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In this lesson, students will learn about a group of people and their desire to return to their homeland, many of whom have been refugees for nearly 30 years. The struggle of the Sahrawi people to claim Western Sahara introduces students to the idea that the security of home and a place to live is not something to be taken for granted. The women and children fled Western Sahara to live in Algeria in 1976. Since that time, they have struggled to organize themselves, bring education and health care to their people, and increase international awareness of their plight. In 2000, the National Union of the Sahrawi Women started a race, the Sahara Marathon, to publicize their situation and bring resources to their community. In this lesson, students will visit a series of Web sites to learn about the history of the Sahrawi people, their relationship with neighboring countries, their lives as refugees, and how these women have used their power to organize and obtain the resources they need to thrive in such a hostile environment.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/classroom/3lp2.html

Global Maghreb provides insight into this important region by highlighting several themes, such as heritage and preservation, religion and politics, music and cinema, immigration history, and the representation of North Africa in American popular culture. The variety of materials and resources presented here supports our mission to shed light on the cultures of Islam by showcasing its North African nuances and their reverberations worldwide.

http://www.international.ucla.edu/cnes/maghreb/index.asp

Algeria’s history is dotted with bloodshed. Hundreds of thousands of people have been massacred in the decade long civil war between Islamic militants and the Algerian Army. Even now unrest, militancy and kidnapping characterize the country. It’s still more or less a no-go area for western journalists. But why is Algeria so troubled? This documentary is a beautifully filmed production getting to the root of Algeria’s problems. We look back through forty years of violence to place modern day Algeria in its proper context. A high-quality look at one of the world’s forgotten conflicts.

Objectives:
Identify and apply the sociological elements of culture. Apply the elements of culture to a contemporary understanding of North Africa. Utilize scholarly research sources in order to create a reliable product.

Lesson Plan

Given current U.S. military interventions in the Arab and Muslim worlds, there are important lessons to be gained by delving into questions of women and gender in the French Empire in North Africa. First and foremost, pervasive, monolithic, and very negative portrayals of Arab or Muslim women as inherently oppressed, powerless, voiceless—as lacking any agency—are immediately challenged by the region’s recent history. In addition, the wide variations in women’s responses to imperialism—from militant action, to peaceful resistance, to obtaining a modern, French education in order to oppose the colonial order—demonstrates clearly that North African women were not passive bystanders. Moreover, students begin to perceive at the same time that invoking a monolithic, unchanging “Islam” for explaining women’s lives and social status fails to explain much, if anything. It also becomes clear how much politics, violence, and militarism in various guises dramatically influence women and gender relations not only in colonial states but also in post-colonial states. All of these lessons and insights drawn from the North African case study have wide, nearly universal applicability to other empires, whether modern European empires, or the American Empire. Finally, by choosing to narrate individual women’s life stories, and employing this strategy as the principal frame for the module, I hope to show the immense power of biography to take us into the past where we question received wisdom or unexamined assumptions—invariably about ourselves and the social universe we inhabit.

Lesson Plan

Algeria Work Book including lesson plans and ideas.

Work Book

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