Preserving and Interpreting Knowledges of the Past and Promoting Social Justice

Course Description: 

(Joint online collaborative course with Duke University in the framework of CEU Civic Engagement Initiative)

Cross-listed with Legal Studies, Cultural Heritage Program

The on-line collaborative interdisciplinary research seminar will introduce students to various emergent approaches to thinking about “the archive” – that is, in the broadest sense, records of the past – and to question how some knowledges about the past get preserved and some repressed. It will look at the issue of archives, memory, and human rights, introducing students to various emergent approaches to thinking about the past and its role in shaping the present. The syllabus is organized around topics and interdisciplinary approaches that are of interest in a wide range of fields including history, public history and museum studies, Holocaust and genocide studies, literature and cultural studies, critical legal studies, gender studies, and film studies. This seminar will also involve simultaneous teaching on both sites. Most class sessions will be joint sessions with classrooms at Duke and at CEU connected through video/internet technologies. Students will discuss their research projects about their hands on experience working in/with an archive such as for example setting up an LGBTQIT archive in Budapest.

We will introduce specific examples of archives, such as the Open Society Archives, the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive, and others, so as to give students “hands-on” experiences with exploring archives, and to offer possibilities for developing a focused project. Students will also meet members of the counter memory movement to the “Monument of Occupation” on Liberty sq.

We will also discuss and draw on other archives that may include written personal narratives (such as memoirs and letters), the records of human rights organizations and human rights activists, visual/oral interviews (such as, but not limited to, the Visual History Archive), documentary photography and film, artistic works, records of political tribunal testimonies, and colonial archives.

Students are encouraged to pursue their own archive-related research projects in the seminar. (See description of recommended project in a separate section.) Results of their work will be presented at the end of the course. The student projects at CEU are part of Civic Engagement Initiative. 

Learning Outcomes: 

● Introduce students to various emergent approaches to thinking about "the archive"
● Question how some knowledges about the past get preserved and some repressed
● Give students a "hands-on" experience of exploring an archive
● Offer possibilities for developing a focused research project
● Rethink their own individual research projects in terms of our critical discussion of the archive
● Rethink their ideas/projects from an interdisciplinary perspective
● Address question of how gendered perspectives on the archive have affected their approach to knowledge
● Explore link between memory, archives and social justice.

Assessment: 

REQUIREMENTS

A. READING NOTES (4) (Requirement for 2, 3 and 4 credits)

Reading notes should be about 500 words long and are due for the week’s readings on the Moodle forum by midnight on SUNDAY CET in preparation for our class. Be strategic when choosing which class to contribute. You have six options. No late notes will be accepted. Appearance is important, so please take advantage of spell and grammar-check! React to the materials and show us that 1) you have read them, and 2) you have an opinion about them that reflects the themes of this course. Use this as a testing ground for ideas that may develop into a research project. It’s helpful to print a copy of your notes and bring them to class for discussion. Instructors will respond to each original submission (and follow-up conversations as appropriate). It’s best to do the readings for the week – and discuss them in your notes – in the order that they appear in the syllabus. Make sure each assignment is reflected in your notes.

Tips for notes:
1. Be strategic. For example, after you've done the required readings, think of the key arguments and how they were supported. Formulate your reactions to these arguments in your posts.
2. Make postings concise and purposeful.
3. You may post your thoughts about the readings fresh or read and react to others' postings, so long as you cover each assignment. Another strategy is to look for postings that you feel would benefit from further elaboration. You can also pose specific questions about particular readings that you'd like us to pursue further in class discussion or online.
4. If you disagree with your instructors or classmates, make the context clear. If you include a quotation from your classmates' original message, be specific about the details. Remember to disagree respectfully and support your point with evidence, but do not feel reluctant to offer a different interpretation.
5. It's fine to refer to outside materials in your posts (articles, videos, movies) but be sparing and specific. If you do refer to something from outside the class, make sure to provide a link.
6. Add value to the conversation by including questions for further discussion, then check back to see how others have reacted. Treat the Forum as an evolving conversation.
7. It's fine to use reading notes to write the final paper required for the class for 4 credits.
8. Enjoy yourself! This online collaboration comes with many benefits, including learning from your peers in Budapest/Durham. Use the time productively to refine your ideas about the course content!

B. PERSONAL ARCHIVAL OBJECT (Requirement for 2, 3 and 4 credits) (total hours: 25)
Create a single Powerpoint slide as a way to introduce yourself to the class. This should include important details about you and a photo of an object that is important to you. This is part a recognition that we all have history, overlapping identities and perspectives and part a way to see ourselves as subjects of a specific time, place and set of origins. This assignment requires you to choose a representation of something of importance to you, your family, your community/ies or your nation and write about it. Please make sure your personal history is something you are comfortable sharing with the class. Due on 30 September by 5 pm CET

C. PROJECT AND PRESENTATION (Requirement for 2, 3 and 4 credits)
Each student should submit an abstract (500 words max.) of a project that most closely reflects his/her research interests by 12 October 12 CET to the Moodle. Students are receiving feedback from the instructor and from representative of the respective archive.
The presentation in Week 11 and 12 in alphabetical order should reflect the intersection between the individual projects of the students and the larger themes and questions that the course is addressing. The project might result in an online exhibit or tour, a historical map on Google or some other format, a timeline or an image display. We are also asking students to engage with where the respective universities are located in a meaningful way in line with CEU's mission of community engagement.
Topics must correspond to the following themes: right to be forgotten, starting an Archive, archiving the open society, fight for social justice, performing and preserving counter memories.

B. PERSONAL ARCHIVAL OBJECT (Requirement for 2, 3 and 4 credits) (total hours: 25)

Create a single Powerpoint slide as a way to introduce yourself to the class. This should include important details about you and a photo of an object that is important to you. This is part a recognition that we all have history, overlapping identities and perspectives and part a way to see ourselves as subjects of a specific time, place and set of origins. This assignment requires you to choose a representation of something of importance to you, your family, your community/ies or your nation and write about it. Please make sure your personal history is something you are comfortable sharing with the class. Due on 30 September by 5 pm CET

C.PROJECT AND PRESENTATION (Requirement for 2, 3 and 4 credits)

Each student should submit an abstract (500 words max.) of a project that most closely reflects his/her research interests by 12 October 12 CET to the Moodle. Students are receiving feedback from the instructor and from representative of the respective archive.

The presentation in Week 11 and 12 in alphabetical order should reflect the intersection between the individual projects of the students and the larger themes and questions that the course is addressing. The project might result in an online exhibit or tour, a historical map on Google or some other format, a timeline or an image display. We are also asking students to engage with where the respective universities are located in a meaningful way in line with CEU’s mission of community engagement.

Topics must correspond to the following themes: right to be forgotten, starting an Archive, archiving the open society, fight for social justice, performing and preserving counter memories.