UM-Flint to offer summer workshop on Holocaust and Rwanda Genocide

FLINT — This summer the University of Michigan-Flint will host a workshop focused on using Holocaust and Rwanda genocide testimonies in research and education.

Working with UM-Flint’s Thompson Library, Dr. Theodosia Robertson, Associate Professor Emerita of History; Dr. Dauda Abubakar, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Political Science; and Dr. Kenneth Waltzer, a past Winegarden Visiting Professor at UM-Flint and Professor Emeritus and former Director of Jewish Studies at MSU, will present five days of instruction, from July 13 to 17, for area educators, graduate students, and community members interested in studying or teaching genocide materials. Participants may choose the three-day secondary educator track or the five-day intensive research track. SCECH credits are available for teachers.

Much of the workshop will focus on UM-Flint’s access to the USC Shoah Foundation‘s database of audio and visual testimonies from survivors and witnesses of genocides. Over 52,000 video testimonies of the Holocaust alone are housed within the database. According to Emily Newberry, Web Services Coordinator and Reference Librarian at the Thompson Library, “We are one of the few institutions in the world who subscribe to the Shoah Visual History Archive through our subscription with Ann Arbor.

Participants will have full access while they are here, to use the archive and learn how to use testimonies with the full database. After they leave, they may either come back or use it as a guest, or they can access a subset of freely available videos called VHA Online. Secondary educators have access to an educational module tool called iWitness, which also uses this free subset of videos in a format where they are included within modules for classroom use.”

When asked about the impetus for this workshop series, Dr. Robetson said,

“The Summer Workshop on Testimony evolved from Professor Ken Waltzer’s appointment in 2012-2013 as Winegarden Visiting Professor at UM-Flint. In 2013, the summer after Ken’s Winegarden year, he and I, together with Emily Newberry, mounted the first Workshop. We had great support from CAS, the Provost, and Library Director, Bob Houbeck. This year promises to be even better. Dauda has joined us and participants can examine testimonies from Rwandan genocide as well. Our goal is to help teachers and scholars understand the value and use of testimony in both teaching and research.”

The workshop objectives include expanding information literacy and critical skills that aid teaching and research with testimony; increasing use of iWitness in the classroom; and raising awareness among both educators and the Flint community about survivors of genocide. Says Dr. Abubakar, “It is anticipated that secondary and college educators, graduate students and researchers will learn . . to comprehend the social, political and historical contexts of the Holocaust and Rwanda genocide.

Details: Call 810-424-5302. — G.G.

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