KENMORE CLASSROOM—International Relations Professor Nina Skegg has allotted four slides for Friday’s Powerpoint presentation on the Israel/Palestine conflict — a tense and nuanced dispute over territory that has its roots in the late 19th century — and critics say she is having some trouble covering all the bases.
“I’d say a five-minute lecture can probably explain the longstanding conflict between the Jews and Arabs around Israel,” Skegg said. “I usually dedicate one slide exclusively to pictures. Powerpoint also has a great pie chart function that could assist students in understanding the Jordanian annexation of the West Bank.“
Donald Southwick, an expert in religious conflict who recently released a 1,000-page volume on the intractable conflict between Palestine and Israel, said Skegg’s slides pass over many important details of the longstanding hostility.
“Professor Skegg zooms through history when she teaches,” Southwick said.” Four slides can barely explain how to write a resume, let alone a wide-ranging sectarian conflict.“
This is not the first time Skegg has distilled a complex topic into a short set of relatively broad Powerpoint slides. Last fall, she explained the Rwanadan Genocide of 1994 in three slides.
“Slide one: Hutu majority slaughters the Tutsi minority,” Skegg said, recounting the content of the slideshow. “Slide two: The killing occurred in the context of the Rwandan Civil War.”
“The third slide was a pie chart,” Skegg added.
A number of Skegg’s former students wonder why the professor skimmed over so many important historical moments instead of intensely focusing on the most relevant.
“When I had Professor Skegg for history she went through Vietnam in two slides,” said Justin Blau (CAS ’17). “All I learned was that the Viet Cong were strong guerilla fighters and that the Vietnam film Apocalypse Now won an Academy Award. These weren’t the most pertinent facts.”
At press time, Skegg was Googling “what iz hamas?????!?!”