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Implementing Diversity in the Classroom: Challenging Collective Memory. Rose Fine-Meyer, PhD ( Kate Zankowicz , PhD Candidate ( Strategies for Implementing an Inclusive Lens.

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implementing diversity in the classroom challenging collective memory

Implementing Diversity in the Classroom:Challenging Collective Memory

Rose Fine-Meyer, PhD (

Kate Zankowicz, PhD Candidate (

The materials used in this presentation are for educational purposes only and not for publication. All sources have been cited; content is subject to approval for further use

strategies for implementing an inclusive lens
Strategies for Implementing an Inclusive Lens
  • Avoid tokenism: authentic inclusion involves questioning the standard cultural lens
  • Avoid ‘heroism’: the lives of everyday individuals and community-based achievement is historically significant
  • Naming the names: avoid categorizations of people
  • Women, indigenous communities, ‘minority’ cultures are embedded in local and global histories
  • Starting a lesson with what is often a peripheral narrative as your central beginning point is a holistic strategy for inclusion

Fine-Meyer and Zankowicz, 2012

viewing racism sexism cultural ableist biases of the past
Viewing Racism/Sexism/Cultural /Ableist Biases of the Past
  • “People were just stupid back then...”
  • Identifying false equity: “we’re all equal now”
  • Be critical of the ‘progress’ myth [“the present is best”]
  • Allow people of the past their own equity conscience and agency [“they were all racist back then...”]
  • The ‘distortion argument’: including diverse voices does not constitute a distortion of the past—it’s honest history!
  • Avoid victimization narratives: acknowledge various empowerments

Fine-Meyer and Zankowicz, 2012

how to connect to historical thinking concepts in the new curriculum
How to Connect to Historical Thinking Concepts in the New Curriculum
  • Establish historical significance
  • Use primary source evidence
  • Identify continuity and change
  • Analyze cause and consequence
  • Take historical perspectives
  • Understand ethical dimension of historical interpretation
  • Source: Historical Thinking Project (

Fine-Meyer and Zankowicz, 2012

pedagogical steps to take
Pedagogical Steps to Take
  • Seek out multicultural, multi-ethnic narratives
  • Materials that support multiple voices, values, gender, culture, identity, belief systems
  • Arts-based materials for history classes [music, drawing, sculpture, architecture etc.]
  • Teacher knowledge and learning: learn those stories
  • Local and global perspectives about history should be integrated: move beyond the standard Eurocentric or North American-centric framework
  • Know the missing voices: who gets left out of the historical account?
  • Oral testimony, artifacts: look beyond the written document [an embedded cultural bias]

Fine-Meyer and Zankowicz, 2012

  • Community-based interviews, oral histories, first-person
  • Partnerships with public libraries, community centres, places of worship, museums, archives, retail stores [culturally diverse communities]
  • Recognize the diversity of the students in the class [diversity is already there]
  • Use of technology [access cultural sites]
  • Encourage students to see themselves as diverse historical subjects [self-curating exercises]
  • Complicate the binary structure of historical narratives [Us vs. Them, Good vs. Bad] challenging notions of citizenship
  • Provide deep historical context

Fine-Meyer and Zankowicz, 2012

unidentified woman 1875 f 2076 16 4 5 upper canada history archives of ontario i0028818
Unidentified woman [1875 F 2076-16-4-5 Upper Canada History: Archives of Ontario, I0028818,]

How Do Historians Find Voices

From The Past? The Ethical Choices

In Historical Interpretation

Fine-Meyer and Zankowicz, 2012


Title page, Benjamin Drew, A North-Side view of slavery. The Refugee: or the Narratives of the Fugitive Slaves in Canada, Boston: John P. Jewett, 1856

  • Sophia Burthen Pooley: First-person account of slavery in Upper Canada-- historian Adrienne Shadd
  • Pooleysays, “There were hardly any white people in Canada then – nothing here but Indians and wild beasts... I was a woman grown when the first governor of Canada came from England: that was Gov. Simcoe.”

Fine-Meyer and Zankowicz, 2012

Joseph Brant, (Thayendanegea)Chief of the Six NationsReference Code: S 2076Archives of Ontario, I0013621Digging Deeper
  • Celebrated Mohawk leader who allied with the British during the War of 1812, American Revolutionary War. Chief of Six Nations
  • Alan Taylor’s The Civil War of 1812
  • Sophia Burthen Pooley’smaster
  • Teacher resources for War of 1812 see

Fine-Meyer and Zankowicz, 2012

History is Complicated Advertisement, Niagara Herald, 28 August, 1802Reference Code: N23Archives of Ontario

Fine-Meyer and Zankowicz, 2012

complicating the great war narrative
Complicating the Great War Narrative

“World War I gave women the opportunity to work in factories”

“Women were nurses”

“Men were “soldiers/ warriors”

“All Canadians supported the war effort”

“Internment camps only happened in World War II”

“Those who survived are the lucky ones”

“War is in the trenches”

“Diverse communities played a supportive role”

“Women got the vote because of the war”

“The Roaring Twenties brings happiness to everyone”

Fine-Meyer and Zankowicz, 2012


The Diversity of Women’s Contributions to the War Effort [Lois Allen Camp in Winona On 1918, NLA, MG 30-C173; Red Cross ambulance, Toronto Archives Fonds 1244 item 885]

Fine-Meyer and Zankowicz, 2012


Knowing the UnknownHattie Rhue-Hatchett (1863-1958): The Sacred Spot Marching Song Buxton National Historic Site and Museum: From It Was Their War Too, Pat Staton

Fine-Meyer and Zankowicz, 2012

Women in a Textile Plant1908Women in a Textile Plant, 1908, City of Toronto Archives/James Collection: 137/SC244-37

Fine-Meyer and Zankowicz, 2012

Gender-Specific Roles: The Sacrificing Female [Water Alward’s “Mother Canada” Statue at the Vimy Memorial in France]

Fine-Meyer and Zankowicz, 2012

Hidden War Histories: Internment Camps during World War I[Women and Children in Sprit Lake Internment Camp Quebec, NLA, PA 170 620]

Fine-Meyer and Zankowicz, 2012


Victory?: Human and Environmental Consequences--Veterans in Christie Street Hospital, Toronto [Canada’s Nursing Sisters by GWL Nicholson, Toronto, 1975]

Fine-Meyer and Zankowicz, 2012