Internationalisation of the teaching of History

Name

Roger Griffin

School/Department

History

Activity

Essay writing: rather than set essay topics on modules I run on fascism, terrorism, and modernity, all students generate their own title negotiated with me which reflects their own interests, knowledge, background and experience. This encourages students to make their non-English ethnicity and culture an asset rather than a deficit.

Group

N/A

Aim

To draw on the experience and perspectives gained by living in non-UK culture and speaking a non UK language as much as possible

Context/Background

The presence of non-UK residents in my modules and the existence of many non-UK aspects to my topics (which are already international),

Example

In my current module I student has chosen to explore fascism in Mexico because he grew up there, while the other is looking at fascism in Brazil, because she is Brazilian (both are finding the experience thrilling). On the same module a Muslim woman is studying the |Nazi treatment of woman as an example of an alternative modernity, a theme illuminated by her own experience of Muslim society.

Results/Feedback

Students from outside the UK who select topics close to their passion or experience tend to welcome the opportunity to revisit their own history from a new vantage point. Their presence also enriches seminar discussion.

Other comments

The key to internationalizing syllabuses is to realize that nearly all subjects, even the most apparently parochial and “English” ones, have an inbuilt comparative/international/generic dimension or relevance, and to see this as a resource at modular teaching level. Internationalization is a state of mind on the part of the lecturer and institution, one that sees even the most narrowly national phenomena as one symptom of a universal experience or issue.

Further Information

Please email rdgriffin@ brookes.ac.uk