On Tuesday November 19 our reading is Tom Gunning, Making Sense of Films. We will talk about film and history: historical film, how historians and filmmakers (and perhaps other categories – the news media? TikTok? YouTubers?) use film and the moving image to craft historical narratives and interpretations, documentaries, and films that made history (in the dual sense of the word).
Today we will explore possible Paper 3 topics and receive library instruction from Ross Griffiths. Instead of our regular classroom, meet in LRC 236 — the glass-enclosed instruction room behind the library reference area.
Please include a cover letter (before your title page), in which you explain to me how you met at least one of the 4 criteria for “risk-taking” and what you experimented with that’s new-for-you from Unit 2.
After exploring those, spend some time exploring a few other links related to historical maps or mapping as a historical method. A recent article in Forbes magazine talks about how digital mapping helps us understand racism and the history of segregation, including:
An especially expansive and beautiful digital library of maps (at high resolution) is David Rumsey Map Collection (Stanford University)
Stanford hosts the Mapping the Republic of Letters project from Dan Edelstein and Paula Findlen, tracing (and mapping) the trajectory of thousands of letters from the pens of European Enlightenment writers. Here’s a brief video explaining the project:
Other innovative projects work with recreating or layering historical maps, and creating digital environments of the past (We will talk more about this on our Digital History day next month). Some examples include:
Please Note: we will discuss Robert Gaddis’s book The Landscape of History on Nov 5 and Nov 7. You might want to start reading it this week; here are the Discussion Questions we’ll be use for our class discussion. Note that Nov 7 is the SAME DAY that your Paper #2 is due, so plan out your time carefully so that you’re prepared with both on the same day.
For the last of our “play in the sandbox” workshop weeks, we’ll look at maps and mapping. Maps are a fascinating set of sources that represent–and to some extent also determine–reality. A clip from the TV show The West Wing helps illustrate this nicely.
For Tuesday Oct 29, please read Stephens, Making Sense of Maps (like Making Sense of Letters and Diaries, it has multiple sections, please make sure you read the whole thing navigating with the red table of context box). We will not meet in class on this day.
Thurs 10/31, bring laptops as usual, for our last Thursday “sandbox” session.
I also recommend you check out the Instagram feed of the Leventhal Map Center of the Boston Public Library; every day they post an interesting historical map.
During class on Oct 24th I asked everyone to check in about where they are with Paper #2. Most people haven’t yet begun to solidify their ideas, so I thought it might help if I offered some general advice. I am happy to follow up in office hours or individually with anyone, of course.
The most important rule of Paper #2 is TRYING SOMETHING NEW. Rather than starting with a topic (which might be your default thinking before starting an assignment), instead try identifying what you want to do that’s NEW-FOR-YOU in your paper *and* how that new thing connects to what we’ve done in class during this Unit. For example: Are you using a type of source you’ve never used before? Are you trying an interpretive method you haven’t tried before? Is there something you stumbled on during our “lab” days that you hadn’t known of or thought about before? Did one of our Tuesday readings inspire you or give you a model you can use? Would you like to expand on one of this unit’s journal entries? You don’t have to do ALL of these things, just choose ONE and pursue it in the spirit of taking an intellectual risk.
As with Paper #1, the smaller and narrower the scope, the better the resulting paper will be, since you only have 1000-1500 words. I will not be strict about the upper limit if you want to exceed it, but would encourage you to strive for a tightly constructed paper rather than one which rambles widely. As we’ve seen in working with different kinds of archives in Unit 2, something which is expertly curated and concise is clearer and easier to understand that one which is disorganized and overloaded with information.
Lastly, if you struggled with footnotes, citations, or bibliography formatting in Paper #1, review Turabian closely and work on references early in the paper process instead of leaving it to the very end, especially if you are working with less-familiar sources.
Hope this advice helps stoke your enthusiasm for the second paper assignment, which ideally emerges organically out of the hard work and “sandbox play” you’ve done during our discussions and workshop sessions in this Unit.
The assigned reading for Tuesday 10/22 is posted on Blackboard under Content, a 2001 article from American Libraries journal titled “Government Documents at the Crossroads.” After reading that, make a list of all the kinds of “government documents” you can think of (without Googling). What might fall into that category?
After making your list, spend some time in these two library subject guides: “Government Information Overview” (WSU Library) and “Finding Government Documents,” (University of New Haven) – some of the UNH instructions are specific for their library, but their list provides an overview of the spectrum of government documents and some resources that our library may not – try clicking around on a few of their tabs (Business, President, Congress, Judicial, CJ, etc) to explore some of the categories and see what you stumble onto. Add any new findings to your list.