‘Teaching Exclusion’ lecture explores antisemitism and racism in education

Western hosts the U.S. Holocaust Museum's Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Annual Lecture
Chloe Garland

Western hosted the U.S. Holocaust Museum’s Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Annual Lecture in April, before a packed audience in Fraser Hall.

The lecture, “Teaching Exclusion in Nazi Germany and the United States: Antisemitism and Racist Ideology in the Classroom from 1920 to 1945,” focused on Nazi Germany’s efforts to expel Jews from higher education and how Nazi leaders modeled their plans on the U.S. use of residential boarding schools to “assimilate” Indigenous people in this country.

The event had more than 400 people registered, all seeking to better understand the lasting effects of these moments in human history, and to examine how some countries and cultures have created a false sense of human belonging through intentional exclusion.

Adam Knowles of the University of Zurich spoke about power, exclusion and antisemitism within school curricula during the Holocaust.

Meanwhile, Margaret Jacobs of the University of Nebraska described using education to “assimilate” Indigenous families into a more Westernized culture in the U.S. “It was about using education as its own kind of weapon against their culture,” Jacobs said.

Moderator Hollie Mackey of North Dakota State University expressed the importance of being able to talk about these topics together and recognizing history.

“We should never be in the business of ranking oppressive experiences,” said Mackey. “We need to think about how we can listen together.”

Adam Knowles, Margaret Jacobs and Hollie Mackie sit on stage smiling at and listening to an unseen member of the audience.
Adam Knowles, University of Zurich, Margaret Jacobs, University of Nebraska, and moderator Hollie Mackey, North Dakota State University.

is an intern in Western's Office of University Communications.

Photo by Luke Hollister