless. Some Are Hopeless: Hindus left stateless in Assam think Modi will save them. Muslims fear the worst.

NDTV: India's 1st Illegal Immigrant Detention Camp Size Of 7 Football Fields

Washington Post: India’s Muslims and activists face mass arrests, beatings amid citizenship-law unrest

New York Times: We Are Witnessing a Rediscovery of India’s Republic

Monday, December 16, 2019

What is Nationalism

New York Times reporter, Max Fisher, reviews the history of nationalism in this short five-minute clip called "How Nations Make up National Identity."

Fisher argues that the idea of national identity came about because of four big changes--urbanization, mass communication, total war, and the decline of the church.

This clip might work as we begin to study nationalism and the unification of Germany and Italy.


Sunday, December 15, 2019

Impact of China's One Child Policy

I just finished an all-day PD with the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia. Eric Fish, the author of China's Millennials, discussed his book with us and shared two cool current essays about modern China.

One essay from the South China Morning Post discusses the consequences of the one-child law instituted in 1975. Another article looks at how the policy has skewed the sex ratio
And an essay from Time Magazine examines the threat posed by China's aging population. Both essays might be great for the modern unit. Students might analyze population graphs over time and figure out which policies might have affected the population trends.

Finally, filmmaker Wang Nanfu uncovers the untold history of China’s One-Child policy and the generations impacted in a documentary called "One Child Nation," which you can watch on Amazon Prime here. It won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.

Muslim Detention Camps in China: Resources

Here are resources for teaching about the Muslims camps in China.

Vox offers a good 9-minute overview of the camps below.  Facing History has a lesson in which students read personal accounts of Uighurs in the internment camps in Xinjiang Province.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists published a leak of highly classified Chinese government documents from the camps.   And the New York Times published a terrific story highlighting the important takeaways from the documents.

Here's an awesome comic book from Note about "missing" Uighur woman (thanks to Jeremy Green for posting the link). The Washington Post has a story about her (Mihrigul Tursunand the comic book called "Japanese manga about a Uighur woman’s persecution in China becomes viral hit." In addition,  you can read her testimony before Congress in November and see a short video of her testimony.  She did another interview with Radio Freee Asia here.

Another testimonial from the camps comes from Ferkat Jawdat,  a Uighur who is an American citizen and lives in Virginia. His mother is in a detention camp in Xinjiang. He appeared on the Micahel Barbaro show on December 9th. You can listen to it here.







Saturday, November 16, 2019

Zoroastrianism: Resources

Here are a few interesting resources for studying Zoroastrianism.  They include several news stories including a couple that came out after the release of the movie, Bohemian Raphsodie, about Freddie Mercury. His parents were Zoroastrian.

And here are are a couple of short clips that review the history of Zoroastrianism.


Sunday, November 3, 2019

Global Silver Trade: Resources

Here are several great resources about the global silver trade and the development of Potosi. 

I particularly like the episode from 15-minute History and the story from Aeon by Kris Lane about Potosi. 

Kahn Academy, Spain, Portugal, and the creation of a global economy

15 Minute History, The Trans-Pacific Silver Trade and Early-Modern Globalization

A short video lecture from  Ursula Kampmann about the impact of the silver trade.

Untold History Potosi, The Silver El Dorado Documentary, below
Story of cities #6: how silver turned Potosí into 'the first city of capitalism'

From Aeon, The first global city

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Awesome Interactive Map: Sites of Encounter in the Medieval World

Here's a great interactive map of the "medieval world" from the California History-Social Science Project. 

On the "sites of encounter" map, you can click on specific cities like Cairo or  Calicut and read a pop- description of city,
Another map shows Afro-Eurasian trade circles. Click on a circle and a description of it opens.