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Lesson 6.9: The Arab Spring from All Sides – 2011 in Multiple Contexts


Lesson 6.9: The Arab Spring from All Sides – 2011 in Multiple Contexts


TOPIC 6: The “Arab Spring” from All Sides – 2011 in Multiple Contexts


Topic Overview:

The Arab Spring began in 2011 with uprising in Tunisia, Egypt, and a range of revolts and political responses in the Mediterranean World. Historical comparisons have been made between these events and Europe’s popular revolutions of 1848, global voices mobilizing in 1968, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It is important to note however, that each of these events, including the Arab Spring, are unique historical situations and not an example of “history repeating itself.”  In turn, the struggles and opportunities unleashed by the Arab Spring are “in motion” and will continue to evolve. These regional transformations have also produced global ripples that have impacted politics both within and between various nations. This lesson will focus on a range of sources and interpretations attempting to understand the Arab Spring as a historical event.

Lesson Overview

Media Literacy is a skill set essential for students to develop in the 21st century. The Center for Media Literacy defines the term: “Media Literacy is a 21st century approach to education. It provides a framework to access, analyze, evaluate, create and participate with messages in a variety of forms — from print to video to the Internet. Media literacy builds an understanding of the role of media in society as well as essential skills of inquiry and self-expression necessary for citizens of a democracy.” (Source: ) In this lesson, students focus on a variety of media and information concerning the Arab Spring of 2011. Students construct their understanding noting which resources they found most valid and informative and why they did so. In turn, students identify and describe their learning network about the Arab Spring.

Essential Questions:

  • How can we understand causes and initial outcomes of the Arab Spring as a political, social, cultural, and even global phenomenon? What are the limitations and advantages of some interpretations of the Arab Spring?
  • To what extent can the Arab Spring be understood as a regional event in terms of the initial Tunisian spark igniting events elsewhere?
  • How might these events unfold over the long term? How long did it take for revolutions such as the French, the American, the Russian, the Chinese and other uprisings to unfold?


Jonathan Even-Zohar and Craig Perrier


Our Shared Past in the Mediterranean: A World History Curriculum Project for Educators


Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies, George Mason University




2014, Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies, George Mason University, published under Creative Commons – Attribution-No Derivatives 3.0 License


1-2 class periods, depending on how work is assigned


• Engage with different types of historical sources.

• Organise complex historical information in a coherent form.

• Make comparisons and connections.

• Interpret and evaluate evidence.

• Compare alternative models for periodization.

• Differentiate between historical facts and historical interpretations.

• Formulate historical questions.

• Use historical information and knowledge to read and understand sources.

• Contextualize information.


• Describe the basic timeline and geography of the Arab Spring.

• Investigate and compare accounts of the Arab Spring from multiple perspectives and types of sources.


• Arab Spring Timelines

• Arab Spring Maps

• Student Handout 6.9.1

• The Egyptian Revolution: Media, Myth and Reality

• Additional reading: - ixzz2dlS7LldG

• Student Handout 6.9.2 - 3-2-1 Diagram


Lesson Plan Text

1. Activator: Top 10 List. Ask students to brainstorm and write 10 words, phrases, sentences, and questions that comes to their mind regarding the “Arab Spring.” Reinforce there are no correct answers, but rather a warm up to the lesson.

2. Review Timeline from NPR: The Major Events Of The Arab Spring

3. Review Interactive Map of the Arab Spring at

4. Have students in groups or independently carry out the portfolio activity described in Student Handout 6.9.1 and its resources.

5. Adaptation: Have students complete a blank map of the Arab Spring:

6. Assessment: Students create an “Arab Spring” portfolio - a synthesis of sources found in this module (and from their own research) which demonstrates their understanding. The organization of their portfolio can be thematic or chronological and can serve as a presentation for other students or classes. Students should be encouraged to also research an example of popular uprising or protest elsewhere in the world that occurred after the Arab Spring and to show whether and how it is possible to draw connections with what happened in the Middle East in 2010-11.

7. A closing strategy should be indicative of continued interpretations and research using a 3-2-1 technique: (see diagram in Student Handout 6.9.2)



Jonathan Even-Zohar and Craig Perrier, “Lesson 6.9: The Arab Spring from All Sides – 2011 in Multiple Contexts,” Our Shared Past in the Mediterranean: Teaching Modules , accessed January 19, 2018,

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