All Spotlights » Rob Franciosi Teaches "Remembering 9/11"
Erin Harbour was in the fifth grade in 2001 when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York City.
The biomedical sciences major and Honors College student said, at the time, teachers shielded students from the news. “They told us the smoke clouds were a swarm of bees,” Harbour said.
She was among 16 students in an Honors College seminar, “Remembering 9/11,” taught by Rob Franciosi, professor of English, and held in the Niemeyer Learning and Living Center. “What happened that day is a part of our history, and that’s why I wanted to take this class,” Harbour said.
At the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Franciosi said he wanted to teach the course partly because, in about six years, there will be Grand Valley students who weren’t even in elementary school on that day.
In class on September 7, Franciosi had students brainstorming different ways media and communities would commemorate the attacks in the week prior to the anniversary date. He also discussed cultural differences that would occur if the attacks took place in 2011, rather than 2001.
“There are technological differences,” Franciosi said. “In 2001, there were no cell phones with cameras. No one could video-capture what was happening inside those buildings.
“In 2011, people would be sending real-time images via a 4G network.”
Franciosi began the course by having students watch television coverage from 2001 and by reading a book that recounts the Twin Towers attack “from the inside looking out.”
For most people, he said, 9/11 lacks those types of first–person accounts. “We see the burning Twin Towers through a long, telephoto lens,” he said.
Students will also create a 9/11 archive of events and responses to the anniversary, and complete an assignment asking them to consider how the attacks are viewed through the perspectives of their particular