Censuring the Censor: Studying censorship in Lyon during World War II like a historian

On 26 May and 10 November 2016 Caroline Morel, from APHG France, successfully piloted two Learning Activities at Lycée Jean Perrin in Lyon, France: archival research as a teaching strategy and Censoring the Censor. Both learning activities were developed within the European project Silencing Citizens through Censorship. Learning from Europe’s 20th Century Dictatorial and Totalitarian Regimes.

On 26 May 12 students including an educator, took part in the two-hour workshop on censorship which consisted of a theoretical session complemented by an active part at the Municipal Archives of Lyon (Archives municipales de Lyon ). The theoretical part aimed at introducing the students to the concept of censorship, its mechanism and its application during the Vichy Regime in France from 1940-42. They also learned more on the fall of the 3rd Republic, the end of democratic freedoms and the armistice on 10 July 1940. For the active component of the lesson the students then had the opportunity to apply the knowledge they acquired before on censorship by studying various original documents at the archive.

At the same time a parallel workshop was held by Brice Rosier Laperrousaz at the Departmental and Metropolitan Archives of Rhône (Archives Départementales et Métropolitaines du Rhône).
The objective of the workshops were to offer students the possibility to become acquainted with historical research and terminology through the use of archival records but also to recognise parallels between developments in the past and present.

On the 10 November 38 students , including four teachers, a language assistant and one parent, took part in a pilot of the second learning activity Censoring the Censor, organised as a ‘History Coffee Break’. Students got tasked with studying and comparing sources from the Archives of Lyon and Rhône as well as from six other countries represented in the transnational EUROCLIO project. The activity aimed at encouraging students to think of creative solutions when being confronted with censorship and at understanding democratic values.
Last, EUROCLIO would like to express our thanks to Marie Maniga and Michel Gablin who are educator at the Archive and without whose help these pilots would not have been possible.

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