Monday, October 18, 2010

Postmodernism and Desconstruction

These are two words that I don't ever want to hear again. I plan to forget I ever heard them at all. Even my professor said he tried to study these concepts but eventually gave up because his mental health insurance wasn't that great. Also, my infatuation with historiography is over. This is unfortunate because I have finally learned to spell it.

Tonight the professor told us that writing is about failing. I was glad to hear this because I am no longer able to write; my brain has become useless for the purpose of writing about history. I think part of my problem is that I am used to writing narrative and now I have to write analysis. I'm having trouble with this concept and I think it is mostly because I'm scared silly. Ever since we discussed these bizarre ideas (to me, anyway) in the title, I have been absolutely out of my mind. I can't think straight at all anymore when it comes to writing the primary source paper that is due very soon. I'm afraid to write a single word because I'm sure I will be doing it all wrong.

On a more positive note, I made A's on my historiography test and my book review, as well as on my kiddie lit mid-term and my Ozarks history mid-term. So, all is not lost. At least not yet.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Primary Sources

Last week I had my first test in historiography and my first book review was due. Thank heavens the history test was not essay, but objective only. History students hardly ever get that kind of break. Anyway, I think it did well; at least, I know I aced the extra credit section. I'm not sure about the book review.

In historiography (I have finally learned to spell it!) we are deep in the study of primary sources. According to the website Historical Thinking Matters, the methodology for studying historical documents is as follows:
1. Sourcing - Consider the documents author and its creation. To me this means who, what, when, where, why, and how.
2. Contextualizing - Situate the document in the appropriate time and place. What is going on here?
3. Close reading - Read carefully and consider what the document is saying and what it is trying to say. What does the source say and what language is used to say it?
Corroborating - Compare and contrast the document with other primary sources. Check important dates and details to determine the reliability of the document.

I am enjoying this immensely. I feel like a detective searching for clues and I love it. I only wish I were looking for clues about Latin American history, which is my true love.

In Children's Literature last week we read Skellig by David Almond. Loved this book! Part fantasy, part reality, we discussed how authors help the reader suspend disbelief and believe in the fantastical. I believed everything!

In regards to my previous post, I added a link to the author's website, which includes information about the controversy over her book, as well as information about banned book week (which was actually last week).

This is the first semester I have had time to attend the meetings of the history honor society and it has been a nice addition to the overall school experience. Most of the time I don't feel like a real student because I'm always rushing back and forth to or from work, so it is good to have the chance to meet with other history majors and get to know knew people. I'm really excited about some of the upcoming activities with the group, which includes possible work days at a couple of national parks in the area. Finally, I feel like I am getting to the meat of my degree and I have hope for some future possibilities that involve history in some way. It has been a long time coming. I hope change is in the air.