Images of the Orient: Nineteenth-Century European Travelers to Muslim Lands. A Unit of Study for Grades 9-12

Author: Douglass, Susan L.

Source: ERIC Education Resource Information Center

This teaching unit represents a specific “dramatic moment” in history that can allow students to delve into the deeper meanings of selected landmark events and explore their wider context in the great historical narrative. Studying a crucial turning point in history helps students realize that history is an ongoing, open-ended process, and that the decisions made today create the conditions of tomorrow’s history. This unit focuses on travelers who visited Muslim regions of Asia and Africa during the 19th century. Each lesson in the unit covers a different type of traveler’s experience, including explorers, pilgrims, tourists, archaeologists, artists, colonial officials and their families, journalists, photographers, and literary figures, whose expressions range from travel narratives to scientific writings, letters, dispatches, poems, paintings, maps, and photographs. By using this approach, the student becomes aware that choices are made by real human beings and that these decisions are the result of specific factors. Within the unit are teacher background materials and lesson plans with student resources. The unit is designed as a supplement to the customary course materials. The various lessons are written for different grade levels, and they can usually be adapted to a slightly higher or lower level. Lesson plans include a variety of ideas and approaches for the teacher that can be lengthened or shortened. Student resources accompany the lesson plans and contain primary source documents, handouts, student background materials, and a 23-item annotated bibliography.

Images of the Orient: Nineteenth-Century European Travelers to Muslim Lands