31 August 2008

01 September 2008 - On Arabic textbook, the facts still stand

Emily McGinnis, writing for The Hoya, Georgetown University's student newspaper, sought reactions to my critique of Al-Kitaab, the standard Arabic textbook published by the university and used all over the country.

Interestingly, the publisher does not attempt to refute my factual claims, or my critique of the book's generally morose tone. But the article does reveal that the National Endowment for the Humanities, which contributed to the costs of producting the book's first edition, "did not review the text for sources of bias." The director of Georgetown University Press also admits that "he has received some objections from students in regard to their maps."

The chair of the university's Arabic department claims: "Our authors are very careful not to politicize their books when writing." However, there are several political aspects of the text, including the final chapter of the book, which focuses on Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees.

America's students of Arabic deserve better.


At 5:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to compare the Arabic textbooks being used in the States with the those teaching Hebrew. I've personally not seen the Hebrew textbooks, but a friend told me that some of them (those that are taught in universities), contain some nationalistic themes, which, in some sectors, may be considered controversial.

At 1:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forget the politicization - it's just a terrible textbook! I found it to be poorly organized, embarrassingly inconsistent... and don't even get me started on the fact that there are ALL KINDS of words used throughout the textbook that are not included in the glossary at the back.


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