- Vladimir Tismaneanu: What source do you use in your classroom to help students understand the events of 1989?
- Vladimir Tismaneanu: How do you teach the letters found in Adam Michnik's book?
- Vladimir Tismaneanu: How do you teach Adam Michnik's book in the classroom?
- Vladimir Tismaneanu: How do you help your students interpret the passage you read about an independent, self-governing union?
- Bradley Abrams: How do you help students make sense of 1989?
- Bradley Abrams: What sources do you use to teach 1989?
- Bradley Abrams: What else is significant about the Declaration of the Creation of Charter 77?
- Bradley Abrams: How did the regime respond to Charter 77?
- Bradley Abrams: Why is the 28th of January remarkable?
- Bradley Abrams: How do you put the anti-Charter into context for students?
- Padraic Kenney: What is remarkable about the poem and the leaflet together?
- Padraic Kenney: How should students interpret the poem?
- Padraic Kenney: What is significant about the poem?
- Padraic Kenney: Does this poem help explain the strike?
- Padraic Kenney: How do you analyze the leaflet?
- Padraic Kenney: What is significant about the leaflet?
- Padraic Kenney: What sources help us understand the strikes?
- Maria Bucur: Is there a particular source that is important to study?
- Maria Bucur: How do students study 1989 in your classroom?
- Maria Bucur: What is difficult to understand about the "Common European Home" speech?
- Maria Bucur: What is important about Ceausescu's last speech?
- Maria Bucur: How do you help students understand Ceausescu's last speech?
- Maria Bucur: What is unique about viewing Ceausescu's last speech?
- Bradley Abrams: How do you use the Charter Declaration and the anti-Charter together with students?
Padraic Kenney: How do you analyze the leaflet?
There are several things that I think about and can think about when I come to a source like this. First of all, I’m a social historian, so I look at this not as a representation of a particular set of beliefs or an evocation of a particular ideology but I think about the people who produce it and the community that they’re a part of. And maybe the community of readership as well. Secondly, I’m interested in the moment that something is being created.
Maybe what’s useful is to think about the leaflet itself as an object that people are using by this point the same way they would use the walls of the city, which at this time were covered with anarchist symbols or with little pictures of elves which were quite a popular symbol across Poland. Or another symbol on this leaflet is a military helmet with flowers growing out of it. Flowers along with a military helmet suggests that kind of non-violence. And so maybe the leaflet is a surface like a wall only it’s a surface that you can distribute quite easily.
It’s a surface that, you can put anything you want on it which, by the way, is a kind of a radical break because paper in the underground world is something rather precious. You’ve got to beg, borrow, or steal it and there’s a lot of information that you want to get across that’s not in the official press. And so if you look at underground periodicals produced by Solidarity, they’re tight lines of text, very small, hard-to-read, hardly any margins. And here you’ve got room for graffiti. It’s also a way of saying: we’ve got the freedom to do with this paper whatever we want.