ISU’s International Studies Lecturer Gains National Attention

An assignment by an international studies lecturer here at Iowa State has gained national attention. James Strohman instructed students in his Introduction to International Studies course to write about the 9/11 attacks from the perspective of Al-Qaeda or a non-Western historian. The directions asked students to think outside the box and to keep their own cultural appropriations out. A spokesperson for the university said the assignment was not meant to lessen the seriousness of the terrorist group or the attack, but rather was a way to expand critical thinking skills. Strohman himself issued a statement saying the assignment was influenced by CIA training in “understanding one’s enemy”. Other departments of Iowa State such as the ROTC on campus have emerged supporting the assignment, calling it “a step in the right direction” in understanding terrorism.

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