- 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?
Maria Bucur: What is difficult to understand about the "Common European Home" speech?
What’s difficult today is that this Common European Home concept doesn’t faze anybody anymore because they have this EU thing that everybody’s become accustomed to and nobody bats an eye at. The first time I read this, I thought this was like amazing and new and, you know, who had thought up this concept, but they’re completely, jaded. So trying to, rescue the sense of novelty in it is very difficult and I don’t think there’s any way to really do it because it’s sort of fake to say to a student, “imagine, you’ve never heard of this concept.”
And also that there’s certain absences in the speech and it’s very hard for students to do the kind of reading between the lines and the thinking about, well, what would be in a Soviet speech generally speaking and what’s missing from it? So it’s hard to pick up on some of the subtleties. So, for instance, the fact that the United States comes up once in the whole speech is a big deal and generally people don’t pick up on that.
One thing that is hard to wrestle out of a speech like the Gorbachev speech is the larger context in which it was produced. I mean, the speech was a live speech, so it had a certain audience in mind, you know, an intended audience and people interpreted it in a certain way when they were in the room versus when they were reading it in the Washington Post versus Pravda. And in what way in, say, Poland, Hungary, Romania. So to give the students a sense of both the kind of immediate context of intended audience and the actual audience, you know, the fact that he’s giving this speech in Strasbourg is important but they don’t necessarily pick up on that immediately and so one has to talk about kind of painting a picture of what would it be like to be in a room there listening to this. What do you think that he’s trying to convey? Is he speaking for the people in the room or for the cameras that are filming it and therefore is he creating a record for posterity or is this sort of like in a moment of engagement with the audience?