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Boundaries and sensitivities

I have come across scholarship around violence quite frequently in my time at LUMS. It is imperative that students engage with topics (in and out of the classroom) that can be sensitive, challenging, or emotional. This includes topics related to war, trauma, ethnic/religious subjugation, and sexual assault. However, it is equally important to understand that these discussions do not carry equal weightage for all students. For some, these may trigger memories of unfortunate experiences. I have seen instructors and students discussing violence without paying heed to fellows around. We need to change this, we need to become more sensitive.

Here is a list that can help us plan better:

- Share your plans around the topic beforehand (for example, if you are teacher, you can send the reading with a brief statement that discusses your goals for that class).

- Add content/trigger warnings.

- Be mentally prepared for strong emotional reactions (be present and available).

- Do not put people on spot for sharing personal experiences (but invite people to share their feelings and thoughts).

- Provide debriefing opportunities (for example, stay a little longer after the class ends or schedule office hours).

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These are wonderful suggestions. Do you think all teachers should be allowed to teach and deal with topics like this, or should there at least be some resources allocated to sensitivity training before they can teach it? I know this can be quite restrictive and can have several limitations, because of which others might disagree. What do you think? Should all individuals be allowed to teach these just because theyve studied them? Of course, it should be kept in mind that topics like these are nearly in every scholarship - literature, history, education, psychology etc... So when weighing costs vs benefits, what do you think?

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That’s a fairly important question to think about. Sensitivity training, as you mentioned, can go a long way in this regard. Perhaps resources should be allocated to making these trainings more informed and comprehensive. In other words, the trainings should not restrict or tone-down the gravity of the learning material, while keeping it digestible for the audience at the same time. Moreover, on the topic of who should be allowed to teach, I think the purpose behind such trainings or dedicating any resources to study human experiences/history is to ultimately make humans more emphatic. It is fair to expect teachers to learn empathy throughout their respective trainings, if they are required to engage with such material in their disciplines.


Thank you so much for raising this extremely important point! The trauma that people have experienced is extremely real and not just coursework, or topics for discourse. The points youve written for avoiding uncomfortable situations for others are incredibly important for everyone to practice,


As we progress as a society and become more aware of the impact topics such as these can have on people around us, we should definitely be more cautious of what we are saying and sensitive towards those who have been impacted. I think that you have presented us with a great plan that we can consciously do even as individuals to begin with.

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