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Volume 66, Number 4July/August 2015

In This Issue

Classroom Guide

For students: We hope this guide will help sharpen your reading skills and deepen your understanding of this issue’s articles.

For teachers: We encourage reproduction and adaptation of these ideas, freely and without furthe permission from AramcoWorld, by teachers at any level, whether working in a classrorom or through home study.


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Class Activities

“Ferozkoh: Renewing the Arts of the Turquoise Mountain“

Where does creativity come from? What inspires people to create things, be they works of art, foods to eat or inventions that change how something is done? And once people have been inspired, how do they go about making whatever it is they’re making? “Ferozkoh: Renewing the Arts of the Turquoise Mountain” presents a fascinating example of the creative process. Read the article. When you have completed these activities, you will be able to:

  • describe the process by which Turquoise Mountain artists created pieces for the “Ferozkoh” exhibit
  • try part of a process described in the article to create a work of art
  • present your artwork and an analysis of it, including what influenced your creation

Chart the Process 

Once you have read the article (in class or for homework), focus your attention on the process in which the Turquoise Mountain artists participated to create the objects for the exhibition. Working with a group (after all, the process the artists used was all about interaction), go through the article and identify the steps the artists went through to create their pieces. List the steps, or mark up your copy of the article. Number each step, and underline the important parts about it. Then, with your group, create a graphic of some kind that shows the creative process in which these artists engaged. Write a title for your graphic.


The article begins with an assertion:
“For an artist it is difficult to create art in isolation.” Discuss with whom the artists interacted during their creative process. How did the interaction affect their work? Some people believe that creativity is a solitary process. Debate this, using the article, your prior knowledge and your own experience for information.

Try It

It’s not likely that you can easily get up close—let alone handle—any art masterpieces, so you can’t quite do what the Turquoise Mountain teachers did. But you can do a version of it: Choose an object that you find beautiful or interesting, one that moves you in some way. It can be anything from a rock you see in a garden to a piece of jewelry to a painting to a coffee cup. Sketch the object the way the artists described in the article sketched their object. In other words, sketch your reaction to the object rather than the object itself. Proceed from there. Create something that your chosen object has inspired you to make. 

When you have made your creation, think about how it relates to the object you started with. Write something that explains your artwork, including how it evolved from the original object. Include in your writing a response to “For an artist, it is difficult to create art in isolation.” How did interacting with the original object and with your classmates affect your creation? 

As a class, exhibit your work. Display each work of art with the object that inspired it and with the artist’s statement about the art. Invite others to visit your exhibit, and provide them with an opportunity to respond to what they see, since interacting with the audience is another instance of interaction—one that may very well affect the next thing you create. 

Visual Analysis

The staff at AramcoWorld chooses photographs to accompany the articles in the magazine. Look at the photos that accompany “Ferozkoh: Renewing the Arts of the Turquoise Mountain.” What do you notice about the photos? What do they have in common with each other? What do you notice about what the photos do not show? (Hint: Do an Internet search about the exhibit and look at the photos you find online.) Why do you think the folks at AramcoWorld chose the types of photos they did? What do you think they are trying to emphasize?


You can download the catalogue that accompanied “Ferozkoh: Tradition and Continuity in Afghan Art” at http://www.mia.org.qa/en/library/inspired-by-books/ferozkoh-catalogue. 

”The Fabled Flatbreads of Uzbekistan”: A Study of Tradition

At its most basic, bread is food—fuel for human bodies, much the way that gasoline is fuel for cars. But as this article explains, there is much more to bread than that. In this lesson, you will have a chance to think about bread the way an anthropologist might, in terms of its cultural significance. By the time you finish these activities, you will be able to:

  • describe what bread means and the traditions associated with bread in Uzbek culture
  • write about the traditions associated with bread in your culture
  • assess the value of studying traditions
  • evaluate the visual images that
  • accompany the article

Examine the Traditions

Read “Fabled Flatbreads of Uzbekistan.” Then make a list of different traditions mentioned in the article that involve bread. (An example of one of these traditions is having an elder hold two loaves of bread over a bride’s head.) Choose one of the traditions that you find particularly interesting. Write an analysis of that tradition, using these questions as your guide. What is the tradition? Why do you think bread, as opposed to some other food or object, is used in it? What does the tradition mean? What is the bread a symbol for? 

Try It

Think of yourself as a photojournalist (or anthropologist) putting together an article and photos about bread, as Eric Hansen has done. Start by identifying the type of bread that is most important in your culture—however you define that culture. It might be regional. For example, in the American South, people often enjoy biscuits, while in Ethiopia people eat injera. Or you might define your culture by your religion or with a particular holiday. Once you’ve chosen your bread, brainstorm some of the traditions that include it. (You can use “Fabled Flatbreads” to get you thinking.) See if you can come up with two or three traditions. When you’ve listed them, organize your notes and thoughts, and write an article similar to “Fabled Flatbreads.”

