A Guide to Using Divided We Fall in History Classrooms

Thank you for downloading this teaching companion for the documentary film, Divided We Fall. We are excited to offer you this resource and hope that you find it valuable and easy to use. The activities in this lesson are guidelines to inspire your

teaching; they may be applied flexibly. Visit our website http:// www.dwf-film.com/ for more lesson guides, multimedia, and supplemental resources. If you have any questions about this guide, please contact Jodi Elliott at jodi@dwf-film.com.

Intended Audience
The activities in this guide are designed for college level History courses, but they may be also used in undergraduate Sociology, Cultural Anthropology, and Communications classes, as well as high school history and civics classes. Students should have general awareness of the events surrounding the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. They should also have a basic understanding of the way society constructs its history through stories.

Lesson Objectives
Upon completion of the lesson, students will be able to: • • • • Recognize multiple perspectives in historical scholarship. Define dominant narrative (also known as grand narrative or master narrative) and subordinate narrative and apply these concepts. Compare and contrast dominant narratives and subordinate narratives as they pertain to September 11th. Evaluate and discuss new narratives, social memories, and the evolving history of September 11th.

Additionally, the lesson facilitates exploration of these questions: Who participates in creating, telling, interpreting, and receiving narratives about the collective violence and trauma of September 11th? How do the dominant and subordinate narratives of September 11th differ? How do people and institutions suppress the narratives of some individuals and communities? What are the consequences of this?

Teaching Tips
As you proceed through the lesson, make sure your students grasp the distinction between dominant narratives (the most widely represented and pervasive historical records) and subordinate narratives (less represented or silenced versions of history). If time is short, conduct Activities 1 and 2 in class, and assign Activity 3 as homework.

Activity 1
20MIN PERSPECTIVE & HISTORIOGRAPHY

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Ask students to draw a timeline of their lives on a piece of paper. The starting point should be birth and the ending point should be the date students are completing this activity. Tell students to fill in their timelines with 5 to 10 significant events in their lives. When the students are finished, ask them to share their events out loud. You might choose to keep a list of events on the board. When a student names something that multiple students have most likely experienced (i.e. “graduated from high school”) survey the class to see how many people included that event. For students who did not include the event, ask why they didn’t. Was it because they didn’t experience the event or because they didn’t think the event was important enough to include in their personal history? Eventually students will recognize that even if they share common experiences, not everyone sees or values these experiences in the same way. It’s a matter of perspective. Now that students have seen how personal perspectives influence the way we remember or record events, ask them how history is written. Who decides what is included? How might personal perspective influence how history is recorded? What are some examples in history where important events are quite different depending on who is telling the story? (Examples might include British imperialism in India, westward expansion in the United States, slavery, etc.) Ask students to turn to the part of their textbook that includes September 11, 2001. If your students do not have access to textbooks with a section on September 11th, ask students to find a recorded history of the event and bring this research to class. Read some of these histories aloud and discuss how the event was depicted. Questions to ask students might include: Does this seem like an accurate interpretation? Is this how you remember and/or understand the events? What has been left out of this history? What else might you include? What might someone else include? How might histories written in other countries differ? Show the film Divided We Fall.

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Written by Irene Yeh and Marisa Jackson Hedges. Produced by Mindgate Media. © 2011 New Moon Productions. All rights reserved.

Activity 2
30MIN DISCUSSION OF DOMINANT AND SUBORDINATE NARRATIVES

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Give students a copy of Handout 1 or project it onto a screen for all to see. Break up the class into small groups (4 to 5 students) and have them discuss the quote and the questions. After students have finished discussing, bring the class back together and discuss the questions as a group. Ask students to think of examples from history that can be interpreted through the differences between dominant and subordinate narratives.

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Written by Irene Yeh and Marisa Jackson Hedges. Produced by Mindgate Media. © 2011 New Moon Productions. All rights reserved.

Activity 3
60MIN REINFORCING THE CONCEPT OF DOMINANT & SUBORDINATE NARRATIVES

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Ask students to record their memories of September 11, 2001. Have them journal privately. Direct them by asking, What do you remember about this day? (For younger students ask, What do you know about this day?) Where did you get your information? After students have finished writing, tell students to save their responses for later in the lesson. Give Handout 2 (dominant narrative) to half of the class. This half will be Group A. Give Handout 3 (subordinate narrative) to the other half. This half will be Group B. Depending on your preference, students can answer each question individually on paper, or discuss answers collectively with the rest of their group. Divide students into pairs, one from Group A and one from Group B. Ask them to compare their answers to the questions they considered. Give students a copy of Handout 4 (A Comparison Between Dominant and Subordinate Narrative) or project it onto a screen for all to see. Use the questions on the handout to guide the discussion. Instruct students to take out their written reflections about September 11th from earlier in class. Ask them to re-read their responses while considering the dominant and subordinate narratives of September 11th. Ask, In what ways did the dominant and subordinate narratives of September 11th impact your own perspective of that day? Follow-up questions might include, Has your perspective on the history of September 11th changed?

