April is Genocide Awareness Month

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on April 8, 2020

In the midst of global catastrophe, it might seem counterintuitive to pause and acknowledge Genocide Awareness Month this April. But we cannot approach painful histories as ones to remember only when times are good. Further, this month is actually an opportunity to consider some of the tragedies that have unfolded—and may yet unfold—when people play upon fear, panic, hatred, and even apocalyptic thinking to marshal support for mass violence against particular populations. As we move through the month of April, stay tuned for these 5 new pieces of content related to the history and contemporary reality of genocide:

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Topics: genocide

Suffrage and Sisterhood: The Origins and Impact of Black Sororities

Posted by Erika Henderson, Ed.D on April 3, 2020

In this recent interview, I had an opportunity to speak with Dr. Tara White, public historian and Professor of History at Wallace Community College in Selma, Alabama concerning the lesser-known role of black sororities in the women’s suffrage movement in the United States. Here we discuss the origins and significance of black sororities, as well as the continuing relevance of their struggles in the contemporary U.S.

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Topics: black history

Who Will Write Our History?: An Interview with Roberta Grossman

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on April 1, 2020

In a recent interview, I had the opportunity to speak with filmmaker Roberta Grossman—director of the acclaimed documentary film Who Will Write Our History? The film tells the remarkable true story of the Oyneg Shabes, a clandestine archival organization that formed in the Warsaw Ghetto to narrate the unfolding events from a Jewish perspective, as well as capture the richness of Jewish cultural life and agency that persisted in the face of the Nazi German occupation. The resulting archive includes a rich array of essays, diaries, drawings, posters, paintings, poetry, and underground newspapers. Here Grossman discusses the film’s development and reception, the power of eyewitness testimony, and the implications of the Oyneg Shabes Archive for how we teach and understand history.

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Topics: Memory, History, Holocaust and Human Behaviour

Serving All Girls in the Classroom: An Interview with Arianne Thomas

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on March 26, 2020

In a recent interview, I spoke with Arianne Thomas, Director of the Aspire Program at Hathaway Brown School—Ohio’s oldest continuously operating college preparatory school for girls. The program delivers three years of tuition-free academic enrichment and leadership development programming to girls from Cleveland and Greater Cleveland communities underrepresented at the elite day school. In this conversation, Thomas addresses some of the best practices that she and colleagues use within the Hathaway Brown community to center the developmental needs of girls, alongside the diverse array of needs and experiences that different learners bring to the classroom.

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Topics: Teaching, Women's History Month, race

Taking School Online: A Teacher Checklist

Posted by Facing History and Ourselves on March 23, 2020

The public health crisis posed by the COVID-19 outbreak has many schools rapidly shifting to online and distance learning. In these schools, educators are navigating new technologies and ways of teaching during an immensely challenging and uncertain time in our communities, when students’ (and teachers’ own) social-emotional needs are just as critical as academic goals. The resources below are designed to help teachers approach online learning with a focus on sustaining community, supporting students, and creating engaging, meaningful learning experiences. 

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Topics: Online Learning

Disrupting Patriarchy in the Classroom with Carol Gilligan

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on March 23, 2020

In a recent presentation to the staff of Facing History, eminent Facing History Board of Scholars member Carol Gilligan shared an array of insights from her body of work on gender. Gilligan is perhaps best known for her pathbreaking 1982 book In a Different Voice in which she exposed the limitations of prevailing conceptions of men’s and women’s psychological development. There she pointed to the unique needs and priorities of women that had not previously been addressed in the psychological literature. Gilligan’s presentation of her most recent work offers a number of rich insights on the continuing significance of gender, and has provoked reflection for us around how middle and high school educators might bring these insights into their work.

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Topics: Women's History Month

Holocaust Education Amid Rising Antisemitism: An Interview with Leslie White

Posted by Julie Halterman on March 20, 2020

On March 2, 2019, a group of high school students in Southern California decided during a party to arrange red Solo cups in the shape of a swastika and took pictures of themselves next to the symbol, raising their hands in Nazi salutes. When Leslie White—Holocaust Studies teacher at Tarbut V’Torah and Director of Education at JFCS Holocaust Center—heard what happened, she stepped up to teach the students about the Holocaust and help them understand the significance of what they had done and they symbols they had invoked. White’s account of these events offers educators rich insights into the continuing importance of Holocaust education, as well as the pedagogical approaches that are most effective—and vital—in this time of rising hatred.

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Topics: Antisemitism, Holocaust and Human Behavior, Holocaust Education

Ready or Nought, it’s Time to Face Race in the UK

Posted by Aneira Roose-McClew and Amran Farah on March 19, 2020

Tonight sees the third episode of the BBC’s adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s book Noughts and Crosses. The first two episodes received incredibly positive reviews - even from many who found it uncomfortable viewing - alongside, perhaps predictably, negative ones: a minority of reviewers even went so far as to say it was ‘anti-British’ and ‘anti-white’ and ‘a masterclass in ‘race-baiting’. The series release comes at a time when people in the UK are finally starting to talk about race: the hounding of Meghan Markle by the tabloid press, the rise in racism since the Brexit vote, the BBC’s treatment of Naga Munchetty and the subsequent fall out, and the work of writers such as Reni Eddo-Lodge are just some of the things that have pushed combating racism higher on the agenda. It is no longer easy to look the other way and feign ignorance about the structural racism operating in society, which prioritises the needs, experiences and interests of white people at the expense of people of colour, but there is still so much work to do. The TV series has arrived at a critical time and its existence will no doubt contribute to the dialogue about race, encouraging the action that we need if we are to create a fair, just society that serves all of its citizens.

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Topics: United Kingdom, race

New Books on Women's History and Movements

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on March 11, 2020

Continue your own learning on women’s history with these five new books written by scholars and public intellectuals passionate about the experiences and contributions of women. Below, publishers provide a sense of what to expect from each title:

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Topics: Women's History Month

Teaching in the Light of Women's History

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on March 6, 2020

Though we often think of Women’s History Month as a time to prioritize women’s voices and contributions in the classroom, this month is also a time to examine the profound ways in which women teachers, and broader perceptions of women, have shaped the teaching profession itself. From contemporary perceptions of the profession and the compensation of its workers, to the grounds for collective action that American teachers now enjoy, none can be understood outside the patriarchal context in which modern schooling emerged and women demanded justice. Examining this history offers not only a richer understanding of the challenges faced by today’s teachers, but reveals places where we must continue to disrupt patriarchal rhetoric if we are to cultivate school communities that do right by teachers and students. 

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Topics: Women's History Month

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Welcome to Facing Today, a Facing History blog. Facing History and Ourselves combats racism and antisemitism by using history to teach tolerance in classrooms around the globe.

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