James N. Sater
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Boundaries, identity and positionality in the teaching of the Middle East
in Knowledge production in higher education
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This chapter investigates how teaching the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in Malta has been related to the history and geopolitical environment of this small island state. Unlike major Western countries, Malta has not had a colonial relationship with the MENA and was itself subjugated by occupation and British colonial rule (1813–1964). Furthermore, due to the significant influence of Arab and Muslim rule over the Maltese islands (870–1091), the country displays a deep Arab heritage, most notably in its language. Reflecting this heritage and the country’s geographic proximity to the Tunisian and Libyan shores, the University of Malta (UM) has had a long history of offering courses that focus on aspects of MENA culture, language, society and politics. Analysing enrolment data as well as the country’s geopolitical shifts, this chapter argues that identity formation and boundaries substantially impacted the UM’s knowledge production on the MENA. The chapter further reflects on the issue of student values and positionality as a pedagogical tool to counter exceptionalism that dominates much of the academic landscape with respect to the MENA.

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Knowledge production in higher education

Between Europe and the Middle East


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