Teaching

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Oral History Methods and Theory, 2009

 

Undergraduate Courses


2017+ Genocide in the Twentieth Century

Modern History, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Glasgow

In this module, students will engage with historical approaches to the study of genocide and related mass atrocities that have occurred in the 20th century. Case studies will include internationally recognized examples of genocide, such as the Armenian genocide of 1915-1922; the Holocaust in Nazi-occupied Europe from 1939-1945, and the 1994 Rwandan genocide, as well as more controversial examples, such as Germany’s ‘race war’ against the Herero and Nama peoples of modern-day Namibia from 1904-1908; the Khmer Rouge-perpetrated auto-genocide in Cambodia from 1975-1979; the scorched earth policies in Guatemala from 1981-1983; the ethnic cleansing and related atrocities that occurred during the Bosnian War from 1992-1995, and the Canadian residential school system that existed from 1867 to 1996. These case studies will provide a foundation for discussing contemporary issues related to the labelling of mass atrocities, the evolution of international legal, diplomatic, economic and military measures to prevent and punish the crime of genocide, and the commemoration of mass human rights violations, among other key themes within the broader field of genocide studies. In doing so, students will critically analyse the often conflicting accounts of survivors, bystanders, perpetrators, officials, and other parties to these conflicts to better comprehend the political, historical, and social processes that often influence historical approaches to the study of genocide and related atrocities, and their meaning for present generations.

2014+ Rwanda: Peace, Conflict, and the Politics of History Part I (V1466)

History, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Strathclyde

The purpose of this special subject is to introduce students to the study of peace, conflict, and the politics of history as related to Rwanda, a small nation in the Great Lakes region of Africa. Part I will proceed chronologically from the pre-colonial period to the start of the 2nd Hutu Republic in 1973. Students will analyse relevant primary and secondary sources to explore the benefits of applying a historical lens to understanding a nation whose history includes periods of peace and political stability, intermingled with episodes of state-sanctioned political and ethnic violence, from colonialism, small-scale ethnic, regional, and political conflicts, civil war and genocide.

 

2014+ Rwanda: Peace, Conflict, and the Politics of History Part II (V1467)

History, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Strathclyde

The purpose of this special subject is to introduce students to the study of peace, conflict, and the politics of history as related to Rwanda, a small nation in eastern Africa. Part II will proceed chronologically from the start of the 2nd Hutu Republic in 1973 to the present-day. Students will analyse relevant primary and secondary sources to explore the benefits of applying a historical lens to understanding a nation whose history includes periods of peace and political stability, intermingled with episodes of state-sanctioned political and ethnic violence, from colonialism, small-scale ethnic, regional, and political conflicts, civil war and genocide.

 

2014+ Genocide in the 20th Century (V1314/V1465)

History, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Strathclyde

In this seminar, students will be introduced to historical approaches to the study of genocide and related atrocity crimes that have occurred in the 20th century. Case studies will include clear-cut (recognized in international humanitarian law) examples of genocide, including the Armenian genocide; the Holocaust in Nazi-occupied Europe, and the 1994 Rwandan genocide, as well as less clear-cut examples, such as Canada’s Residential School System; Stalinist crimes in Soviet Russia; Khmer Rouge atrocities in Cambodia; the scorched earth policies in Guatemala; and ethnic cleansing surrounding the Bosnian War. These case studies will provide a foundation for discussing contemporary issues related to the labeling of cases, the evolution of international legal, diplomatic, economic and military measures to prevent, interdict and punish atrocity crimes, the phenomenon of genocide denial, and the memorialization of mass human rights violations.

 

2014+ Oral History Theory and Practice (V1378/V1456)

Scottish Oral History Centre, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Strathclyde

This class aims to alert students to the possibilities of using oral history as a valuable means of understanding the past. The first half of the class provides students with a solid understanding of key theoretical concepts and ethical considerations of relevance to oral historians and related practitioners. The second half of the class is focused on the practice of oral history, during which students design a mini oral history project, apply for ethics approval, and conduct, transcribe, and analyze an oral history interview.

 

2013 Ethnography of Political Violence (ANTH 403B)

Department of Anthropology, University of British Columbia

While the practice of ethnography is far from bound by single traditions of practice, theory and expression, Nancy Scheper-Hughes has criticized early ethnographers for orienting their readers “like so many inverse bloodhounds on the trail and on the scent of the good and the righteous” while ignoring the violence that impacted the daily lives of their participants [1]. As outsiders who sought to perceive the world through the eyes of their participants, ethnographers typically adhered to a philosophy of cultural and moral relativity. Faced with conflict and mass human rights violations, early ethnographers were then largely reluctant to take sides, inadvertently becoming bystanders to the violence that occurred around them.

