Blog Post 3

Hypothetical Class:

The class that I would use these sources for would be an AP Human Geography class that is similar to what I am experience in my high school placement right now. The intended grade level I think would be Sophomores- Seniors (10-12th grade). The reason why I say it should be an AP class is because the ideas you are getting at are a higher level of achievement and understanding than the average high school level. Ideas of nationalism, a nation, ethnic conflict, a nation state, and irredentism will need to be known, and this is similar to a college level geography class. I would put this in the Unit of Focus would be Europe or if a unit was focused more on political border conflicts, these particular sources would need to be used in a multiple day span. SO AT LEAST 3-4 lessons on the topic at hand. The sources are varied in complexity, but some are very above high school but with the proper information and help from a teacher I believe AP students can have more of an understanding of this unfamiliar topic to many students. That is why I think it is more AP based is because Balkan history, politics, and cultural understanding is not common among many American students. So many of the things the students will be discussing is new information and not too much connection to their prior knowledge.

Multimedia Sources:

Kosovo’s Putative Territory Swap with Serbia. Source: Routers, Association of Serb Municipalities, online at:

Ethnic Map of Balkans. Source: Balkan Church Planting Learning Community, My Daily Testimony, online at:

Summary: This is an ethnic map of all the Balkan nations. These types of maps usually seem to show that these are the only ethnic group that are living in a certain areas. This is never the case. This map does point out how it is at least 50% of the population is recognized as a certain ethnic group. So it is kind of pointing out that it is not representing the whole area, but a majority of the area.  It does show the mix of ethnic groups in certain areas. Some countries you see have a higher mono ethnic population in their borders while others have many different ethnic groups living in the borders.

Quantitative: According to they rank the reading of this map at an average grade level reading of 7.9, so I would say an eight grade reading level. I would agree with this statement because there is not too many words on the map that would be super troubling to get through in my classroom setting. It is mostly country names, geographic locations, and the ethnic names of the groups living in the Balkans. This is to mainly show where at least 50% of certain ethnic groups are said to living in in the Balkan region of Southeastern Europe.

Qualitative: For the text complexity of this map, I would mark it as not very complex. The map is very straight forward in the idea that it is trying to accomplish. That idea is to get you to think where the majority of a Balkan ethnic group is living and see if it matches the country’s borders. To understand the meaning behind this map, the students would need to have prior knowledge on the issues revolving around ethnic groups and the struggle for Balkan nations to have nation-state countries. This will be done in prior classes so that the students can understand the meaning of this map. This map is geared towards the students to see what Balkan areas seem to have an ethnic group majority (i.e. Croatia, Slovenia, Albania) and which countries have a lot of different multi ethnic groups living in their borders (i.e. Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Kosovo and Serbia conflict). I would not be giving this map to the students until they were fully aware of the Serbian and Kosovo conflict over Kosovo’s independence, and the idea of irredentism and nation states of the Balkan nations.

Vocabulary: (Mostly geographic) Slovenes, Hungarians, Adriatic Sea, Zagreb, Belgrade, Tirane, Sarajevo.

Task Complexity:  The purpose for using this text would be getting the students to think about previous learn knowledge and test their ability to understand the situation and conflict that they are learning about. Since they are learning about Serbia failing to recognize Kosovo’s independence, the breakup of Yugoslavia, and how the Balkan nations wanted nation-states and the struggle with the idea of irredentism. This map you can see all these ideas shown based off of where the ethnic group majority is living. This map is to make sure the students have an understanding of the Balkan region conflict and hopefully is able to make a visual and clearer understanding to why this is happening in this region. To test your students’ knowledge any further if you think they are capable to be challenge to achieve higher academic analysis of this map you can ask the students to explain what some push backs are to this map? Why could someone say this map is not an actual representation of ethnic groups? This could further advance learning and think very critically.


