Experiments in Humanitarian Humanities

Trained in higher education in emergency settings, I had the pleasure of teaching refugee learners in Kakuma camp in the north of Kenya as part of Professor Jeremy Adelman's Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Global History Lab, from 2016 to 2017. This was a formative experience out of which my commitment to providing access to history learning in non-traditional settings arises. Humanitarian history-in-action (different from the history of humanitarianism) is a new field with much potential to which I am excited to contribute.

Global HIstory Lab at Kakuma Refugee Camp
Global HIstory Lab at Kakuma Refugee Camp

History Dialogues Project

The History Dialogues Project is an applied history online course (SPOC) that I developed with Professor Jeremy Adelman at Princeton University for refugee learners. It is a nine-month course designed to introduce students from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines to a toolbox of approaches to research, writing, and presenting that allows students to frame, conduct, and present their own history research projects under the guidance of the teaching staff. The classroom brings together refugee learners in camps and urban settings with host country students. In the pilot course in 2019, we had 23 students from 9 countries, residing in six different countries in Africa and the Middle East. 


This blended-learning course is divided into five segments ranging from research methodology and ethics to storytelling and supervised research, interpretation, and production of final outputs. Currently, four international partner institutions, including Kepler, Kiron, and the UNHCR, are involved. In addition to online class time and office hours with the lecturer, students receive intensive individual supervision through the involvement of three teaching assistants who interact both online and offline with the students.  


This course brings together students across countries, cultures, language barriers, and disciplinary boundaries to learn together and support each other in conducting their individual research projects and resulting presentations. The transnational, digital setup helps students not only to access this discussion and see through the eyes of their diverse classmates, but also to problem solve together and gain confidence and facility interacting in a digital and international environment.

A video describing the History Dialogues can be found here.

Past Courses Taught

  • Guest lecture and seminar. Afrikanische Migration in Globaler Perspektive [African Migration in Global Perspective], Historisches Seminar, MAS, Applied History, University Zürich, Switzerland, February 2nd, 2019.
  • Lecturer.  Theorie, Methode und Geschichte der Geschichtswissenschaft [Theory, method and history of the academic discipline of history], BA Seminar, Freie Universität Berlin, (Oct. 2018 – Feb. 2019).
  • Lecturer.  Processes of Refuge Seeking in 20th century Africa and beyond, MA Seminar, Masterstudiengänge Global History & Afrika Studien, Humboldt Universität und Freie Universität Berlin, (Oct. 2018 – Feb. 2019).
  • Lecturer.  African Migrations in Global Perspective, MA Seminar, Masterstudiengänge Global History & Afrika Studien, Humboldt Universität und Freie Universität Berlin,  (April – July 2018).
  • Assistant Instructor.  The Global History Lab, MOOC Princeton University, NJ, Prof. Jeremy Adelman, (June 2016 – May 2017).

I co-taught Global History 1300 - presented via edX. This massive open online course brought together students from Princeton, around the world, and select refugee camps in Kenya and Jordan to learn global history collaboratively through blended-learning in a global setting. As Super-Tutor for Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, I taught local tutors (2) and students (19) in the camp as well as online from Princeton and designed the appropriate material for the local tutors. 

  • Lecturer.  Migration and Integration in South America: How to Understand and Measure Migrant Integration, lecture given during the Summer School on Migration and Integration, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Prague Office, University of South Bohemia, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, Sept. 5, 2013.
  • Lecturer. English 101, Princeton Prison Teaching Initiative, Garden State Youth Correctional Facility, N.J., (Feb. – May 2012).

I co-taught a college level English composition class for 26 inmates. Responsibilities included teaching and grading.

  • Lead Instructor. Activism on Paper: Writing and Social Responsibility in the 21st Century, January Term class, Mount Holyoke College, (Jan. 2009).

I developed a guiding set of course goals and syllabus, reading list, writing assignments, discussion activities, lectures, and co-taught with Assistant Writing Center Coordinator.

  • Speaking, Arguing, Writing Mentor. Mount Holyoke College Weissman Center for Leadership and the  Liberal Arts, (Feb. 2006 – Jan. 2009).

I mentored 120 students in English, German, History, Russian and Eurasian Studies classes. I gave public speaking workshops, and held weekly individual sessions focusing on presentation skills and essay writing. I received semester long training in peer mentoring theory and practice.