Justice and the Armenian Genocide

Unit Title

Justice and the Armenian Genocide

Lesson Titles

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Background for Teachers

This unit, called “Justice and the Armenian Genocide,” is made up of the 6 lessons listed above. Each lesson plan has been designed to stand on its own; so, teachers can use just one or all six or something in between.

The Armenian Genocide took place between 1915 and 1923.* Although the perpetrators and victims are all dead, and although so much time has passed, justice was never done. So, this unit explores questions like What does justice look like? How can justice be done so long after a crime has taken place? and Why should non-victims help victims secure justice? This unit connects well with many ideas about long-term, historical, and systemic problems that are circulating in Canada today, like racism, homophobia, and genocide in our own past and present.

Teachers who would like to use one or more of these lessons to introduce the Armenian Genocide to their students for the first time will likely find “Overview” most useful. Those who have an interest in contemporary social justice might want to start with “Rehabilitation,” while those who prefer a historical perspective should probably start with “Reparations.” For a brief overview of the genocide itself, its legacies, and Canadian connections, we recommend our booklet Canada and the Armenian Genocide (click here). For even more information, we recommend Professor Uğur Üngör’s essay “The Armenian Genocide, 1915” (click here) and the executive summary of the Armenian Genocide Reparations Study Group’s report called Resolution with Justice (click here).

All of the lesson plans include materials for students to read and prompting questions with which teachers can facilitate reflection and discussion. In addition to small classrooms, this unit has also been used during large student conferences, where groups of 20 students have been given one lesson each. After completing their lesson, each group has shared its thoughts with its peers.

* Different dates are sometimes used, depending on the specific events and perpetrators an author has chosen to focus on. “1915,” “1915–1916,” and “1915–1918” are some common alternatives.