WRIT 1133

Human Rights / Humans Write

Project 2 assignment

WRITING HISTORY

the assignment
By reading examples of autobiography, oral history, and narrative history, we have seen how history writing involves telling very particular, very specific stories that reveal something of wider and deeper significance. In this project, you will write just such a story, drawing upon your own experience or that of someone close to you in order to tell a story that reveals a broader historical insight. What kind of story are you looking for? There are all sorts of possibilities. You might tell the story of a parent or grandparent who took part in a protest movement, a war, or some other “big,” world-changing event. Or you might tell a story where the connection between the small picture and the big one is more subtle: say, the story of your own acquisition of internet literacy (which could tell us a lot about how literacy has changed in the last couple of decades) or the story of a high school friend who tried out for a sport typically prohibited for members of his/her gender. Your “small picture” story could be about just about anything, so long as you can connect it to a “big picture” story. And what kind of “big picture” story are you looking for? The connection between the big picture and the small is typically most interesting when the big picture involves a large-scale change — like the abolition of slavery (in Frederick Douglass’s narrative) or the victory of the Civil Rights Movement (in Taylor Branch). So as you think about experiences that you’ve had or heard about, ask yourself: What larger historical change can I connect this story to? To flesh out the connection between the big and the small will require some library research. We’ll do some of this together in class. But each of you will include with your revised draft a list of three sources that you’ve drawn upon to tell your story.

due dates, etc.
You’ll get started on your first draft in class on Thursday, Feb. 7. A complete draft (including list of Works Consulted) is due on Google Docs on Tuesday, Feb. 11. The final draft is due on Tuesday, March 19.

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