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“Where is War? We are War.” Teaching and Learning the Human Experience of War in the Classroom

Toros, Harmonie, Dunleavy, Daniel, Gazeley, Joe, Guirakhoo, Alex, Merian, Lucie, Omran, Yasmeen (2018) “Where is War? We are War.” Teaching and Learning the Human Experience of War in the Classroom. International Studies Perspectives, 19 (3). pp. 199-217. ISSN 1528-3577. E-ISSN 1528-3585. (doi:10.1093/isp/ekx012) (KAR id:62597)

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How do we teach and learn the human experience of war? How far removed is this experience from a classroom? This article uses these questions as the starting point for an investigation into the presence/absence of war experience, the effects of narratives distancing war, and the consequences of challenging these narratives. It draws on the experience of an undergraduate module at the University of Kent that investigates the human experience of war in which students were asked to reflect on the question of distance between those living “war experiences” and their lives in a small British city. Unexpectedly in 2015, several students argued that this distance was the lecturer’s construction. By making war personal – without any of them having experienced a “warzone” – the students chose to argue that war was also their experience. This response directly challenges an established narrative in International Relations that the West has been essentially at peace since World War II, a narrative that obscures the fundamental role of war experience in the lives of ordinary citizens. It leads to a broadened understanding of war experience that has important conceptual, political, and normative implications in the study of war and on our political responsibility in the everyday.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1093/isp/ekx012
Uncontrolled keywords: War, Experience, Teaching, Talking Back, Everyday
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Harmonie Toros
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2017 14:37 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:47 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Toros, Harmonie:
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