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Another look at the syllabus

Reader comment on item: Spreading Islam in American Public Schools

Submitted by Rich Rostrom (United States), Sep 20, 2005 at 14:39


has the syllabus. It's not as obviously bad as suggested - 5 chapters on Islam out of 35, and Islam certainly was a major factor in the medieval and early modern period. I don't like the idea of a chapter on Mohammed complete with illuminated manuscript. It's not possible for a public school or a general-usage curriculum to go deeply into that subject without whitewashing, IMO. (it would be the same for Lutheranism, or the Catholic Church, or even Zen Buddhism.) And it's not _necessary_: one can discuss Islam as a historical fact without getting deep into the life of Mohammed the man.

What might also be missing is a properly critical view of non-Westen cultures generally: I wonder if the chapter on Aztecs mentions the fact that mass human sacrifice (numbering in the millions over their history) was central to their culture.

What's definitely missing? The Mongols: one cannot understand the medieval period without learning about the people who conquered half of Europe and two-thirds of Asia.

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