Escaping from Sunday School: Teaching ‘the Middle East’ in the setting of religion

The article argues that, in the teaching of religion at undergraduate level, many students approach understanding the historical or contemporary Middle East in ways that are coloured by what they think is biblical knowledge or basic Christian beliefs. This is less noticeable for students in disciplines such as history or politics. Many history or politics courses that address issues related to the Middle East use Edward Said′s Orientalism to interpret scholarship and attitudes prevalent in the West. I argue that this represents a valid starting point for religion students too, whether dealing with contemporary or historical issues, but the approach often used in other disciplines to teach Said’s work may require rethinking when teaching religion students.
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DOI 10.1177/1474022211408552
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