International workshop focuses on teaching difficult aspects of African history

Millions of people of African descent who live in different societies across the world trace their history back to Africa. Yet there is still a profound silence in the curricula and the manuals of primary and secondary schools about the crucial historical events that shaped modern societies, especially the slavery of millions of Africans.

Starting today, and continuing to Nov. 7, the “Teaching African History and African Diaspora History” workshop at York will offer a forum where participants can learn about developing pedagogic materials and innovative strategies to teach about slavery, the slave trade and the African diaspora through the teaching of African history. Hosted by the Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples, it will take place in the Founders Assembly Hall, 152 Founders College on York’s Keele campus.

The workshop will spotlight a range of expertise from Africa, Europe and the Americas. Registration is open, free of charge, to interested participants.

New educational techniques and greater accessibility to teaching materials, in large part prompted by initiatives by the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO), have helped to promote curricular reform and to contribute to a better understanding of the slavery of millions of people and the social consequences of racism. The workshop will move educators from confronting this history of slavery to the teaching of African history. Participants will also analyze current teaching materials and explore how the teaching program at the primary and secondary levels can be improved.

The workshop is organized within UNESCO’s International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures and paves the way for 2011, which has been designated the International Year for People of African Descent. It is sponsored by the UNESCO Slave Route Project, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and the Program del Olvido a la Memoria UNESCO-University of Costa Rica.

For further information and to register for this workshop, visit  the Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples website.