In each lecture the professor will introduce a historical narrative about an interaction between the U.S. and a part of the African continent. These lectures will give examples from regional, national and individual experiences. The weekly short papers will require students to chose ONE (1) historical document from the Hypothesis exercises (if students find a different document they wish to use they need to get permission from the professor first). In the short paper, the students must:
Explain their understanding of the historical narrative for the event/topic of the document based on lectures, class discussions, films, and primary source documents read for the topic students choose. Please cite in the paper from where you are drawing your evidence [reading, lecture, document, podcast, film, etc].
Then the student should explain the historical document they are analyzing and how it relates to that narrative – does it confirm the narrative and if so how? Does it contradict the narrative – why and how? Or does it add nuance to the framework of the narrative and give more explanation and if so – how and why?
The point of this exercise is to think about how historians, journalists, filmmakers, and others create historical narratives about topics. How does our western centered perspective shape our approach to the narratives and information? How might African narratives of events differ from people in the U.S.? These are questions that should underlie your approach to the short papers.
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