Preparing Boys for Life.

World Cultures students create books on Middle Eastern religions and ethnicities

During their final unit of Kori Brown’s World Cultures course, Form II students created books, available for purchase on Amazon.com, that attempt to highlight the diversity of the Middle East. 

“The students really embraced the idea of breaking down stereotypes about the Middle East,” said Brown. “This group of students is both curious and creative, and I was impressed at the level of depth that went into their research as well as the thoughtfulness that went into their historical fiction stories. The students worked hard to adopt the perspective and voice of the character they created. Their stories feel very authentic as a result.”

Each student researched a different religion or ethnolinguistic group and told a historical fiction tale from the point of view of a person who practices that religion or identifies as that ethnicity. 

The students really embraced the idea of breaking down stereotypes about the Middle East. This group of students is both curious and creative, and I was impressed at the level of depth that went into their research as well as the thoughtfulness that went into their historical fiction stories. Kori Brown, World Cultures teacher

“We wrote a story that was a day in a life of someone in a particular religion or ethnicity and then put them all together," said Grady Rantanen. "I researched Christianity in the Middle East. As a Christian, it was really interesting to me to see how different Christianity is in the Middle East — their priests are allowed to marry, for example.” 

They then compiled a compendium of the stories so that the students could experience the publication process. Each student had a job: there were graphic designers (who created the cover), layout designers (who created the title page, table of contents, and a unique page layout), publicists (who wrote the back cover material), a marketing team (who wrote the promotional text for Amazon), general editors (who composed the introduction), copy editors (who led our proofreading days), and even a legal team (who crafted a mock intellectual property rights document for our work). Several students met with professionals in their field, including Haverford’s Marketing and Communications Office and English department, to get a sense of the real-world job that they were performing. 

“I wrote a story about the persecution of the Druze people," said Isaiah Shuchman. "As someone with connections to Israel it was interesting to explore this. My job was a publicist: I wrote the summary and the author’s note. This allowed me to see the project from a wider perspective and really figure out the message we were trying to send.” 

The finished products have been published in both hard copy and ebook format on Amazon.com:

A Walk through the Middle East
What You Might Not Know about Middle Eastern Culture
A Window to the Middle East
Diverse Stories from the Middle East