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IST 182: The 21st Century Worldwide Refugee Crisis

This is a research guide for group projects related to IST 182: The 21st Century Worldwide Refugee Crisis.

Historical Context and Media Coverage

1. Media coverage of past and ongoing refugee crises to learn about how the world responded

VC has been helping with refugee crises going back to the 19th century, but for purpose this class, Professor Höhn asks that you focus on crises beginning with WWII and its aftermath, when many of the humanitarian institutions and conventions that are still in place were first established.  Be sure to be as inclusive as possible, including forced displacements on all continents in the wake of war, postwar settlements, decolonization, draught, climate change, or political violence and persecution as you formulate your group project. Since your work will become part of a website to serve as a portal of information and education, focus first on exploring these crises at their moment of occurrence, and how the world, the US., and the Vassar community responded or failed to respond in the immediate aftermath (say 5 years or so). Professor Höhn has outlined a selection of obvious crises here,but for the purposes of this class, you and your group may also define your “own” research topic as long as you discuss it with Professor Höhn.

Below are some selected crises and events you may want to explore (with Ms. Hohn's approval you may select to research one not listed here) along with some readings suggested as a place to start for historical context.

Research Resources

Email Research Librarian Gretchen Lieb with 2-3 time slot options for your group meeting (it's ideal if the entire group can attend, but representatives are fine too).  

Select media resource(s) to explore based on what perspective you think that source will provide.  For example, West Coast US newspapers will have a different perspective than East Coast on Asian refugee crises, or you may want to compare the coverage of one event by two or more newspapers/media outlets. Also consider U.S. ethnic press, such as black newspapers, or tv/radio news transcripts. The librarians can advise on how to select and search these resources most expeditiously.

Look at the response to and description of the crisis during the immediate aftermath (about 5 years).

Watch this short documentary made by filmmaker Emily Harrold, and inspired by the book Buried by the Times (by Laurel Leff) and consider possible keywords to use to find articles related to your topic, and how the stories you find were received in the context of print newspapers.  On what page did the article appear?  Was it buried? (in the resources below, use the full page view to see what other articles were on the page).

U.S. Weeklies

Final Presentation/Project Format

1. A "syllabus" or bibliography. For inspiration check out the “Charleston Syllabus” that Chad Williams has put together after the horrific attack on Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church last year. This is an inspiring example of what determined minds can do. Our research librarians have also created a Vassar Libguide based on Professor William’s initiative.

2. A glossary of terms used to describe the events as they unfolded (useful for building a vocabulary of search terms for databases of contemporary media), and as they are discussed today.

3. Powerpoint slide show

5. Blog entry

6. Website LInk