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How to Teach Children: Childrearing and Confucian Doctrine

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This excerpt comes from a chapter of Okina mondô, or Dialog with an Old Man, by Nakae Tôju (1606–1648), a Neo-Confucian philosopher. The Dialog teaches practical ethics through a series of questions and answers between a young disciple, Taijû, and a wise old master, Tenkun. In the section entitled "How to Teach Children," Tenkun's advice reflects the fundamental Confucian view that men are... Read More »

Howard High School Alumni Interviews, Wilmington, Delaware

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Howard High School, the only free high school for African Americans in Delaware until the 1950s, was built shortly after the Civil War. In this clip, interviewees describe the obstacles former students faced, such as traveling long distances each day on foot or by milk train. A man and a woman also describe their classes in practical and vocational studies. The man built an elaborately... Read More »

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Ibn Khaldun's Study of History (1377 CE)

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Statesman, jurist, historian, scholar, and philosopher Ibn Khaldun was born in Tunis on May 27, 1332. Ibn Khaldun is an exemplary example of product of the Islamic education that children and youth received. He received a traditional early education of Qur'an, jurisprudence, and Arabic grammar. In his early 20s traveled to Fes to complete his education with the eminent scholars of his day. Ibn... Read More »

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Ijazahs (Diploma)

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During the medieval period, gifted children who successfully memorized the entire Qur'an left their home at the age of about 12-14 to travel to a nearby town and eventually around the Middle East to study with renowned academic authorities to hear historical, religious, philosophical, and legal texts. When the student could recite the material flawlessly, the authority issued the student an... Read More »

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Illustration from The Maqamat of al-Hariri

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During the Abassid period and onward, children four or older in villages and urban centers began attending schools (maktabs) attached to mosques to obtain a basic education in religious matters. Students in a maktab sat in a semicircle on the floor around the teacher writing their lessons on a tablet and then repeating it back for correction. In this illustration, one boy... Read More »

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Imperial Rescript: The Great Principles of Education

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During the 1870s, the Meiji government established many institutions based on the examples from Europe and the U.S., and many intellectuals advocated a thoroughgoing transformation of Japanese society and culture patterned after the model of civilization they observed in the West. Others, however, were uncomfortable with the pace of change and the sudden influx of Western influences. They... Read More »

Imperialism in North Africa: Autobiography, Fadhma Amrouche

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Fadhma Amrouche was the illegitimate daughter of an impoverished, illiterate Berber peasant woman. Born a Muslim, she was converted to Christianity by Catholic missionaries, produced one of the first autobiographies ever written by an Algerian woman, became a naturalized French citizen, and raised two children who became well-known French literati—Taos Marie-Louise Amrouche, a poet and... Read More »

Imperialism in North Africa: Autobiography, Leila Abouzeid

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In Morocco, after 1912, the colonial regime eschewed, for the most part, introducing overt changes into Islamic personal status law. Indeed the patriarchy of the reigning dynasty, the ’Alawis, and of the leaders of the great tribes, was reinforced, since France wanted Morocco to theoretically remain “traditional,” untouched by modernity. Nevertheless France’s divide-and-conquer strategy... Read More »

Imperialism in North Africa: Interview, Tewhida Ben Sheikh

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Tewhida Ben Sheikh [1909- ] was the first North African Muslim woman to earn a medical degree from the Faculty of Medicine in Paris, in 1936, while Tunisia was still under colonial rule. After she was awarded her medical diploma in France, Madame Ben Sheikh returned to Tunis, where she opened a women’s reproductive health clinic, often providing free medical services for poor women. She was... Read More »

Imperialism in North Africa: Law, Code of Personal Status

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In 1956 one of the most revolutionary family law codes in the Arab or Islamic world was proclaimed in the newly independent Tunisian state which, paradoxically, had not suffered a political revolution in the way that colonial Algeria would. What historical factors explain why Tunisian women won comparatively more legal and social rights than women in Algeria or Morocco?

While the... Read More »

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