As history unfolds in Afghanistan, Minnesota State Mankato professors discuss teaching current events

Taliban fighters pose on the back of a vehicle in the city of Herat, west of Kabul,...
Taliban fighters pose on the back of a vehicle in the city of Herat, west of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021, after they took this province from Afghan government. The Taliban seized two more provinces and approached the outskirts of Afghanistan’s capital. (AP Photo/Hamed Sarfarazi)(Hamed Sarfarazi | AP)
Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 9:12 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2021 at 10:05 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - The unfolding events in Afghanistan are drawing reactions from around the world.

As students prepare to return to campus this fall, local professors at Minnesota State University, Mankato discuss teaching history as they witness it.

Dr. Maria Bevacqua is a professor of gender & women’s studies.

Like many professors, she wants her students to develop critical thinking skills when learning about current events.

“Because I teach gender studies, I have an eye toward the situation for women and girls and LGBTQ people in Afghanistan and how their human rights might be in jeopardy at this time, so I’m looking to include that particular angle, but it really can’t be divorced from the entirety of the picture,” she added.

Dr. Matt Loayza, who is the dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at MSU, and who has also worked in the history department, said he is also talking with fellow professors who will teach what’s happening.

“What we do when we’re working with our students in our classes is try to avoid the easy answer and the trivial answer and try to get to broader understanding so students can explain issues at length,” he said.

Dr. Bevacqua also has advice for students looking to do their own research.

“I would advise them to do what I do, which is when we’re faced with a concern over gender and sexuality, in a place we’re not really familiar with, I suggest they look to the grassroots activists on the ground in that place and follow their lead. They’re the ones who understand their culture, their language, their religion, their country, their community,” she said.

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