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

Most history courses expect students to learn preexisting historical narratives. Many

students, however, do not see themselves or their communities reflected in these

narratives, or in the historians that tell them. The History Dialogues Project, a 2-part

research methods course, aims to equip learners with the tools and support they need to

carry out their own historical research projects and share the narratives that they create

with the wider world, thereby initiating dialogues within the global classroom and beyond.

This learning happens within a network of partner institutions around the globe, meaning

learners are constantly exchanging ideas, insights, and new knowledge with colleagues

near and far. The HDP’s work thus unfolds at several scales: learners develop valuable

transferable skills, including oral history methods, project design, and historical analysis,

and their research expands the range of voices narrating--dialoguing about--the global

past, contributing to new, shared knowledge about our history.

I founded this course in 2019 supported by Princeton's Global History Lab and it is still taught within the framework of the Lab and its partners around the globe. The transnational, digital setup helps students to problem solve together and gain confidence and facility interacting in a digital and international environment. The courses' highlights are the annual student conference and the History Dialogues Website.

A video describing the History Dialogues can be found here.
An article in German about the project can be found here.

History Dialogues Website

History Dialogues supports, guides, and shares original research by student-researchers around the world. By training them in oral history and other historical research methods, we help new voices become narrators of history, and expand conceptions of what history is, and who its authors are. We believe in the right to research and the power of historical inquiry to spark conversations and connections across borders. Visit the website to participate in the worldwide conversation about global history. 

Border-Crossing Annual Conference

An annual virtual student conference showcases the students' work, click on the button to see the last program. 

Teaching Awards

  • E-Learning UP Award 2021 for  „Social Online-Teaching at the University of Potsdam“ (2021)
  • Finalist of the teaching award of the state of Brandenburg  (2021)
  • Certificate of Excellence for Teaching, University of Potsdam, Germany (2020-1)


Courses Taught

  • A History of the World 1850 to the Present, BA Seminar, the University of Potsdam, 2020– 21. Taught together with Jeremy Adelman and Princeton’s Global History Lab at 18 partner universities on almost all continents within the OSUN network.
  • Refugees and (Forced) Migrants in Global History, BA Lecture, the University of Potsdam, 2020-21.
  • The Cold War in Africa, MA Seminar, the University of Potsdam, 2020–21.
  • Oral Tradition, Oral History, and Life History in African History, MA Seminar, the University of Potsdam, 2020-21.
  • History Dialogues Project, BA Seminar, the University of Potsdam, 2020. History Dialogues is a history methods research seminar that provides students with the theoretical background and practical skills needed to plan and carry out an independent historical research project. It was taught online to students in Germany, France, Uganda, Greece, Iraq, Spain and the United States and culminated in a global online student conference on border crossing and a website featuring select student projects.
  • Processes of Refuge Seeking in 20th Century Africa and Beyond, MA Seminar, the University of Potsdam, 2020.
  • International Organizations: The History and Historiography of the Organization of African Unity, MA Seminar, the University of Potsdam, 2020.
  •  „Sozialistische Bruderhilfe“: Vertragsarbeit in der DDR („Socialist Aid to Brother States“: Contract Labor in the GDR), BA Seminar, the University of Potsdam, 2020.
  •  History Dialogues Project, BA Seminar, Princeton University, 2019. I developed and piloted a blended learning course that connects online components on research methods and ethics with presence components supporting refugee learner and host country student teams in Rwanda, Kenya, and the MENA region to formulate their own history research projects. 
  • Afrikanische Migration in Globaler Perspektive (African Migration in Global Perspective), Historisches Seminar, MAS, Applied History, University Zürich, Switzerland, February 2nd, 2019.
  • Theorie, Methode und Geschichte der Geschichtswissenschaft (Theory, method and history of the academic discipline of history), BA Seminar, Freie Universität Berlin, (2018 – 19).
  • Processes of Refuge Seeking in 20th century Africa and beyond, MA Seminar, Masterstudiengänge Global History & Afrika Studien, Humboldt Universität und Freie Universität Berlin, (2018 – 19).
  • African Migrations in Global Perspective, MA Seminar, Masterstudiengänge Global History & Afrika Studien, Humboldt Universität und Freie Universität Berlin, (2018).
  • The Global History Lab, MOOC, Princeton University, NJ, Prof. Jeremy Adelman, ( 2016 – 17). 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. I received two weeks preparatory training about Higher Education in Emergencies by the University of Geneva in collaboration with the UNHCR.
  • 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.
  • English 101, Princeton Prison Teaching Initiative, Garden State Youth Correctional Facility, N.J., (2012). Co-taught 26 inmates college level English composition class.
  • Activism on Paper: Writing and Social Responsibility in the 21st Century, January Term class, Mount Holyoke College, (2009). 
  • Speaking, Arguing, Writing Mentor. Mount Holyoke College Weissman Center for Leadership and the  Liberal Arts, (2006 – 2009).