Q&A for Teaching About Ukraine: Webinar for K-12 Educators

This virtual event is for K-12 educators to engage with regional experts, address concerns, and explore ways to talk about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the classroom. Beginning with short presentations by four UW-Madison panelists, teachers will then have 30 minutes for discussion and Q&A with the panelists. The webinar will address Ukraine and Russia’s historical relationship, what is happening now, and potential future outcomes; the Western European reaction to the invasion and its impact; and the Ukrainian refugee crisis in global context, situating the current moment in the broader political, legal, and racial landscape of forced migration and history of international human rights. Professor Jeremy Stoddard (Department of Curriculum & Instruction) will moderate this event and offer insight into how to incorporate the webinar’s lessons into the classroom.

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Presentation Topics

Yoshiko Herrera: Why Russia Invaded Ukraine and What to Expect

This talk will address the historical relationship between Ukraine and Russia and the political, economic, and national identity factors that led to Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade and start a war in Ukraine.  In addition it will address what has happened in the war thus far and what to expect in the coming months and years.

Katherine Jensen

This talk will examine the Ukrainian refugee crisis in global context, situating the current moment in the broader political, legal, and racial landscape of forced migration and history of international human rights. 

Nils Ringe: The European Response to Putin’s War: Toward a Common Defense Policy?

This talk examines the responses of the EU and its member states to Putin’s war in Ukraine, with a particular focus on the question if it may lead to genuine efforts at developing a common European defense policy.

Jeremy Stoddard: From Comintern to Tiktok: Russian Propaganda meets Western Social Media

This session will discuss ways to incorporate the events in Ukraine and skills for examining and understanding mis and disinformation from legitimate news on the conflict in Ukraine. It will also situate the use of propaganda and disinformation historically so that these current events and contemporary skills may be integrated into US or World History courses.

Presenter Bios

Yoshiko Herrera

Yoshiko M. Herrera is a Professor of Political Science at the University Wisconsin Madison. Her research on Russian politics; nationalism, identity and ethnic politics; political economy and state statistics (national accounts); and international norms, has been published with Cambridge University Press, Cornell University Press, Perspectives on Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Analysis, Social Science Quarterly, and Post-Soviet Affairs, and other outlets.  In Madison, Herrera teaches courses on comparative politics, social identities and diversity, and post-communist politics, and in 2021 she was a recipient of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award at UW-Madison.

Herrera received her B.A. from Dartmouth College and M.A. and Ph.D. from University of Chicago. Before arriving in Madison in 2007, Herrera was the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of Social Sciences in the Government Department at Harvard University (1999-2007). She is also a former Director of the Center for Russia, East Europe and Central Asia, former Co-Director of the Institute For Regional and International Studies, and former Director of the UW-Madison Partnership with Nazarbayev University. For a recent profile of Herrera by the UW Alumni Association in relation to the war in Ukraine, see this link.

Katherine Jensen

Katherine Jensen is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and International Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the Faculty Coordinator of the Wisconsin Collective for Ethnographic Research (WISCER), and a Faculty Affiliate of Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies. She is a 2022-2023 Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity Fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities at UW-Madison.

She researches race, politics, and refugees in the Americas, with a focus on Brazil. Her work is published in Ethnic and Racial Studies, Qualitative Sociology, American Behavioral Scientist, Social Currents, City & Community, and Contexts, among other academic journals and books, and she has appeared in media outlets like The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Austin American-Statesman, and Clarín.

Nils Ringe

Nils Ringe is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Jean Monnet EU Center for Comparative Populism. His research and teaching interests center on democratic political institutions, European Union politics, populism, elections, legislative politics, political parties, policy making, and political networks.

Ringe’s new book, The Language(s) of Politics: Multilingual Policy-Making in the European Union (Michigan University Press, 2022) investigates the impact of politicians’ reliance on shared foreign languages and translation services on EU politics and argues that it depoliticizes policy-making by reducing its political nature and potential for conflict. He also has an edited volume forthcoming titled, Populists and the Pandemic: How Populists Around the World Respond to COVID-19 (Routledge, Extremism & Democracy Series, with Lucio Renno, University of Brasilia), which is based on a year-long lecture series sponsored by the Jean Monnet EU Center for Comparative Populism.

Jeremy Stoddard

Jeremy Stoddard is Professor and the Faculty Chair of the Secondary Education Program. His research examines the role of media in teaching and learning history and democratic citizenship – with a particular focus on engagement with difficult or marginalized histories and contemporary controversial issues. His work has been published in Journal of Curriculum Studies, Teachers College Record, Curriculum Inquiry, and Learning, Media and Technology. He has also co-authored or co-edited three books, including Teaching Difficult History Through Film (Routledge, 2017). He has served as Editor for Theory and Research in Social Education and has held national leadership roles in the Teaching History SIG of AERA and as a member of the Executive Board of the College and University Faculty Assembly of the National Council for the Social Studies. Prior to joining the UW faculty in 2019, Stoddard was on faculty at William & Mary, where he served as Chair of the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, founded and directed the interdisciplinary program in Educational Studies, and was an affiliated faculty of the Film and Media Studies program.

Recommended Resources

Ukraine, Russia, Eastern Europe:

  • What 7th graders want to know about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine” — CREECA faculty member, Professor Yoshiko Herrera, answers 7th graders’ questions on WPR’s Morning Show.
  • Harvard University Ukrainian Research Institute (HURI)’s List of Teaching Resources. Includes film recommendations, history databases, digital archives, and much more.
  • Recorded Webinar “Strategies for Teaching About Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine” (American Political Science Association). “Strategies for Teaching About Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine” brings together five leading scholars to help other instructors teach the current conflict. Viewers will gain a better understanding of the comparative, international, and regional dynamics and political contexts, and learn about how panelists are addressing the subject in their own classrooms.
  • The Washington Post article “How Ukraine became Ukraine, in 7 maps” — depicts Ukraine’s changing borders from the 8th century through the present day.
  • Model Diplomacy Case from the Council on Foreign Relations: “Defending Ukraine

Western Europe:

  • Al Jazeera article “Europe scrambles for long-term fix after Putin cuts off gas” — Russia recently stopped sending natural gas to Poland and Bulgaria and has threatened to do the same to other countries supporting Ukraine, prompting censure from European nations and the United States. However, just a day after the Kremlin turned off the tap, the energy providers in Germany and Italy reportedly opened accounts with Russian bank Gazprombank to buy Russian gas, demonstrating the power of Russian energy resources.