By Peter Chipman, OCW Digital Publication Specialist and OCW Educator Assistant

MIT OpenCourseWare was founded with a simple but audacious mission: to share the expertise of MIT’s faculty with people all over the world, freely and openly. For twenty years we’ve been pursuing that mission with passion and dedication, thanks to the generosity of the professors, lecturers, and other instructors who have made their course materials available to us and to you.

But the very best professors know that, learned as they are, they don’t have all the answers; nobody has a monopoly on good ideas. In fact, some good ideas are the natural outgrowth of particular sets of experiences, which is why education benefits when people with diverse backgrounds and different personal experiences are drawn into the conversation.

Making Open Education a Two-Way Street

To put this insight into practice, Professor M. Amah Edoh is inviting you to join in an audacious educational experiment. The course she’s teaching this semester, 21A.S01 Reparations for Slavery and Colonization: Contemporary Movements for Justice, includes a series of guest lectures delivered on video, by practitioners who are pursuing justice and reparations for European colonialism in Africa. These lectures, along with the rest of the course materials, will eventually be made available on OCW’s website, but you don’t have to wait until the semester is over to have access to them. In a first for OCW, users are invited to watch the guest lecture videos at the same time that students on campus view them. Questions and comments submitted online by users will then inform the offline class discussions. The goal is to make open education truly a two-way street, in which the educational resources that emerge from classroom conversations at MIT are informed by the knowledge and experiences of people beyond the Institute’s walls. This interchange of ideas, drawing on a diversity of individual experiences and perspectives, should enhance the experience of the class both for students in the classroom at MIT and for OCW’s community of learners and educators all over the world.

What’s the Course About?

21A.S01 brings anthropological concepts to bear on contemporary movements for justice for harms committed during European colonization in Africa. The course uses critical readings on topics such as violence, human rights discourse, narrating and measuring harm, memory, and group identity formation to reflect on and contribute to the work of two groups currently engaged in pressing claims for justice and reparations: one group focusing on the effects of French colonialism in Algeria, and the other on Belgian rule in the Congo, Burundi, and Rwanda.

Watch the Lectures, Contribute to the Conversation

To view the guest lectures from Professor Edoh’s class, simply visit the course’s playlist on YouTube. Lecture videos are posted there in advance of the class sessions in which they’ll be discussed. Professor Edoh will incorporate your questions and comments into the offline discussions that happen in class. After each class discussion she’ll pin a summary comment on each video on YouTube so you can see how your ideas informed the conversation.

Upcoming lectures:

  • Annah Moyo-Kupeta, a human rights lawyer at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, speaks on the “Relevance of a Transitional Justice Framework to Address Belgium’s Colonial Past.” (Class session: Friday 11/5 at 9:30 EDT.)
  • Michael McEachrane, a visiting researcher at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights, speaks on “Strategies for Influencing Policy in Favor of Reparations for Belgium’s Colonial Past.” (Class session: Friday 11/19 at 9:30 EDT.)

Who Is Professor Edoh?

Amah Edoh is the Homer A. Burnell Assistant Professor of Anthropology and African Studies at MIT. Last year she was the winner of the Everett Moore Baker Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. She has previously appeared on the Chalk Radio podcast (and been profiled in this blog) discussing her course 21G.026 Global Africa: Creative Cultures. In addition to that course, OCW also has published the materials from Professor Edoh’s 21G.025 Africa and the Politics of Knowledge.

(Photo credit: Andy Levine Photography)