How will you illustrate your article? What kind of photographs will convey to your readers whatever it is you want them to know about your bread? Again, use the article  as a guide. Will you take pictures of the bread itself? If so, how will you make the pictures visually interesting? Will you take pictures of people who make the bread? Or people engaged in some typical activity that involves the bread? Or the setting in which the bread is made or sold? You might want to take different kinds of photos and see which ones you like best, both visually and in terms of what they communicate. 

Present your article and photos. If you have access to a program that allows you to lay out the text and photos the way a magazine like AramcoWorld does, use it. If not, present your article and photos whatever way you want—such as a poster with typed text, or something that looks like the written text and visual images on page 10 that are part of “Six Degrees of Suriname.” Have your class display everyone’s work.

Step Back and Evaluate 

Now you’ve read about traditions that involve bread, and you’ve analyzed and reported on traditions involving bread in your own culture. Anthropologists do this sort of analysis all the time. Now that you’ve done it too, did you find it valuable? What, if anything, has your study of bread revealed to you or to others about your culture? Is there another way that someone could learn the same thing or something similar? If so, what would it be? If not, what makes the study of bread unique? Discuss the question with your classmates. 

Make Connections

How is a nonvoy, or bread baker, similar to and different from the artists depicted in “Ferozkoh: Renewing the Arts of the Turquoise Mountain”? Make a Venn diagram that compares and contrasts the nonvoy and the artist. 

Visual Analysis

Look at the photos on pages 34-35. Discuss these questions with a partner: Why do you think photographer Eric Hansen took photos of the non from this angle? What does it enable you to see? Why do you think the editors at AramcoWorld chose to display two entire pages of photos of non lined up like Instagram shots? What does this layout enable you to see? 

Now look at the photos on pages 36-37. With your partner, write some notes about how these photos are different from those on pages 34-35. What do they add to your understanding of the article’s content? Which photos—those in the first spread or those in the second—do you find more interesting? What makes them interesting to you?


“Six Degrees of Suriname” reports that the small South American country is one of the most multicultural societies in the Americas. Why? If time is short, read only the handwritten parts of the article to learn about different examples of multiculturalism in Suriname and to find out what different people say has made multiculturalism possible there. Make a list of what you learn. If you have more time, read the entire article and add to your list. How is Suriname both similar to and different from where you live? Write a journal entry with your thoughts. 


Standards Connections

Six Degrees of Suriname


Standard 4. Understands the physical and human characteristics of place

Standard 9 : Understands the nature, distribution and migration of human populations on Earth's surface
Standard 10. Understands the nature and complexity of Earth's cultural mosaics 

Standard 11. Understands the patterns and networks of economic interdependence on Earth's surface

Standard 13. Understands the forces of cooperation and conflict that shape the divisions of Earth's surface

Ferozkoh: Arts of the Turquoise MountainVisual Arts

Standard 4. Understands the visual arts in relation to history and cultures


Standard 10. Understands the nature and complexity of Earth's cultural mosaics 

Common Core English Language Arts 

Reading for Informational Text
RI9-10.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion differs from that of a newspaper).

RI11-12.7. Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.

The Fabled Flatbreads of Uzbekistan

Standard 10. Understands the nature and complexity of Earth's cultural mosaics 

World History
Standard 2. Understands the processes that contributed to the emergence of agricultural societies around the world

Common Core English Language Arts 

Reading for Informational Text
RI11-12.7. Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.


W9-10.1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

W9-10.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

W9-10.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in Writing standards 1-3.)

Via Egnatia: To Rome and Byzantium 

World History

Standard 28. Understands how large territorial empires dominated much of Eurasia between the 16th and 18th centuries


Standard 9. Understands the nature, distribution and migration of human populations on Earth's surface
Standard 10. Understands the nature and complexity of Earth's cultural mosaics 

Al Ghazal: From Constantinople to the Land of the Vikings

World History

Standard 13 : Understands the causes and consequences of the development of Islamic civilization between the 7th and 10th centuries

Standard 15. Understands the political, social, and cultural redefinitions in Europe from 500 to 1000 CE


Standard 9. Understands the nature, distribution and migration of human populations on Earth's surface


Julie Weiss ([email protected]) is an education consultant based in Eliot, Maine. She holds a Ph.D. in American studies. Her company, Unlimited Horizons, develops social studies, media literacy, and English as a Second Language curricula, and produces textbook materials.