Encountering the Other in Print: Students’ Readings of Christiane Bird’s Neither East nor West: One Woman’s Journey through the Islamic Republic of Iran

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Abstract

This article presents the results of a content analysis and a thematic analysis of undergraduate students’ essays on the Middle East, specifically on the nation of Iran. The students were all members of a world regional geography class taught at a public west Texas university during the Fall of 2002. These students’ writings provide a particular regional view of the Islamic world post- September 11, 2001. The essays are responses to Christiane Bird's travelogue Neither East nor West. Bird's book, published before the September 11, 2001, attacks, offers a balanced if not positive view of Islam in general and Iran in particular. The written narratives produced by students afford an aperture into their imagined geographies and figured worlds of the Middle East and the Muslim world.

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