Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Decolonization and Ethnic Nationalism in Egypt

Decolonization and Ethnic Nationalism in Egypt

AP World History College Board Framework Connections:
Key Concept 6.2 – Global Conflicts and their Consequences
6.2.I – Europe dominated the global political order at the beginning of the twentieth century, but both land-based and transoceanic empires gave way to new forms of trans-regional political organization by the century’s end.
6.2.I, B. – Some colonies negotiated their independence
6.2.I., C – Some colonies achieved independence through armed struggle
6.2.II – Emerging ideologies of anti-imperialism contributed to the dissolution of empires and restructuring of states.
6.2.II, A – Nationalist leaders in Asia and Africa challenged imperial rule.
6.2.II, B – Regional, religious, and ethnic movements challenged both colonial rule and inherited imperial boundaries.
6.2.II, C – Transnational movements sought to unite people across national boundaries. (ex. Pan-Arabism)
6.2.II, D – Movements to redistribute land and resources developed within states in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, sometimes advocating communism and socialism.
6.2.V – Although conflict dominated much of the twentieth century, many individuals and groups – including states – opposed this trend. Some individuals and groups, however, intensified the conflicts.
6.2.V, B. – Groups and individuals opposed and promoted alternatives to the existing economic, political and social orders (ex. The Non-Aligned Movement)

Key Concept 6.3 – New Conceptualizations of Global Economy, Society and Culture
6.3.II, C – In newly independent states after WWII, governments often took on a strong role in guiding economic life to promote development. (ex., Nasser’s promotion of economic development in Egypt).
6.3.IV, C – Believers developed new forms of spirituality and chose to emphasize particular aspects of practice within existing faiths and apply them to political issues. (ex. Fundamentalist movements).

Global History Framework Connections:
10.6 – Unresolved Global Conflict
10.6b – The Cold War was a period of confrontations and attempts at peaceful coexistence.
Students will examine the reasons countries such as Egypt and India chose nonalignment.
10.7 Decolonization and Nationalism
10.7c Nationalism in the Middle East was often influenced by factors such as religious beliefs and secularism.
10.8 Tensions Between Traditional Cultures and Modernization

New York State Standards:
Standard 2 – World History Standard 3 – Geogrpahy Standard 4 – Economics
Standard 5 – Civics, Citizenship and Government

Common Core Curriculum Standards:
Reading 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Writing 1, 2, 4, 5, 9

– Students will be able to demonstrate reading comprehension.
– Students will be able to determine the main idea of primary source and secondary source documents.
– Students will be able to use critical thinking skills to argue a viewpoint.
– Students will be able to understand multiple perspectives.
– Students will be able to learn content about Egypt 1900 to the present.
– Students will be able to make comparisons to decolonization in India, Ghana, Kenya and Turkey.
– Students will be able to compare ethnic nationalism in Egypt to that in Turkey.
– Students will be able to understand how events of the past shape the world today.
– Students will be able to synthesize their knowledge into a short written piece.

1. Distribute the handout to students and as a “do now” students would be asked to read two quotes and write down what they can infer about Egyptian society. Discuss answers.
2. The teacher will then lead the class through a chronological look at Egypt in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Students will fill in the missing information on their handout that corresponds with what is on the PowerPoint.
3. The students will then be asked to read an excerpt from the Anglo-Egyptian treaty and note whether or not independence was achieved for Egypt at this point. Discuss responses.
4. The teacher will then continue on with the lecture.
5. When discussing Nasser’s goals and policies, I would ask students to brainstorm what factors would prevent pan-Arabism. I would have them partner up to discuss and then share ideas with the class. Also, after the Aswan High Dam notes, I would then ask students if they thought Nasser’s economic policies were a success or a failure and why. (I did then include another slide that highlights both the pros and cons of the dam. That is an optional component).
6. The teacher will then continue on with the lecture.
7. Once the presentation is up to part VI – The Future, the teacher can play the NPR news story for the students.There is also the option of printing out the text of the story for students to follow along. Students will then be asked to summarize the situation in Egypt post-Mubarak.

Students will be asked to write a summary paragraph using seven of the nine words given to them.

Modifications – throughout the lesson when students are charged with analyzing a text and/or brainstorming, the teacher could use the think-pair-share strategy so that students can try on their own, bounce ideas of a peer, and then have more confidence when it comes time to share ideas. In addition, another modification entails giving the kids the text of the NPR story for those who have trouble listening and could benefit from following along with the text.

Extensions – could add having the students debate the impact of the Aswan High Dam. An idea is to have them research the pros and cons and either debate using the structured academic controversy model or the advocate-decision making technique. Another idea is to use the silent debate method.

Some of the information used in this presentation is courtesy of Samuel Helfont.

  • Christina Cone
  • Smithtown High School West
Grade Level
  • High School: 10
Time Frame
  • 1 class period (40 minutes)

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