Resources for Teachers
In July 2003, The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University (contact: Zeina Azzam Seikaly, Outreach Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org) organized an afternoon seminar on the integration of "Leo Africanus" into High-school World History courses in the United States.
This provided me with the opportunity to hear numerous teachers' insight and input on feasible and enticing ways to integrate Leo's persona, writings and world into a high school course. Here are a few pointers on how this might be done:
1. Use Amin
discussion topics, here are some examples:
2. How does the "Leo Africanus" presented on the web site differ from Amin Maalouf's fictional character? Does Maalouf settle for a specific interpretation of Leo's persona: predominantly Muslim, predominantly converted, predominantly cosmopolite and ambiguous? Use the "About Leo" section of the website to answer this question. More advanced students may want to refer to the Bibliography section and look up Davis (Princeton historian) or Zhiri's (UC Davis historian) work for thorough discussions on Leo's identity and the sources of our historical knowledge.
3. In Maalouf's depiction of Hassan/Leo, how does the latter go about discovering foreign lands and other cultures: Does he have an anthropologist's eye (documenting rituals from an outside perspective) or does he appear as a more uncritical and enthusiastic participant? Think of his interactions with the people of Timbouctou, Rome, Cairo...
4. What features
of contemporary Morocco do you find most interesting? (you can refer to
my experiences there, see About Cristel)
5. What in your opinion are the greatest merits of travel to a 'foreign' land? Can you think of effective ways to bring this experience into the classroom?
about the different ways we can talk about our experience abroad: pictures,
stories, references to books, movies, TV shows, recipes... Using the website,
compare the various ways in which Cristel talks about her time in Morocco
- which have more life? Which give you the most vivid understanding of
the country? What would you have done?