16 October 2014—East Asian History Midterm Assignment 2014
16 October 2013—China's Lunar Calendar 2013 10-16
|[a] Text and illustration RF|
Teach them, really.
The letter writing exercise is especially useful while studying primary source materials, as we are doing right now. The nonfiction writer John McPhee explains to his students that a letter is often precisely the solution to problems of interpretation or clarity—when in doubt, write to mother, he says. In this case, it is not a plea of “send money” that the letter contains, but a reworking, rethinking, and contextualization of your work. You need not limit yourself to kinfolk, but you need to think about who the recipient will be (ideally someone who will welcome a letter about “studying sources”).
You owe it to yourself to listen to this long interview with McPhee. At the very least, listen to the first two minutes. It is the very purpose behind this assignment.
|[c] I said, "start writing" RF|
3. Your letter must address the research process. Think about Jenny Presnell's The Information Literate Historian and Wayne Booth's The Craft of Research. Explain your research process to your reader—walk her through it (seriously). Think about Meghan Dowell's presentation in our class before break. Explain what you have learned with regard to your own project.
4. Have at least one table or chart (or list) that describes the materials you are using in your particular research paper. This is required.
Provide your reader with at least a few ways of thinking about his life and
c. You must discuss give at least one specific example from Geil's writings.
This should not be difficult. Feel free to use more.
d. You must discuss the research process in your letter, including "walking your
reader" through your research question.
e. Finally, give your reader some sense of what it is like to learn about a
a person who lived in very different era a century ago. How do we learn
about human experience through documents?
Voilà you will have something that will provide a strong foundation for your research proposal (due in mid-November) and your final research paper.
You get the idea. If you don't, just raise your hand and ask me (or send me an e-mail message). I'll be happy to help.
|[e] And then you may rest RF|