Dauge-Roth’s course on teaching genocide highlighted in International Educator

An image from the 2009 Bates visit to Rwanda for the course “Learning with the Orphans of the Rwanda Genocide.”

In its story about teaching genocide, International Educator features the Bates course “Learning with Orphans of the Rwandan Genocide,” taught by Associate Professor of French Alex Dauge-Roth.

Writer Dana Wilkie frames the challenge of teaching genocide this way: “How does a university program…address the power of political regimes and demagogues bent on inciting the sort of hatred that leads one people to commit atrocities against another?”

Dauge-Roth, who conducts ongoing research in Rwanda and directs the nonprofit Friends of Tubeho, offers an answer by first noting that “we all have defenses that allow us to intellectualize” horrific acts like genocide.

“But when there’s more intimate proximity with the human effects of genocide, the way you relate to such events shifts radically,” he says.

In the case of Dauge-Roth’s course, he and students travel to Rwanda, where students partner with orphans of the 1994 genocide to create oral histories and other documentary resources.

Achieving this kind of “intimate proximity” (which is the title of the article), creates “ways to move on and to create connections and dialogues” to prevent future genocide.