Oral History

Oral History If your only experience of studying history is reading textbooks, you’ve missed the exciting and sometimes very powerful experience of learning about an historical episode from someone who actually experienced it. This project gives you the chance to do exactly this. This assignment is designed to be fun and interesting, but there are several important guidelines you should follow in order to complete it successfully. Your essays are due at the beginning of class on December 3. They will not be accepted as email attachments and will lose a full letter grade for every day late. Your essay counts for 15 percent of your final grade in the course. First, interview a family member or acquaintance who lived through the Cold War. If you do not know much about the Cold War, you may need to use the textbook to brush up on the facts about it. This will help you in forming more specific and effective questions. What do they remember about its events, leaders, and consequences for life in the United States? How did the Cold War affect them personally? Some people will tell you their lives were shaped in crucial ways by the Cold War. Others will say the Cold War did not affect them much. Both sorts of people are fair game for this project. What shaped their experiences? You should write a 1000-word essay that (a) describes how the person you interviewed experienced the Cold War (use your own words but feel free to include several brief quotations from your interview if helpful) (b) analyzes this experience, explaining the three leading factors you believe shaped why your interviewee experienced the Cold War as they did; as you analyze their experience, you will need to consider many possible influences, including age, gender, geographical location, socioeconomic status, religious beliefs, ethnicity, and family background Your essay will be graded for how effectively you describe the experiences of the individual you interviewed, for how insightfully and thoroughly you analyze their experiences, and for how well you write. Your essay should include the following components: (a) a clear introduction that summarizes your interviewee’s experience and your analysis (b) a well-organized body with detailed description and insightful analysis (c) a concluding paragraph that summarizes the main points of your essay Good writing is essential to clear communication. You should plan to write more than one draft of this essay, and should carefully proofread your work before turning it in. As is common with most academic writing, please use the third person. You do not need to include citations, but be sure to supply the name of the person you interviewed and the date you conducted the interview. Your essay should be double-spaced. Please use one-inch margins and an easy-to-read font, such as Times New Roman, in a twelve-point size. Your essay should include your name, the name of your discussion section leader, the name of the course, the exact word count, and the date. Every page except the first should be numbered in the upper-right corner.

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