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TC to Debut New Curriculum on Vietnam War

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Teachers College will host a special four-day social studies course, “Vietnam Now,” which will include never-before-broadcast footage from the 1981 WGBH series “Vietnam: A Television History,” and live talks by a large cast of experts, including 1960s cultural historian Todd Gitlin and Vietnam War historian Charles Armstrong, both of Columbia University, and Vietnam War veteran and author W.D. Ehrhart.

The course, which will be offered from June 29th to July 2nd on the Teachers College campus in New York City, is targeted to secondary school and college educators, who will then adapt the curriculum for their own students. Members of the media are welcome and should contact Joe Levine at 212 678-3176. More information about “Vietnam Now,” including the full agenda for the four day course, can be viewed by clicking here. Additionally, a course syllabus can be downloaded here.

Margaret Crocco and Bill Gaudelli, faculty members in Teachers College’s Social Studies and Education program, designed the course. It is based on footage from a 13-part documentary on the Vietnam War produced by WGBH in Boston for public television during the 1980s. Crocco and Gaudelli have access to many additional hours of footage that have never been publicly shown.

Crocco, who previously led the creation of TC’s “Teaching The Levees “ curriculum, which also keyed off a documentary, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, by director Spike Lee, says the course will make use of a range of materials to explore shifts in historical perspective.

“It’s especially interesting to consider what we mean by ‘truth’ in the context of history and representation, and to help students understand that perspective is exceedingly important in the teaching and learning of history,” Crocco says.

Gaudelli adds that “Vietnam was really the last war in which the government did not regulate the access of the media, and it was a time during which television was bringing into Americans’ living rooms the truly brutal nature of war. Since then, governments everywhere have pretty much sanitized war coverage. So in many ways the curriculum is a commentary on how the media presents social issues today.”

The Vietnam digital library is funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded to the WGBH Media and Library Archives, the University of Massachusetts-Boston, and Columbia University. Columbia’s Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL), under the direction of Columbia and TC faculty member Frank Moretti, is the lead partner for Columbia with WGBH. CCNMTL is working with Teachers College, the Columbia School of Journalism and the Columbia University Department of History and Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures.

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