Vickers, M., & Fraser, J. M. (1998). Between Serb & Albanian: A History of Kosovo. International Journal53(4), 792-793

Pesic, V. (1996). Serbian Nationalism and the Origins of the Yugoslav Crisis [Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace]. Retrieved October 01, 2019, from

Summary: This is an excerpt from the 1996 United States Institution of Peace highlighting the crisis in the Balkan Area of Europe in the Former Yugoslavia Republic. This highlights the communist formation of the republic and explains how the different national identity groups ended up being broken up and formed into the countries today. The Diasporas of the ethnic groups and the issues they faced in making their borders because they were in all different regions that were not in their perceived borders. Kosovo and calls it the “ethnic crisis”. For Serbian nationalism Kosovo is the epicenter of Serbian medieval culture and the symbol of national history and mythology. The government at the time heighten this state as ethnic importance to Serbs, this was a tactic for the Communist party at the time to help them change their constitution. Kosovo had a lot of ethnic Albanians in the territory and the Serbian government used to say that the Serbs were losing this important ‘holy land’. Mass emigration of Serbs outside of Kosovo back to other parts of Serbia gave many Serbs a feeling that their fellow brethren were being persecuted by the Albanians in Kosovo. The movement highlighted the ‘Serbian Tragedy’ with the ethnic Albanians gaining control of Kosovo in the previous 1974 constitution.  Depending on which group who was speaking about the politicization in Kosovo, the Serbs called it ‘genocide’ while the Albanians ‘political terror’. This included murder, violence, and forced emigration on each of the sides of the Serbs and Albanians.

Quantitative:  After selecting the experts form the 15-16 pages of the government document puts the reading level at a 17.7 or almost an 18th grade reading level according to I strongly agree with this because it is a formal government document that the verbiage of the document is really high level. These pages of the huge document is really focusing on the conflict between Kosovo and Serbia, but the whole document is a huge analysis of the ethnic problems in the Balkan region from back to the medieval times to the formation of Yugoslavia and is focusing on the break up issues going on in the former Yugoslav states. The main focus is on Serbia and Kosovo and I picked this section because this is something that has been an issue in the region since Kosovo declared independence in 2008.

Qualitative:  After looking at the rubric for Text Complexity, I would rate this article to be in the ‘Very Complex’ section. For texture structure, the article is very organized in section, and what the article is mentioning what conflict it will be referring to and following along in a chronological manor makes me think that this text is slightly complex based of the structure. Language features is definitely very complex for this text of choice. The vocabulary and verbiage are very high level, and high school students would definitely need assistance in the reading and understanding of what the author is saying in explaining certain situations, but if the students have a good understanding in previous vocabulary of nationalism, nation-states, and irredentism. They should be able to understand the situations that the author is talking about, or at least grasp the meaning. This ties into meaning which I would say if the students have an understanding meaning that the meaning complexity would be moderately complex. The knowledge demands would very complex because the idea of nationalism and Balkan cultural knowledge is not common with many readers, and I would not expect highs school students to know that either.

Vocabulary: expulsion, emigration, ethnic threat, federation, exacerbated, propaganda, neutralize, unequipped.

Task Complexity: This text is used for introduction to one of the topics for unit on the Balkans. This text to get the students to have a better understanding the deep history and origin of the conflict between the ethnic Albanians and the Serbians. It is also so that they have an understanding of the meaning behind the state of Kosovo. This has really no ties culturally to the students unless they have ethnic background or nationality towards the Balkan Peninsula. The way that I would tackle this assignment in my class is we would read it together in a class. Then afterwards I would assign sections of the article to groups, and they will analyze their section and highlight stuff that they do not understand. Afterwards in their groups we will come together as a class and will share what they learned from their section and then have a class discussion on what we should know from the article and the Serbian and Albanian conflict in Kosovo. We could do this by creating a T chart and comparing each side in the situation.

Culturally Relevant:

Ashley Luthern (2019). In One of America’s Most Segregated Cities there is Unequal Violence and Unequal Justice.

Erjavec, K., & Volčič, Z. (2007). The Kosovo battle: Media’s recontextualization of the Serbian nationalistic discourses. Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, 12(3), 67-86.

