2) "Revised" Syllabus for English 102, Local Histories
English 102, Section 22
University of Arizona
It is the weekend, but I am not sure what weekend means except that there are two days I do not have to be on campus for meetings, classes, and what have you. I, like you, spend most of my weekend working on stuff I should have completed last week or need to complete for next week. This is what it means to be in school, I suppose.
This weekend, I am reconsidering our course. Originally, we were scheduled to have two pretty major projects over the course of the rest of the semester. You can refer back to your syllabus for assignments 2 and 3 to see what they were supposed to be. I am giving you, here, now, a new scope for the rest of the course. The reasons for these changes are plentiful. First of all, I decided that the two major projects, one of which requires you to learn how to do HTML, was just too much for this semester. Second, as I have listened to you talk about history you have mentioned several times that the form of technology that the history is presented in impacts the perspective and the construction of "truth" of the history. I see that happening in current events with the recent Starr report delivered over the internet, the impending release of the video tapes of the President's testimony, and the blast of media coverage along with unmediated forms of communication (listservs, websites, etc.) that have resulted. Clearly, history is being written in a new and troubling way, and much of that is because of the technologies of contemporary society.
So, here's my plan for the semester. We will be working through these assignments together, of course, and the project and analysis will take shape as you and your group decides is best. I am excited to see what you come up with, how you analyze what you do, and what you learn about history, the community, yourself, and academic writing.
Overview for rest of semester:
Beginning September 29, we will be entering the second unit of our course. The first unit was designed to have you reading historical texts and analyzing them to reveal ideological assumptions, perspectives, and constructions of "truth." In this first unit, you have been talking about the representation of people and the consequences of those representations. You have learned that all history is written from a perspective, that no history is "objective" or representative of the whole truth. You have learned that peoples are ignored and often represented in ways that perpetuate certain values.
But, you have also learned that histories are important. Only through looking at histories do we get a deeper sense of who we are, where we are, and what the implications of our actions are. You have learned that we are always writing histories, we are always living histories. You have been surprised to learn about the community you live in (no matter how temporarily) and many of you have suggested that knowing some history about Tucson has made you look differently at it, often more appreciatively.
The second unit of the semester will be your opportunity to delve deeper into a specific historical topic, to research it, make it come alive, work in the community to get an enriched understanding of the history you are working on, and to present that history. You will be using some form of technology to present the history, and this will require you to think about the best way to present your topic as well as what the implications are of presenting it the way you do. All of the work for the second unit will be done in your permanent groups. Therefore, you will also be learning how to incorporate and balance diverse perspectives on the history you are working on.
The third unit will require you as individuals to step back and rhetorically analyze your work. You will reflect on the process you went through, the interaction with the community, what you learned, and what you created. You will analyze the ideological framework that you worked from in creating the project. You will turn the same critical eye that you used in the first unit, on your own work and write an academic analysis of your own history project.
Throughout these units, you will continue reading histories of Tucson and critical materials to help you see the process and the implications of making history. Your major readings will still be Gary Paul Nabhan's Saguaro and Barbara Kingsolver's Holding the Line. In addition, you will have articles and excerpts on reserve that I will ask you to read and discuss. You will also be continuing to do analyses and journals. One such journal will ask you to analyze OldPuebloMOO, as it is both an educational site, a historically enriched site, and a community – all of which you are concerned with in this course.
Ultimately, your history project and your rhetorical analyses will be posted on the MOO. It is my hope that the history projects will become permanent features of OldPuebloMOO. Your critique of OldPueblo and your contributions to it will be important aspects of the public nature of your academic work.
The Nuts and The Bolts
Sept 29 and Oct I
Read Saguaro, Chapters 1,2,3
Guest speaker: Resources in the Library
Discuss the differences between a "people-centered" history and an environmental history.
Identify environmental issues.
MOO assignment: create an object relating to the text and place in an appropriate area on OldPueblo.
Oct 6 and 8
Finish Saguaro, Chapters 4-6.
Discuss technology and representation. Reading to be announced.
Discuss doing multi-layered research
MOO assignment: present on-line research materials to your group
Oct 13 and 15
Read Holding the Line: Introduction, Chs. 1-3.
Discuss Introduction in depth
Technology Project Proposal Due
Discuss Bibliography in Holding the Line
MOO assignment: working bibliographies for group project
Oct 20 and 22
Read Holding the Line: Introduction, Chs. 4-6
Community contacts, Reflections on working in the Community
Oct 27 and 29
Read Holding the Line: Introduction, Chs. 7-9
Learning from Communities.
Research problems and progress
Nov 3 and 5
Read Holding the Line: Introduction, Chs. 10-Epilogue
Technology Project discussion
Nov 10 and 12
Readings to be announced
Analyzing Ideologies at work
Reflecting on changing perspectives
Nov 17 and 19
Readings to be announced
Preliminary presentations of projects for class feedback
Nov 24 and 26
Writing a rhetorical analysis of your project
Thursday, No Class
Dec 1 and 3
Presentations of final projects
Preparation for Final Exam
Linking exhibits to OldPuebloMOO
Unit 2 Assignment Description
During the weeks devoted to both Unit 2 and 3, we will continue reading histories of Tucson (and the surrounding areas) and talking about problems with reading and writing histories and representing people and places. We will see that there are lots of little histories that make up a place, and we will see different angles on Tucson.
