The Youth are the Conscience of the Nation

Here’s a perennial question facing the idealistic youth of any nation: What would you do if you found yourself surrounded by a violent, unjust system?  What if your society was rife with rampant inequality?  What if you were a beneficiary of this system – if your privilege came at the cost of others’ suffering?

Bartolomé de Las Casas found himself living in such a society – conquest-era colonial Spain – and he risked everything to speak out.

Would you have done the same?

Would you do the same today?

Ask your students —

Bartolomé de Las Casas and the Atrocities of the Spanish Conquistadors (Free online text suited for middle or high school classroom use, guided reading questions, and suggested activities): What would you do if you found yourself surrounded by a violent, unjust system?  In the early Spanish conquest of the Americas, Bartolomé de Las Casas spoke out.

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Awards for “The Dubai Mall” Lesson at Openendedsocialstudies.org

The University of Arizona Center for Middle Eastern Studies has recognized the Openendedsocialstudies lesson The Dubai Mall, Sharia Law, and Social Norms as part of its annual lesson plan competition.  The lesson is adaptable for use in both middle school and high school classrooms, and uses the rules and code of conduct posted at this fabulous mall’s entrance to introduce students to norms of the Arab world.

How and why do social norms and laws in Muslim majority countries differ from those in countries like the United States?  Would students still want to visit greatest mall in the world if it meant following a different set of rules than they’re used to?

Check out our ever growing (and always free!) set of lessons, resources, and activities covering the Middle East.