Summary:  This is a highlight about how the pro Serbian nationalism was prevalently in action and in place during the Kosovo War in the late 1990s and how this journalism still sparks the idea of the ‘Greater Serbia’ and to keep Kosovo autonomous to Serbia. Volcic states that during the NATO bombings that the Serbian media used terms such as terrorists, criminals, and as the people of an alien culture and civilization in their news cover headlines. For the portrayal of Serbs it was headlines “people of the Gods,” “heavenly people,” and “brave people” (p.70).  This happened under the Milosevic regime in Serbia, but after his fall there was still very pro Serb nationalist news coverage. The study that was conducted in 2006 was between the two top publishing Serbian newspapers and they analyzed how many times they brought up Kosovo, the coverage on the idea of Kosovo, and opposition towards their independence. They noticed that a lot of newspapers were comparing the US war on terrorism to the war against Kosovo Albanians.  Some news articles they found were “Serbia is in a state of “a war against terrorism.”…Serbia, with all its power, is against terrorism in Kosovo and for the stability of the region. According to available information, Kosovo is the cradle of Islamic terrorism in the Balkans.” (p.73) with the news articles xenophobia and pro Serbian nationalism is still prevalent. This Serbian nationalism being presented still in Serbian news media would lead to easier discrimination against Kosovo along with the continuation of Serbian reluctance to have Kosovo become their own independent state.

Quantitative: According to the grade reading level for this news article is a 17.2 grade level. That is about a senior in college reading level. I only slightly agree with this because it is mainly talking about quotes from the news articles. Those quotes that I highlighted in my summary is what I would gear the students to look at. I do believe this is college level reading but I would overall gear the reading to a 13or 14th level reading. If I were to just focus on the quotes which I think I would just gear it towards, would be a 14.9 average grade level according to if I were to just focus on the quotes that I discussed in the summary.

Qualitative: After looking at the rubric for Text Complexity, I would rate this article to be in the ‘Moderately Complex’ section. Even though it will be a higher reading level I will decide as a teacher to simply just pull quotes form the article and we will look at those quotes to discuss as a class. The text structure will be slightly complex because it simply will be pulling quotes I am using from the article, so the students should not be overwhelmed with the amount of words that will be presented on their page. Language features would be moderately complex because some of the words will be words that are unfamiliar to the students. For the sections of Meaning and Knowledge demand, it would be placed under very complex because they will have to know the meaning behind the nationalism and reasoning why the xenophobia towards the Albanians are occurring in the news stories. This is tied to the Knowledge Demand of the students, and that their knowledge, which they should have accumulated and built up from the prior lesson, would be able to understand the back history of the cultural conflict in the region. Since having the prior knowledge of the subject in previous classes that is the only reason I am labeling it as ‘Moderately Complex’ versus ‘Very Complex’.

Vocabulary: autonomous, xenophobia, recontexualization, legitimized, province, discourse.

Task Complexity: These news articles should get the students to have a better understanding to why Serbian newspapers are fueling pro Serbian nationalism and this is contributing to Kosovo not being recognized by the country as being its own separate nation. I want the students to have an understanding about how they are comparing the Albanian Muslims to the jihadist terrorist groups that are similar to ISIS or Al Qaeda. For the Cultural relevance I would have the students compare the Serbian news article to that of a xenophobic news article that may have been published in the United States. I would try and find an article that happened after a terrorist attack, I could easily find one for 9/11 but I would try to look closer to present day ones with an ISIS attack because this is more relevant to the students’ lives because now many high school students were born in the post 9/11 years. This is how I would be able to connect these articles to the students’ lives, or maybe I could find an article that is perceiving a group in a negative light i.e. BLM movement. That is the type of activity that I would use to make this more culturally relevant to the students, but I mostly would like to keep the article focused more on xenophobia versus any social movement group that is broadcast-ed in a negative light.

2 thoughts on “Blog Post 3

  1. Hey Josh!

    Very interesting and complex topic to choose! My hat is off to you as a history educator as Balkan history is overly convoluted and difficult to fully understand even for me. I could see you using this in a geography class as you stated, but also it might be able to be used as a postwar unit to show the impact of the breakup of empires from WW1 or the impacts of the fall of Communism – just something to keep in your back pocket. I will say that the texts that you chose were very complex and it might be a challenge to bring the content to your students. You already seem aware of this as you did provide some good examples at how you would scaffold your texts for your students, great forward thinking on your part. For the last text that you analyzed, you stated that you would try to find an article about terrorist attacks. Have you found one yet?


  2. Josh, your text set shows a deep knowledge of the Balkan region and conflict. I wonder what texts might be used to help students connect to this place and conflict of ethnic strife?


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