How Affton High teaches Bosnian American studies to a new generation

(St. Louis Public Radio | By

Even though Brian Jennings’ Affton High School students weren’t yet born when the Bosnian War ended in 1995, they see the conflict as recent history — especially compared to other conflicts covered throughout K-12 education, like World War II. And that makes the genocide that took place in eastern Europe shocking to them.

“This went on in the ’90s — the ’90s!” remarked Affton senior Grace Grana. “The same time that Tupac was big, and Nirvana, and people were wearing stupid fashion trends and stuff, and all these TV shows. While Americans were living normal lives, Bosnians were struggling to survive.”

Jennings has been teaching a course in Bosnian American Studies at Affton since 2014. He’s seen how it can open students’ eyes. Grana told Jennings that the conflict reminded her of Nazi Germany — and that she was surprised to learn that ethnic cleansing did not end after 1945.

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