MENAS 591 - Interdisciplinary Middle East Topics Seminar
Section: 002 Place Out of Time
Term: FA 2009
Subject: Middle Eastern and North African Studies (MENAS)
Department: LSA II: Middle Eastern and North African Studies
Credits:
3
Consent:
With permission of department.
Advisory Prerequisites:
Upperclass standing; concentration in MENAS, NES or other fields with main interest in Middle Eastern Studies.
Repeatability:
May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:
Instructor:

Overview
This seminar revolves around Place Out Of Time (POOT), a web-based character-playing simulation involving college, high school, and middle school students. You will have a dual role in the simulation: you will play a character yourself, and you will also act as a project leader and mentor to the younger participants.

POOT is run in cooperation with the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies and the School of Education at UM-Flint. The core of the simulation is anchored in the years 711 through 1492 and the cultures in and around what was known as Muslim Spain, or “al-andalus.” However, the simulation draws from all periods of history and all world cultures. The simulation revolves around a trial - different each time the simulation is run -- based on events and people from history. (Our trial this term will focus on the Austrian law that forbids the denial or the down-playing of the significance of the Holocaust, and takes up the story of Englishman David Irving, whose conviction under the “Verbotsgesetz” law was just upheld under appeal). While the details are everchanging, timeless and universal themes, such as "identity," "freedom," and "security," are the backdrop for POOT.

This class is different because you are responsible not just for your own learning, but for the learning of younger peers who are depending on you. In order to fulfill that responsibility, though, you will (collectively) need to understand and articulate a variety of cultural and historical perspectives, as filtered through the personalities that appear in the simulation. We have chosen to utilize character-playing simulation for two reasons. First, we see great value in character playing as an exercise of the imagination. Being forced to “walk in the shoes” of another, and to consider the ideas and the perspective of someone from another time or place, can be a powerful catalyst to learning. Secondly, both you and the student participants will be asked to do this character playing in a taskoriented way. Mentors and students will learn about their character’s lives, their points of view, and the societal contexts in which their characters lived. You will then be presented with a contemporary problem, which you will consider from the perspective of your character. The idea is to help the students to construct a bridge between historical times and the present day, to gain a heightened appreciation for other worldviews, and to wrestle with some (hopefully) interesting questions in a way that will deepen our learning about history…and about ourselves.

It is often said that the best way to learn something is to teach it. To that, one might add that the next best way to learn something is to play a game with it. This class tries to combine both of those methods.

MENAS 591 - Interdisciplinary Middle East Topics Seminar
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
P
27225
Closed
0
 
-
W 10:00AM - 1:00PM
Note: This class is held in the Prechter Lab at the School of Education. Email cmenas@umich.edu for permission to register.
002 (SEM)
P
30099
Closed
0
 
1
M 9:00AM - 12:00PM
Note: This class is held in the Prechter Lab at the School of Education. Email cmenas@umich.edu for permission to register.
004 (SEM)
P
38781
Open
7
 
-
M 1:00PM - 4:00PM
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