The teacher behind this Teacher’s Corner, aka me, is a real fan of History. When I started teaching at the Universities of Málaga and Granada, southern Spain, I was soon asked to teach the History of Belgium, France and the Francophone countries to young people enrolled in French Studies. Intimidated at first by what felt like a daunting task, since my first training was mainly in teaching foreign languages, I started to develop a real passion for bygone times, because I realized how the analysis of their circumstances was an excellent way to shed light on the present.
Soon I felt the urge to tell my students that whenever we researched and observed past events of a given country or region, we had to bear in mind that “even islands are not isolated”. Everything that has ever happened has always been influenced by so-called external factors. If we fail to broaden the scope of a specific event in time and space, we will surely miss on important “details” that enable a deeper understanding of the reasons behind such event.
The word “details” is, paradoxically, the most important element of the former sentence. They say “the DEVIL is in the details”. I have tweaked the expression a bit to turn it into a new version, with a mirror spelling: “what’s LIVED is in the details.” The most interesting aspect of History, as far as I am concerned, is how it has affected the everyday lives of the people who lived then, and the people who live now.
This is why I have gradually let myself be guided by the actors AND victims of History, who soon started to whisper to my ear, from their ghosts’ perspectives, what it really felt like to live events that would have remained cold statements or mere statistics without the human experience of it, expressed through real people’s emotions. Also, maybe guided by what theory calls multiperspectivity, I felt it was my duty to not only open my ears to what prominent figures of the past had to say, but also to let lesser known ‘characters’ be given a voice through this space, now wide open to their long-awaited “ghost talks”.