"Stadt" and "Frauenbewegung"
by Gihad Abongelah
“Rafik Schami and Adel Karasholi - Two Arab-German Writers”
A Two-Week Curriculum Unit for 2nd or 3rd Year College/ German 4/5 or AP German

Part 1: Lesson Plan

Week One:

Day 1: Introduction to the general topic of migration to, and Ausländer in, German-speaking countries, either a lecture by the professor or the students use a search engine and find information on “Ausländer in Deutschland, Österreich, Schweiz” and report about what they have found on the web.

Choose one of the following people and find information on him or her on the Internet and prepare a short biography of that person: Rafik Schami, Adel Karasholi, Jusuf Naoum, Wadi Soudah, Salim Alafenisch, Hussain Al-Mozany, Zehra Cirak, F.A. José Oliver, Suleiman Taufiq, Hassouna Mosbahi, Khaled Al-Maaly, Aras Ören, Franco Biondi, Libuše Moníková, Emine Sevgi Özdamar, Yoko Tawanda, Jamal Tuschick, Sinasi Dikmen. The teachers must make sure that Rafik Schami and Adel Karasholi are among those names chosen by the students. 

Day 2:
Students report about what they have found out. Professors can then speak in general about the influence of Arabs and Muslims on European civilization using the list of German words of Arabic origin. There are many books and websites dealing with this topic, and also a great DVD available on-line “The Empire of Faith.” I compiled 16 minutes from the entire DVD and other sources und use it as an introduction about how Islam has contributed to Western civilization. (Anyone interested in teaching such a unit can contact me and I’ll send you a copy of the CD, which can only be used with a computer.)

Students receive various poems by Adel Karasholi and a short tale by Rafik Schami, which they must read for the next class.  

Day 3:
 Discuss the notion of “Fremde” in the poems by Adel Karasholi or problems that foreigners are faced with in Germany in a short story by Rafik Schami.

Choose one of the other tales that were not discussed in class and write a short essay on one of the issues discussed in them. Here are the tales and possible topics:
  • “Mehmet” (Racism and treatment of immigrants in D, A, CH,
  • France, the USA, or other parts of the world)
  • “Fußball nein, Nazis niemals!” (Stereotypes, Sports I love and hate and why; Germany
  • as a Soccer World Champion; etc.)
  • “Der Wald und das Streichholz” (Diversity in D, A, CH and the USA)
  • "Großvaters Brille“ (Family memories) 

Week Two:

Choose a novel by Rafik Schami from the list below and discuss it with the students the entire week. My suggestion would be Erzähler der Nacht (dtv # 11915) or Reise zwischen Nacht und Morgen (dtv # 12635). Both books are written in the traditional Arabic tradition of oral storytelling with a framework story (Rahmenerzählung) and many other stories embedded into the main story. Both books are very easy to read for students at the 2nd year college level or German 4/5 (high school) and they can be divided into three sections. Each day the students will read 1/3 of the book. In advanced literature classes or AP German, the book can be read and discussed at once. 

Day 1:   Spend the first 10 minutes brainstorming about why we write and read works of literature (part of culture, entertainment, relaxation, requirements, form of therapy, research, to make money, etc.) Then discuss the first 1/3 of the book and talk about characters, what happens, when and where; etc. Each chapter of the two books has a long title in which Schami summarizes the content of that section. Each chapter contains a new story, but also parts of the framework story (Rahmenerzählung).

It is important to locate the areas where the story takes place:
  • Does it take place in Europe, Germany, or some where else?
  • What do you know about these places?
  • What do you associate with them?
  • What can you expect to happen in a story that takes place in these areas of the world?
  • Why is it important to know that?

Day 2: Pick up where you stopped on day 1 and make sure that you add any new characters and places to the ones from the first 1/3 of the book. Have each student talk about a chapter and summarize the story (stories) orally.

  • What things happen new in these chapters?
  • How does this relate to the entire book and the framework story?
  • Ask students to make assumptions about what will happen next?
  • How will the framework story end?
Day 3: Pick up where you stopped on day 2 and make sure that you add any new characters and places to the ones from the first 2/3 of the book. Have each student talk about a chapter and summarize the story (stories) orally.
  • What new things happen in these chapters?
  • How does this relate to the entire book and the frame story?
  • How does the framework story end?
  • Is that a happy end?
Spend the last 15-20 minutes discussing the entire book and how it is different from other books that you or the students have read: themes, content, narrative structure, places to which the story takes you, etc.
  • What is particular about Rafik Schami’s style and themes he writes about?
  • What distinguishes him from other native German (or other minority) writers?
  • What is the relationship between the framework story and the various embedded stories?
  • How does he use storytelling as therapy?
This web page has been created and is maintained by Mohamed Esa, McDaniel College. Send your comments to: mesa@mcdaniel.edu