This module was made possible through the generosity of the Qatar Foundation International.
During 2010 and 2011 a series of uprisings across the Middle East were collectively referred to as the “Arab Spring.” The events both individually and collectively drew comparisons to previous events in world history. References to the American, French, and Haitian revolutions, as well as the 1848 Revolutions, Prague Spring, Iranian Revolution and series of anti-Soviet revolts in the late 1980’s all sought to provide context and clarity to what was happening.
But the Arab Spring was different from those precedents rendering each comparison inadequate as historical isomorphs. First, the Arab Spring didn’t happen solely within the Western tradition nor in a single nation. Second, the Arab Spring was a 21st Century phenomenon happening during an unprecedented level of inter-connectedness fueled by contemporary globalization. Lastly, the United States in 2010-2011, unlike previous eras, was a geo-politcal hegemon.
In his work America’s War for the Greater Middle East, scholar Andrew Bacevich argues that the Arab Spring was disruptive to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. “the longstanding U.S. practice of paying lip service to democracy while accommodating autocratic monarchs and presidents-for-life appeared increasingly untenable. The costs associated with hypocrisy were rising.” The resources in this module help students and teachers make meaning of the complexity regarding the U.S’s relationship to the Arab Spring. Furthermore, the Arab Spring itself takes center stage allowing students to flesh out the nexus of themes of this module – Globalization, Democracy, and International Relations.
1- To what extent should nations support revolutions motivated by or for democratic principles?
2- In what ways has globalization (economic, cultural, or political) impacted how revolutions/change occurs?
3- How long should it take for a nation to establish a democracy and what factors impact that length?
4- To what extent should the process and systems of globalization promote these topics: democracy, human rights, and capitalism?
- Activity A: In response to essential question #2, students engage in a group jigsaw activity using selected resources from this module (and others as you see fit).
- Hook: Prepare students to discuss EQ #2 by viewing the following video: https://www.ted.com/talks/dalia_mogahed_the_attitudes_that_sparked_arab_spring
- Resources Each group will explore primary sources discussing the revolutions in the Middle East. As they investigate, they should complete their graphic organizers (see below) and should be prepared to teach their fellow students about their findings. Please choose 3 of the following.
- Graphic Organizer: https://goo.gl/zX9Mc2 — Feel free to download and modify.
*This activity was developed by teacher contributor, Andrew Mills.
- Activity B: In response to essential question #4, select one topic (democracy, human rights, or capitalism) as your focus for your digital timeline. Your timeline will highlight events that support your topic’s response to how globalization promoted its development.
- Create a digital timeline using Sutori (www.sutori.com) or another similar digital tool.
- Include the following resources provided in this module:
- 1-2 Video Clips
- 5-6 Images
- 4 Quotes
- 2 Maps
Features: Your timeline should have 12-15 items on it. At the end compose a thesis statement in response to the essential question, based on what you compiled in your timeline.
*This activity was developed by teacher contributor, Samantha Reynolds Baranyk.
- Scholar Screencast, by Dr. Peter Mandaville
- Recording: 15 Minutes
- “Our television screens in late 2010 and early 2011 were filled with images of ordinary citizens coming out in countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Yemen…pouring out into the streets to demand change for their countries. And everything seemed hopeful… For many people these events seemed to come out of nowhere. They seemed almost to be spontaneous. But in fact there was a much larger story going on here.”
- C3 Inquiry Lesson
- Secondary Sources/Informational Texts
- Demystifying the Arab Spring: Parsing the Differences between Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya (2011)
- TED Talk, A Historic Moment in the Arab World, 17 minutes (2011).
- Foreign Affairs “Will Oil Drown the Arab Spring? Democracy and the Resource Curse?” (2011)
- TED Talk, Revolution 2.0, 9 minutes (2011)
- World Politics Review, “World Citizen: Globalization Fuels the Arab Uprising” (2011)
- The Guardian Podcast “Reviewing the Arab Spring” 34 minutes (2011).
- Foreign Policy Association short videos on the Arab Spring – (2011) “Great Decisions”
- TED Talk, The Attitudes that Sparked the Arab Spring, 15 minutes (2012).
- Professor Uzi Rabi, Slideshare – Political Cartoons about the Arab Spring (2012)
- Journal of Economic Perspectives: Why Was the Arab World Poised for Revolution? Schooling, Economic Opportunities, and the Arab Spring (2012).
- Jessica Winegar, The Privilege of Revolution: Gender, Class, Space, and Affect in Egypt (2012)
- Ms. Petra Stienen, Arabist, shares her experiences on the impact of social media on the Arab spring at MsM Business Dinner. 19 minutes (2012)
- Stanford University Scholars Reflect on the Arab Spring (2012).
- The Arab Spring: Why the Surprising Similarities with the Revolutionary Wave of 1848? (2012).
- Duke Professor Said Graiouid’s comments on the Arab Spring (2013)
- The Atlantic, “Islamism, the Arab Spring, and the Failure of America’s Do-Nothing Policy in the Middle East” (2015).
- Interview with Noam Chomsky – “Did the Arab Spring Fail?” 6 minutes (2015)
- Four Years after the Arab Spring: A Report from the IMF (2015).
- Buzzfeed – 23 Photos that capture just how huge the Arab Spring was (2016).
- The Economist article with visuals “The Arab Spring, Five Years After (2016).
- Lecture – Andrew Bacevich: America In The Middle East (2016).
- The Journal of Globalization Studies: The Forces of Globalization and the Arab Spring … (2016).
- The Choices Program – Video Blog Collection on the Arab Spring – Multiple Topics (2017).
- Aljazeera Arab Spring News – a collection of media from 2011- 2018.
- Primary Sources
- President Obama’s speech on the Arab Spring (2011).
- Secretary of State Clinton discusses the Arab Spring during the PBS NewsHour. (2011)
- Tawakkol Karman Nobel Peace Prize Speech (2011).
- Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s speech on the Arab Spring delivered at the British Council in London (2011).
- Arab Spring Vote in Tunisia (2011).
- BBC Article – Arab Spring: ‘It was the first time I felt I belonged’ (2011).
- Rap Songs of the Arab Spring (2011) With NPR commentary.
- Images from the Arab Spring: Assembled by the Globe (2011).
- US Congressional Resolution calling for the protection of religious minority rights and freedoms in the Arab world (2011-2012).
- Collection of Feminist Street Art in Egypt (2013).
- 40 Images of Tahir Square in January 2011 (2016).