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Bringing current events into the classroom in Middle Eastern studies

by Take Two®

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Israeli undercover policemen, one holding a gun, arrest a Palestinian (2ndL) during clashes following traditional Friday prayers near the Old City in East Jerusalem on July 25, 2014. AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images

With classes set to resume in a few weeks at many colleges and universities, how will the current conflict in the Middle East affect how courses on the subject matter are taught?

Professor Laurie Brand, who teaches International Relations and Middle Eastern studies at University of Southern California, said the headlines from Gaza can make for interesting points of discussion in the classroom.

"For people who are studying international law, there are all sorts of issues about war crimes about the question of occupation," said Brand. "For people doing courses on war and peace there are questions of asymmetrical warfare and negotiations. You could use examples from the ongoing conflict to serve as examples of larger points."

Brand said she frequently opens up a time for questions at the beginning of classes to discuss current events that relate to the broader ideas under study in her classes.

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