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Thoughts re: proposals

pfischer's picture

I believe that we should try to take elements of the different proposals and integrate them with our group proposal, the 'debate' format. This is an English class, and form is definitely something that I have not examined as much as I could have, so I think that instead of excerpting long non-fictional works that we should substitute shorter, less conventional works of nonfiction. We should incorporate film and media and perhaps works of journalism, art, and science into the debate format. For example, instead of reading two separate histories of LA and NYC, we could compare photos, city plans, newspapers, or articles about each city in a separate time and place. Or, because many expressed a desire to examine race and identity, we could examine how racial constructs were held as 'truths' in different times and places, again through primary sources or other nonfictional pieces that don't happen to be 400 page histories.

However, if we did read those 400 page histories, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with excerpting them. Academic historical writing is easily excerpted and perhaps even written to be so, as are other works within the social sciences. The form of historical analysis is not supposed to be the focus, it is the content (although i did just read a history of bombing organized as a 'labyrinth' with 22 'narrative entrances' that worked as sort of a choose your own ending murder mystery and wove arguments through chronologically ordered facts about bombing.) That actually could be an interesting book to read if we were interested in the form of historical nonfiction writing but I doubt anyone but me would actually find that appealing.


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