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 According to the website Historical Thinking Matters, the methodology for studying historical documents is as follows: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.

4 comments:

Caz said...

Glad you're enjoying historiography - I hope I've spelled it right! I'm doing history at the moment and while I love the 'detective' work, I do find it frustrating finding relevant sources. Another thing we've been told to consider is the perspective of the author. Something else I found interesting is that it doesn't have to be written - art, maps and architecture can be primary sources. Isn't it exciting when you find a great primary source? Something written by someone who actually lived in the time!!!!! I'm glad you've found your niche!

Nicki said...

So glad to hear you are excited and things seem to be going well! I hope you get the grades you are hoping for on the exam! I am taking Archaeology (as part of my Art History requirement) and I am sorry to say that I hate it. God, I hope I pass that class. Luckily, no exams but 3 term papers. It is very interesting but history...esp. Ancient history is just not my thing! My hat's off to you!!!

E. Sheppard said...

I used to love essay writing on tests. I know, craziness. But it was fairly easy for me to get better grades that way.

I like investigating too. I think I might also enjoy a history class or two. I have always loved ancient Egypt, mysteries, and treasure maps. Your classes sound like they might have some of these.

Brandywine said...

E., I'm not so fond of blue books myself, but I'm glad you enjoyed them, lol. Since you like investigating, I think you would like history. It would be great to find a treasure map!