Course Case Study List

Alexis Lerner
University of Toronto

This upper-level undergraduate course introduced students to data science and applied statistics, with the focus on learning to analyze data through quantitative methods, research design and ethics, and digital humanities tools. Students learned to build datasets from archival material, and to form their own arguments based on data. The USC Visual History Archive was one of the datasets used for this purpose.

Dana Powell, Associate Professor of Anthropology
Appalachian State University

This upper-level undergraduate seminar focused on the field of Native American/Indigenous studies as both a body of critical theory and a form of cultural critique. Interdisciplinary in nature, the seminar examined the theories and major questions in the field, with a deliberate departure from a typical area-studies approach. Major emphasis was put on settlement and resistance in North America, but also in Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania.

Alyssa Maria Mathias
University of California, Los Angeles

Offered through UCLA's Collegium of University Teaching Fellows program, this course focuses on historical and contemporary cases of refugee migration, with an emphasis on the musical activities of refugees. While centering on refugee music from the Middle East, the course also covers the music of Southeast Asian and Central American refugee communities in Southern California, music education in refugee camps in Guinea and Kenya, and the music of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany. 

Robin Kirk; Andrea Peto; Peter Berczi; Robert Parnica
Duke University; Central European University, Open Society Archives

This joint online collaborative interdisciplinary research seminar focuses on novel ways of thinking about “the archive.” Dealing with the issues of archives, memory, and human rights, the course’s main question concerns the reasons why some knowledge about the past is preserved and other knowledge is not. The course is organized so as to give the students a “hands-on” experience with working with the archive by introducing them to particular examples of archives, such as the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive.

Colin Keaveney, Assistant Professor, French and Italian
University of Southern California

Professor Keaveney’s upper level French course explores themes of love, loss, collective and personal memory, and modernity through readings of French literary texts, theoretical readings, films, poems, and songs. One of the texts used in the class is the French novel Dora Bruder, which tells the story of a young girl who was sent to Auschwitz. The book combines different aspects of memory, loss, life, chronology, and French history, and reconstructs what the girl’s life may have been like, even though very little is known about her.

Dawn Skorczewski; Bettine Siertsema; Dienke Hondius
Brandeis University; Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

For two years, in two different courses, we have asked students to use the USC Shoah Foundation archives for research projects. Our students have worked at Brandeis University and at the VU Amsterdam. Dawn Skorczewski is English professor at Brandeis University. Philosopher Bettine Siertsema and historian Dienke Hondius teach at the VU Amsterdam. Hondius also works at the Anne Frank House.

Aletta Forrás-Biró
Eötvös Loránd University

During the course students learn how to integrate testimonies of the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive in their teaching for anti-bias and anti-discrimination education.

Carolyn Ellis, Professor of Communication and Sociology
University of South Florida

Professor Ellis offers a graduate seminar that engages students to cultivate the ability to think with and about testimonies of loss, trauma, and disruption, within the dialectic of intimacy and distance. The course requires students to listen to stories of trauma and relate them to their lives and experiences. This is done by examining the rhetorical and social aspects of the story as told; analyzing the cultural, structural, and other sociological patterns in trauma stories and testimonies; and connecting the stories and experiences to historical and political contexts.

Adam Seipp, Assistant Professor of History
Texas A&M University

Professor Seipp teaches a senior-level research seminar on the Holocaust for history majors. For faculty members whose primary interests fall outside of the United States, he says, “Identifying primary sources in English for seminar students can be an insurmountable challenge. Since 24,823 of the testimonies are in English, the VHA offers a potential solution for those teaching classes in a range of areas.”

Martin Lücke, Professor of Didactics of History
Freie Universität Berlin

Professor Lücke teaches a course for students interested in becoming secondary history teachers in Germany. An important component in this course is an eight-week internship in which the teachers in training have to implement a complete project for integrating testimonies in their history classes. In the course of their internships, the teachers in training invite 60 high school students ages 16 to 18 to visit the Freie Universität Berlin on three separate occasions to watch testimonies from the VHA and interact with the teachers in training about the content.

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