Just as our own cultural context creates our perception of the world around us, so too are authors shaped by their historical and cultural contexts. To gain a better understanding of Khaled Hosseini’s novel, The Kite Runner, you will complete an online WebQuest to establish background knowledge about Afghan culture and historical context.
Research: After randomly choosing your topic from the list below, you and your team will engage in online research to answer questions about the following elements of society in Afghanistan. You will cite your sources as your take notes.
I. History and Geography
II. Religion and Faith
III. Daily Life (Dress/Food/Recreation/Economy)
IV. Women and Girls
V. Tribal Relationships
VI. Current Events
PowerPoint Presentation: Your group will then have class time in the computer lab to create a PowerPoint presentation that you will share with the class.
Quiz: Finally, your group will be responsible for submitting three multiple-choice quiz questions relating to your topic. Quiz questions will come from the content in your PowerPoint and must be emailed to me.
I. History and Geography of Afghanistan
1. Summarize Afghan history since 1930, highlighting important events. Cite your sources. Consider:
What happened in 1921?
What happened in 1933?
Who did Gen. Mohammed Daoud Khan make an alliance with? Why?
1973 was a pivotal point in Afghanistan’s history. Why?
Why did Osama Bin Laden shift his focus from the Soviet Union to the United States in 1988?
In 1992 Afghanistan endured yet another coup. Which group took over this time? What were the problems with this group?
Why did most Afghans believe the Taliban takeover in 1993 is a good thing at first?
Why did more than a million Afghans flee to Pakistan between the years of 1995 – 1999?
What was America’s answer to the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001?
2. What trends do you see in history? Cite your sources.
3. What do these suggest about life for the average citizen? Cite your sources.
4. What do they suggest about Afghan national identity and values? Cite your sources.
5. Locate a clear map of Afghanistan that shows major cities and capital. Cite your sources.
Basic cultural overview
II. Religion and Faith in Afghanistan
1. What are the differences between Sunni vs. Shiite Islam? Cite your sources.
2. How is Islam integral to Afghan culture? Cite your sources.
3. What are the basic tenets of Islam? Cite your sources.
4. What other religions have similar beliefs? Cite your sources.
5. Why do you think these religions, if they are so similar, seem to have difficulty getting along? Cite your sources.
Basic cultural overview
Difference between Sunni and Shiite
Overview of Islam
Thorough explanation of Islam with links to lots of helpful sites
Prohibitions and Obligations of Islam
III. Daily Life in Afghanistan (Dress/Food/Recreation/Economy)
1. What does an Afghan citizen’s clothing choices suggest about his/her position in the culture? Cite your sources.
2. What does traditional Afghan clothing suggest about cultural values? Cite your sources.
3. How do Afghan recreational activities illustrate cultural priorities? Cite your sources.
4. Describe the Afghan economy, including how opium has played a part. What are its current challenges? Why? Cite your sources.
5. What is a typical Afghan meal? What are Afghanis’ favorite foods?
Basic cultural overview
Dress code laws since the Taliban
Overview of Pashtun culture including clothing description
Turban tying and Kite Running
Afghan national sport
Brief economic overview
Fighting the Opium Wars
IV. Girls and Women in Afghan Society
1. Explore how girls’/women’s roles in Afghani society have developed in the last forty years. Cite your sources.
2. How has Taliban rule affected girls/women? Cite your sources.
3. What challenges do modern Afghan girls/women encounter? What is the current state of their education? Cite your sources.
4. How are these similar/different to women from previous generations? Cite your sources.
5. Who are two important or newsworthy Afghani girls/women? Why? Cite your sources.
Afghanistan's Women after 'Liberation' (the homesite, www.rawa.org has a lot of information)
National Geographic overview with photo gallery and linked video
Women under Taliban Threat - TIME Photo Essay
Associated article with preceding photo essay (Also see video on left)
Afghan women fear for the future
Afghan Women Soar to New Heights
V. Tribal Relationships and Family in Afghanistan
1. What roles do tribes play in Afghan culture? Family? Cite your sources.
2. On what cultural values does the Pashtunwali code place most importance? Cite your sources.
3. What does it mean to be an outsider in Afghan society? Why are people excluded? What does this exclusion look like? Cite your sources.
4. How is treatment of Afghan “others” similar/different to other cultures’ history of oppression (hint: India)? Cite your sources.
5. What is one recent conflict that involves an Afghani tribe or tribes? What was the date, situation, and outcome? Cite your sources.
Basic cultural overview
Pashtun tribal structure
Honour among them: Pashtunwali v. Radical Islam
National Geographic article and photo gallery on "Afghanistan's Outsiders," the Hazara
Overview of ethnic/tribal conflict
Relationship between Pashtun and Hazara in The Kite Runner
VI. Current Events in Afghanistan**
1. Explain in detail (in your own words) one of the latest news events from Afghanistan. Cite your sources.
2. When and why did the U.S. end the war in Afghanistan? What is the current number of troops in Afghanistan? Cite your sources.
3. What is the current state of politics/government in Afghanistan? Cite your sources.
4. Create a timeline of news events (8 – 10) in Afghanistan in the last year. Cite your sources.
** Use news websites like CNN, MSNBC, etc...; use online newspapers like the New York Times; use educational websites like PBS.org.
This WebQuest is worth 100 points and is based on the following criteria:
Content (30 pts): Includes the accuracy of your information and your thoroughness in addressing all of the guiding questions.
Research Participation (25 pts): You are on task and focused during the class time, reading the articles and collaborating with your group members.
PowerPoint Presentation (30 pts): Includes all group members participating during the presentation. Presentation is prepared with text and visuals, any quoted information is accurately cited. Each PowerPoint must have between 8 – 10 slides with a Works Cited page at the end. Use MLA. PowerPoints must be emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quiz Questions (15 pts): Someone from your group emails me (email@example.com) three multiple-choice quiz questions (taken from your PowerPoint) by ___________ (last day of research).
As we begin reading and discussing The Kite Runner, you will now be better equipped to visualize the culture in which the story takes place and understand the religious, political, and societal forces that influenced the author to shape the lives of the characters.