Classroom Connections

For each learning module, high school educators have created two lesson plans with guiding questions for student research and classroom discussion.

The Middle East as Seen Through Foreign Eyes

Antiquity to the Nineteenth Century »  Module Overview

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Lesson Plans & Guiding Questions

Imaging the Near East: Examining Historic Images in a Modern Context

In peer groups, students will examine several samples from the image bank to compare historic representation of European (and American) cultural consciousness of Near Eastern antiquity and Middle Eastern society.

For Grade Level(s):  11–12 Honors/AP

Time Needed:  One to three days


1. What does this image say about the individuals or groups being depicted? Is it a positive or negative representation?

2. What does this image say about the artist’s culture?

3. From a modern, 21st Century perspective, is it a positive or negative representation? Why?

Modern media: bridging the gap to the past

This lesson addresses Stopler’s concern that the relationships between the Middle East and Europe are seldom still, or fixed, and that “no where is this clearer than in transmission, loss, and rediscovery of knowledge about the remote antiquity of the Middle East.” In part this transitory relationship is based on the shifting sands of historic political and/or ideological agendas. In a modern context, bias is often transmitted via editorial selection and at worst outright misinformation. This lesson uses Stopler’s historic analysis to address modern bias in online media. 

Students will learn how the story of Near East antiquity has been influenced by the outsiders who, peering in, tell it through the soft bias of their own culture and cultural perceptions of the Middle East. Modern students are subject to the same soft influences that affected the historical record and this lesson seeks to help students develop greater savvy in identifying biased sources.

For Grade Level(s):  11–12th Honors/Regular

Time Needed:  Two to three days


1. Whose antiquity is Near Eastern antiquity?

2. How do we view the Middle East now?

3. In our analysis of perceptions of the Middle East, what resources seem most reliable?

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