In recent years, however, a growing number of ethnographers have responded to the “averted gaze” common to early ethnographies by tackling political violence in its various manifestations [2]. This course will explore this shift, beginning with the origins of ethnography in anthropological discourse, and then focusing on the methodology’s more recent application to communities afflicted by political violence. We will examine overt forms of political violence, such as war, genocide, and crimes against humanity, as well as more discreet everyday expressions, such as state neglect and the unequal distribution of risk. In doing so, we will address the following questions: What is political violence? What role does it play in contemporary society? How does it emerge and reproduce within a society? And to what effect? How does political violence impact the lives of civilians over time? And do ethnographic methods enable a more thorough understanding of political violence? Or are there limitations or critical ethical and methodological challenges that need to be acknowledged?

[1] Nancy Scheper-Hughes. 2002. “Coming to Our Senses: Anthropology and Genocide.” In Annihilating Difference: The Anthropology of Genocide, ed. A. Hinton, 348-381. Berkeley: University of California Press: 348-349.

[2] Toni Bringa. 2002. “Averted Gaze: Genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1992-1995.” In Annihilating Difference: The Anthropology of Genocide ed. A. Hinton, 194-228. Berkeley: University of California Press: 194.

 

2011 Ethnographic Research Methods (ANTH 3005)

Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton University

In this course, students will gain first-hand experience designing, implementing and presenting their own small-scale ethnographic research project. Initially, the course will be reading intensive, wherein students will learn about ethics and research design by reading and reflecting on select readings from the two required texts, as well as selections from classic ethnographic texts and films. We will address the following questions: What is ethnography? How does the ethnographer select a research topic and prepare to enter the field? How does s/he formulate a sound research design and apply for funding? What are the ethnographer’s ethical obligations to his/her informants? As part of the course requirements, students will be required to write a mock ethics application, which must be approved by the instructor before they will be allowed to proceed with their intended project.

In the second half of the course, the focus will shift to the small-scale qualitative research projects, with emphasis placed on the writing of ethnography, from fieldnotes to finished product. Students will familiarize themselves with the practice of ethnography, considering such questions as: How does the ethnographer prepare for the field? Once there, what is the ethnographer’s relationship to his or her participants? What are some of the benefits and limitations of ethnographic inquiry? What are some strategies for communicating the knowledge gained via ethnography to the public? And finally, how do we evaluate the ethnographic claims and writings of other ethnographers?

 

2010 The History and Sociology of Genocide, 1933 to the present (HIST360)

History and Sociology Departments, Concordia University.

This course will provide students with an overview of the theories and methods used to study mass human rights violations since the 1930s. The following case studies were discussed: the First Nations of Canada, the Jews, Romas and Sinti and other “undesirables” in Nazi-occupied Europe, ethnic minorities and other undesirables in Stalinist Russia, Japanese imperialism in China and Korea during World War II, the indigenous peoples of East Timor, the Hutu elites of Burundi, educated elites and ethnic minorities in Cambodia, the indigenous people of Guatemala, the Hutu moderates and Tutsis of Rwanda, the Bosnian Muslims in the former Yugoslavia, and African communities of the Darfur region.

 

2009 Oral History Methods and Theory

Concordia (Open) University, Sponsored by the Open University and L’Abri en Ville

This workshop is an experiment in providing university-level programming to adults who do not have the opportunity or means to attend university. Students learn the basics of practicing and creating oral histories. They receive basic training in oral history ethics, project design, interviewing, and writing, and implement their own small-scale oral history project.

 

Postgraduate Courses


2015-2017 Advanced Oral History (V1987)

History, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Strathclyde

This postgraduate course allows students to explore advanced oral history theory and practices as a valuable means of understanding the past. In weekly seminars, we will examine the advantages and limitations of oral history as both a research methodology and an outcome by reading and discussing key texts written by leading oral historians and related practitioners. In addition, students will gain practical experience designing and implementing a mini oral history project that will be directly related to their postgraduate dissertations. By the end of the semester, students will have submitted their dissertation project proposals for ethics approval, and gained preliminary experience in conducting and analyzing an interview of relevance to their eventual dissertation topic.

 

CERTIFICATIONS


2013-2015 Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Academic Studies

Centre for Learning and Development, University of Strathclyde.

 

2009 Certificate in University Teaching

Centre for Teaching and Learning Services, Concordia University.

 

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