Three Amazing Sacred Texts: Video Summaries

Here are engaging video summaries of three of the world's great sacred texts from Annenberg Learner's Invitation to World Literature.  They include the Mayan and Sumerian creation stories, the Popol Vu, and the Epic of Gilgamesh, as well as the Hindu sacred classic, The Bhagavad Gita.In each video, which lasts about thirty minutes,  professors and scholars relate the basic story of each myth along with important history and make connections to other sacred stories around the worl … [Read more...]

Developing Global Citizens with Film

Engage your students with other cultures and religions through terrific films and curriculum resources developed by Journeys in Film.In collaboration with USC Rossier School of Education, Journeys in Film selects movies and documentaries from the global film market. They look for relevant and inspirational films with universal themes.Some of the films include The Story God with Morgan Freeman, He Named Me Malala, Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet, The Dhamma Brothers, or Children of Heaven f … [Read more...]

Halal in the Family: Confronting Bigotry with Slapstick

Move over Archie Bunker! There's a new family on the block confronting stereotypes just as strong and in a manner just as funny!Aasif Mandvi's new web series, Halal in the Family, takes aim at every Muslim stereotype you can imagine. In one of the first episodes, Spies Like Us, Aasif confronts his son's white math teacher who says that he's a Muslim. Aasif is convinced that he's working for the FBI, reminding us that many people see Muslims as foreigners who should always be under … [Read more...]

Two TED Talks that Try to Break Down Muslim Stereotypes

Here are two excellent TED Talks that attempt to break down misconceptions and stereotypes about Muslims.In the first talk, Shafique Virani, a Harvard professor of Islamic Studies, urges us to confront ignorance with knowledge. Quoting a medieval Muslim scientist, he notes that he "who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool." But "he who knows not and knows that he knows not, is a seeker."In the second TED Talk Dalia Mogahed reminds us that we are all rather similar when she … [Read more...]

Critics Want us to Change What We Teach & Write about Hinduism

Some Hindu advocates, including the Hindu American Foundation, are challenging what we teach about Hinduism in K-12 schools and the way some scholars write about it.The debate is so intense that one prominent scholar, Jeffrey Kripal, whose books include Kali's Child, walked away from Hindu scholarship. And in 2014,  after a lawsuit, publishers withdrew from circulation in India Wendy Doniger's book, The Hindus: An Alternative History.In California, the debate over what to teach about H … [Read more...]

The Ascent of Woman

How did the role of women change over time?That's the question that historian Amanda Forman tries to answer in this terrific documentary series from BBC. It's available now for streaming on Netflix.Forman's tries to answer three questions throughout the series: why did civilization become almost exclusively male, why have almost all civilizations put limits on women's sexuality, movement and liberty, and what makes the status of women so susceptible to the dictates of politics and … [Read more...]

A Cultural Approach to Understanding Religion

Teaching World Religions? Harvard Divinity School's new edX course, Religious Literacy: Traditions and Scripture, offers a new approach to studying about religion that all teachers should consider. I am taking the course now and love it.  I can adapt many of the methods to my own high school religion class.Culture provides the framework of the course and is based on the premise that politics, economics, and history provide the best lens for studying religion.Professor Diane Moore teaches … [Read more...]