Embodying the Nation:

George Washington, Abdelkader, and Gandhi

A DBQ (document-based questions) lesson in which students examine primary source documents to evaluate and compare motivations and methods of Geroge Washington, Abd el-Kader, and Gandhi.

Emir Abdelkader Painting

Barbara Petzen, director of training initiatives at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, created this lesson, in which students analyze primary source documents to examine Abd el-Kader and how he was seen by his contemporaries, and compare his leadership to that of George Washington and Mohandas Gandhi.

Why teach the life and times of Emir Abdelkader?

  • Uncovers little-known facts about America's heartland
  • Adds historical lens of the conquered, highlighting story of resistance
  • Challenges stereotypes
  • Broadens notions of American cultural, ethnic, and religious identities
  • Offers international perspective beyond eurocentric history
  • Counters extremism
  • Provides role model of ethical leadership
  • Encourages critical thinking and social/emotional learning

Bibliography

Khan, Daisy. Wiseup: Knowledge Ends Extremism. Women's Islamic Initiative in Spirituality & Equality, 2017. 

Kiser, John W. Commander of the Faithful: the Life and Times of Emir Abd El-Kader. Monkfish Book Publishing, 2013. 

Marston, Elsa. The Compassionate Warrior: Abd El-Kader of Algeria. Wisdom Tales, 2013.

Other Selected Readings

Bouyerdene, Ahmed. Emir Abdelkader: Hero and Saint of Islam. World Wisdom, 2012.

Churchill, Charles-Henry. The Life of Abd el Kader, ex Sultan of the Arabs of Algeria. Chapman Hall, 1867.

Danziger, Raphael. Abd al-Qadir and the Algerians. Holmes and Meier, 1977.

DeTocqueville, Alexis. Writings on Empire and Slavery (translated by Jennifer Pitts) Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.

Kiser, John W. The Monks of Tibhirine: Faith, Love and Terror in Algeria. St. Martins Press, 2003

Kiser, John W. Lessons From An Arab Warrior

Hourani, Albert. Islam in European Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Johnston, Douglas, Religion Terror and Error: American Foreign Policy and the Challenge of Spiritual Engagement. Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2011.

Nasr, Hossein. Man and Nature, The Spiritual Crisis of Modern Man. Chicago: ABC International Group Inc, 1997.