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Written by Irene Yeh and Marisa Jackson Hedges. Produced by Mindgate Media. © 2011 New Moon Productions. All rights reserved.

Optional Assignments
REINFORCING THE CONCEPT OF DOMINANT & SUBORDINATE NARRATIVES

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Assign students to write a September 11th History Book for younger children. What details would they include? How would they illustrate the book? Ask students to write their personal history of September 11, 2001.

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Written by Irene Yeh and Marisa Jackson Hedges. Produced by Mindgate Media. © 2011 New Moon Productions. All rights reserved.

Handout 1
THE HISTORY OF 9/11: TWO STORYLINES
In the film, Valarie referred to “two storylines of America.” She described the impacts of September 11th and its aftermath on different communities in the United States:

The whole country came together as one. This was the great American story. But I was hearing a second story, drowned out by the anthem of national unity. This story traveled by word of mouth, through emails and phone calls. Americans were being beat up on city streets, Americans who looked like me, or my dad, or my grandfather. Threatened, chased, stabbed. And then a Sikh man was shot and killed. It felt so close, as if an uncle had been killed. How could both be the face of America, this unity, and this hatred?
a. What is the “second story” that Valarie refers to? b. Why are there two stories? c. Can both stories exist simultaneously? Is it possible for one story to be heard or prioritized over the other? d. Who are the people and institutions telling each of these stories? Who are the stories about? e. What other storylines about September 11th and its aftermath are less well represented, but important for people to know? Describe them.

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Written by Irene Yeh and Marisa Jackson Hedges. Produced by Mindgate Media. © 2011 New Moon Productions. All rights reserved.

Handout 2
THE HISTORY OF 9/11: TWO STORYLINES
Group A Think about the dominant narrative on September 11th. What do most people, and the media, generally say about the events and the aftermath of September 11th? Whose stories are central and valued in this narrative? Refer to the film, other sources, and/or your own experiences to answer these questions:

a. What elements of this narrative are important and valuable to you, your community, to others, and to society? How can we, as individuals and a society, recognize the suffering and the resilience of the victims, survivors, and their families and friends?

b. Who are the individuals or institutions promoting this narrative? Who (what individuals, communities, and social groups) is this narrative about?

c. What makes this the “dominant” narrative? How frequently do you learn about it, and how much information is commonly shared and in what detail? How does this narrative, by virtue of being the most widely represented one, affect members of different minority and majority communities?

d. What do you want people to remember about September 11th, its aftermath, and the people whose lives it impacted?

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Written by Irene Yeh and Marisa Jackson Hedges. Produced by Mindgate Media. © 2011 New Moon Productions. All rights reserved.

Handout 3
THE HISTORY OF 9/11: TWO STORYLINES
Group B Think about Balbir Singh Sodhi’s story. What do we know about Balbir Singh’s murder and life story? What do we generally know about the post-September 11th backlash and hate violence? Whose stories are central and valued in this narrative? Refer to the film, other sources, and/or your own experiences to answer these questions:

a. What elements of this narrative are important and valuable to you, to others, your community, and society? How can we, as individuals and a society, recognize the suffering and the resilience of the victims, survivors, and their families and friends?

b. Who are the individuals or institutions promoting this narrative? Who (what individuals, communities, and social groups) is this narrative about?

c. What makes this the “subordinate” narrative? How frequently do you learn about it, and how much information in this narrative is commonly shared and in what detail? How does this narrative, by virtue of being a less represented one, affect members of different minority and majority communities?

d. What do you want people to remember about September 11th, its aftermath, and the people whose lives it impacted?

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Written by Irene Yeh and Marisa Jackson Hedges. Produced by Mindgate Media. © 2011 New Moon Productions. All rights reserved.

Handout 4
A COMPARISON BETWEEN DOMINANT AND SUBORDINATE NARRATIVE
a. In each narrative, what information was the most accessible and common? What types of sources provided most of the information that you used? Why do you think some types of information or sources were more common than others?

b. What are the similarities and differences between these two narratives?

c. What are the common underlying themes in both narratives?

d. How are the people who have been impacted by September 11th and its aftermath from the two narratives —their communities, their experiences, and their positions in society—particular and different?

e. In what ways can people interpret these narratives as conflicting or opposing? What is the relationship between the two overarching narratives about September 11th? Are there ways that both narratives inform and complement the other?

f. What other narratives do you think are important to understanding the events and aftermath of September 11th, and how they shape the ways we can build a just and safe future society?

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Written by Irene Yeh and Marisa Jackson Hedges. Produced by Mindgate Media. © 2011 New Moon Productions. All rights reserved.

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