Tom's Two Cents

Teaching Tolerance through TwHistory?

Teaching Tolerance through TwHistory?

One of the advantages of growing up as a global nomad is that I have lived for extended periods of time in a variety of countries. I have witnessed many different ways people speak, act, look, dress, and do things. I have learned to accept and even enjoy this diversity. As global exchanges of many kinds become more common I see an increased need for tolerance between people. One way to achieve tolerance in the face of cultural, political, and religious differences is to understand and appreciate the backgrounds and perspectives of others.

Tolerance and cultural appreciation can also be developed by exploring past events, noting one’s own historical cultural shifts as well as those of others. TwHistory.org is a project to create historical reenactments by researching journals and other primary source documents, and then sharing the events via Twitter, as if they were happening in the present. By setting up a Twitter account for each historical figure, individual perspective can be represented. Already, events such as the Battle of Gettysburg, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the failed attempt at German unification in 1848 have already been reenacted using Twitter. I think a cross-cultural historical reenactment would be a great next step. There are teachers and researchers interested in TwHistory in Germany, Switzerland, England and the USA — so I think an international TwHistory reenactment is possible. I see it as a way to work through difficult events, such as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Think of it as historical therapy. My hope is that by exploring different perspectives of the past we can move towards appreciating diversity and embracing tolerance in the present and future.

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