Your assignment will be to write a history of Tucson. Of course, you can't write the whole history – no one ever can or could. But you can research a specific history, compile information and perspectives, and present that history. To do this history, you will have to think through a topic, research it, choose a form of technology to represent that history, and do the work to represent it. Phewie. Here are some guidelines:
Groups: You have been assigned groups for the rest of the semester. You will be working with this group to complete this project. You will need to organize work, get together to discuss perspectives (since multiple perspectives enrich our understanding of the world), and coordinate efforts. I recommend you begin this process as soon as possible.
The Project: Your group will choose a broad topic (see below) to work from. You will talk about your individual interests and knowledge bases and determine a narrower topic to research for the project. Then you will research the topic from resources in the library get hooked up with community organizations and members to do further research, including interviews, and determine what kind of history *needs* to be done for this topic choose a technology project to represent the history (see below) create the project and present it.
The Grade: You will be evaluated on the quality and thoroughness of your research, the appropriateness of your presentation for the topic, the level at which the history benefits the groups you are working with to create the history, and the quality of the final presentation. We will work together as a class to further define these criteria.
Technology Options: Your group may choose one of these options, or you may define your own use of technology for the presentation. The technology you choose should be chosen, not for simplicity or time constraints, but in order to present your history in the most effective fashion. Whatever option you choose has ramifications for the perspective, audience, and actual content being presented. You will need to thoroughly think this through as a group. Since this is the aspect of the project which will allow you the most creativity, I highly recommend you get excited about it and give it a lot of attention. Whatever technology project you choose, it must be fully developed and represent your in depth research and knowledge of the history of your topic.
· Web Site: your group may choose to create a web site, or an electronic magazine to present your history. There are many web editors and tons of resources on campus to learn to use web tools. You may want to look at some web sites for ideas.
· MOO Photo Journal: your group may want to create a photo journal for the MOO. You would be creating notes with descriptive/analytical text of pictures and attaching digital images to the notes. You might take the photos yourselves and/or use archived historical photos (this would be a nice comparison/contrast for historical materials).
· Audio Journal: your group may want to create an oral, audio journal of the topic you select. This would require you to record interviews and edit in commentary. It would not be sufficient for you to just present the complete recordings of interviews. You would need to carefully select and record interviews, your groups' editorial analyses, and complementary sounds from the area.
· MOO Environment: your group may choose to build an environment on the MOO to represent the history. You could represent a neighborhood, a historic building, or location. You will need to include texts, images, and/or links to resources on the web. This would be a mini-version of OldPuebloMOO itself, so you might want to explore OldPueblo for ideas. (I would encourage you to be critical of the MOO and decide how your group could address the issues raised in your critique.)
· Printed Publication: your group may choose to create a printed publication representing your history. You might focus on a full length history and include sidebars and images. Or you might create "features" and make the publication more like a magazine.
IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT UNIT 3 ASSIGNMENT PREPARATION
Since your final unit will be your rhetorical analysis of your project, you will find yourself better able to complete that analysis if you keep pretty detailed field notes, journal reflections, and records of what you are doing THROUGHOUT this unit 2. From the moment you start talking with your groups, you should be looking critically at and analyzing the process you are going through. You might want to start by writing about what you know (from the beginning) about your topic. State your assumptions and beliefs about what you will find. Then constantly keep track of how your ideas change, try to identify how your interpretations of events and materials differ from others in your group, and make some analytical reflections on why that might be so. Also, pay close attention to the process of deciding how to present the materials and identify what went into those choices.
(Broad and suggested focus topics)
I am suggesting the following topics based on the fact that I can identify library resources and community organizations to facilitate your research and because they are in related to the histories you are reading in class. Please feel free to identify other topics. Your group will approach all of the topics from a historical perspective.Your group needs to identify at least a broad topic by October 6. You should narrow and focus as soon as possible after that. Each group needs to choose a different topic since I would like a wide range of topics and perspectives to be covered in this course. Therefore, you are more likely to get the topic of your choice if your group selects early.
Historic Neighborhoods and Communities. To narrow this topic, you would select a specific neighborhood or community (or even community organization) and research from there. You might pick a community that someone in your group has experience or connections with.
Founding Families. The Ronstandt and Jacome families are both possibilities. But, there are lots of ways to define "founding" and "family".
Locations and Trends:
Historic Buildings. There are quite a few. You might select the Rialto theater, for example (that would contribute to something already existing on the MOO), or the Mission, or a little known downtown haunt.
Transportation in Tucson
Utilization of Resources (Mining, Water, etc.)
Native Plants and Vegetation. As Nabhatfs book reveals, we learn a lot about Tucson’s history through if its vegetation.
Much of the environment is threatened and altered. A history might document the threats to the environment as well as ways to preserve it.
Sites surrounding Tucson, such as Tumamoc, Kitt's Peak. Many of these sites carry a great deal of controversy, and your history could reveal and explore those controversies.
Immigrant Labor. You have gotten some focus on this on the web sites. You might look into a specific group's history for a more narrow focus on this topic.
Strikes. The Clifton strike in Kingsolver's book is just one example. You could further investigate that strike from a different angle, look at the Bisbee strikes, or even the recent SunTran strike last year.
University Groups and History
Minority Programs. You might look at the history of Chicano Studies, NewStart, or any other organization on campus (I have some limitations here, so please see me if you plan to pursue this).
Athletics. This is really done to death, but
University Funding. It would be interesting to get the scoop on where monies come from and go to here.
Folk Arts. Tucson is rich in folk arts.
Community Art Installations. Look around at the installations on campus, downtown, and in neighborhoods. What's the history and reasons for those public art forms.
Murals. What a rich history the murals in this town have.
Tucson Writers. Barbara Kingsolver is one. There are many.
Good luck and Have fun!