- 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 unique about viewing Ceausescu's last speech?
With the visual source you have the rawness of the crowd and of seeing the emotion of Ceausescu on his face and his body language and the noise, of course, I mean, the sound is really the most important part of this clip. It’s hearing the booing and the fact that it’s taking place. You’re witnessing it. The witnessing part is very important. It, I think, evokes very strong emotional reactions and a way of, you know, really empathizing with the people in the square.
There’s also the issue of how things are framed. We tend to identify with the camera and we tend not to think too much about how the image is framed and what’s left outside of that, you know, so this is the equivalent of reading between the lines and thinking about the background and context of a written source. Why is it that the camera is focusing on the crowd and particularly with the long shot and not individually on people? Why is that it’s looking away from people when they’re booing? And, you know, frankly, probably is a good idea because they might’ve ended up in jail, if you could see who was booing.
Why is it looking at Ceausescu in a particular way? Who is next to him? Maybe and we don’t see the balcony, you know, maybe there was somebody in there. Actually there was, but you can’t see that person. So it creates the sense, a false sense that you are witnessing reality that’s un-mitigated, unchanged by any kind of interpretation or any sort of kind of decision, choices made about what you’re not seeing. And that is, of course, the issue with photography and with film making in terms of documentaries always.
However, the angle of the camera is clearly above the crowd. You cannot really understand, visually what Ceausescu would’ve looked like from down below because in a sense people, you know, he was a teeny, tiny person on the balcony above. I mean, the people heard Ceausescu more than saw him. So people below in a way might’ve been emboldened to boo because he didn’t look kind of larger than life.