Monday, April 29, 2013

Practical Guidance for Teaching a Difficult Subject

One of the reasons ABC-CLIO created its newest online resource Modern Genocide: Understanding Causes and Consequences is to help students better understand and help educators better teach this difficult and complex topic. Despite general agreement that the subject of genocide should be covered in high school and college classrooms in the United States, aside from coverage of the Holocaust, the larger topic of genocide is often omitted from textbooks, leaving educators with little support in tackling this sensitive subject.
The below excerpt is a sample lesson taken from the Support Center which is included with all ABC-CLIO Online Solutions. If you are not already a subscriber to the Modern Genocide online resource, sign up for a 30-day trial today to gain access to the articles in this lesson and much more.

In this lesson, you will learn about the problems surrounding the definition of genocide by examining key documents which are commonly used to define genocide and examining categories and wordings in these documents that complicate the matter at hand. You will also closely look at a genocidal event to examine the problems that have arisen in defining genocide.

Resources: Access to Modern Genocide, including the following:

•    Holocaust [Entry ID: 1771182]
•    Armenian Genocide [Entry ID: 1691734]
•    Rwandan Genocide [Entry ID: 1765743]
•    The Eight Stages of Genocide (1996) [Entry ID: 1771570]
•    Graphic Organizer: 3-Column Table.
     •     Available in the documents section of this lesson.

Activity 1: Day 1
At the beginning of the class session, read the following two documents closely.

• UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948)
• The Eight Stages of Genocide (1996)

Consider the differences in how these documents define the concept of genocide. Also, consider the years these were written and the events that might have recently occurred during that time that shaped how the people who wrote these documents viewed or thought about genocide. Write the different categories identified in these documents regarding potential victims of genocide as well as the exact wording (i.e., Article 2 in the UN Convention) as to what criteria is necessary for an event to be considered a genocide.

Having read these documents, answer the following questions:

·    UNCG Article 2 states that genocide requires the "intent to destroy"? What might be some of the problems in regards to proving "intent"?
·    Article 2 also stipulates that there must be a concerted effort at the destruction of "in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group." What might be the issue with the phrasing "in part"? How does the Eight Stages of Genocide model engage these issues?
·    Consider other items discussed in UNGC Article 2. What would be some challenges in attempting to prove any of these acts? For example: "Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part."
·    Why would groups based on political affiliation, gender, or sexuality not be included in the UNCG definition? Consider the time it was written. How does the Eight Stages model discuss these groupings?
·    Why is it important to continue to study the causes and consequences of genocide in the 21st century? Considering the wording of the Eight Stages of Genocide model, how has the definition of genocide continued to evolve over time?

After a few minutes, your teacher will bring the class together to discuss the answers to these questions.

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