Do states have the right to restrict voter access? What is the role of courts in the ongoing debate over voting rights? State and local government? Everyday citizens? To what extent should we consider disproportionate racial impact as we analyze the constitutionality of voting rights laws today?
Through this Southern History Project curriculum, students respond to the above questions as they analyze the history and current debates relevant to the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The unit will culminate in an analysis and debate over both voter identification and felon disenfranchisement laws. Teachers will utilize a combination of direct instruction, document analysis, and student role plays to engage students in questions of citizenship, representation, and constitutional law.
Pakistan, South Sudan, Sykes-Picot and St. George, Louisiana: Geographic Challenges of Creating New Nations, States, and Communities
Are all borders artificial? How does the interaction of physical and human characteristics shape the development of and divisions among communities? This world geography curriculum, developed in partnership with scholars at Louisiana State and Tulane Universities, will examine the challenges of creating new borders and municipalities. The unit will span approximately two hundred years of history, examining the drawing of colonial borders separating India and Pakistan, Sudan and South Sudan, and the Sykes-Picot border. Students will build the geographic and historical thinking skills to critically analyze these case studies, relying on maps and a range of primary source documents to examine the relationship between colonial borders and political conflict.
The unit will culminate in a debate over a local controversy to develop a new border within East Baton Rouge Parish. Drawing upon students’ knowledge of border demarcation and its impact on communities throughout the world, they will connect global and local case studies of borders, division, conflict, and resource allocation.
This unit exposes students to the ways in which societies construct difference based on region, cultural practice, and history. Resources provide students with a core overview of world regional geography, engaging them in larger discussions of difference and the efforts of everyday people to overcome this difference.
The unit begins by exposing students to narratives of everyday people that complicate regional data. By analyzing the economic and geographic profiles of each continent, along with documentary films such as On the Way to School, they will discuss what writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie calls, “the danger of a single story,” and the role that single stories of a people play in constructing difference based on region.
Students will read about the roles of science and everyday experiences in constructing cultural frameworks–difference based on physical characteristics and cultural practices. Through a close reading of the text, Nacirema, as well as the photography exhibit, Delicatessen with Love, students will deconstruct the practices that they consider normal and imagine the world from another cultural framework.
Through excerpts from Peace Research Institute of the Middle East’s Side by Side: Parallel Histories of Israel-Palestine, students will identify parallels between historic and present racial divides in the United States and those between Arab and Jewish youth in the Middle East. They will debate the extent to which everyday people are capable of overcoming the differences that have been constructed for generations, and the power of humanizing the “other” in helping to overcome conflict. The unit will also integrate excerpts from Watch out for Flying Kids, as students analyze grassroots efforts to build community and connection across the divide of history.