WRITE AS IF YOU HAVE INTERVIEWED AN ELDERLY PERSON AND CONNECT WHAT THEY SAY WITH WHAT YOU HAVE “LEARNED” FROM the book American Yawp. It should not take more than 3 hours.
interview an elderly family member or friend about a major historical event, organization, or issue (For 2020 courses this may be Civil Rights Movement, Women’s Movement, Vietnam War, Labor Unions/workers rights, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl). The event must be related to American History and within the scope of our class.
- Craft a list of questions beforehand to help guide you.
The goal is to ask your interviewee what they know about a past event or issue, where they got that information—personal experience? News outlet? Word of mouth? Family history? What was their experience? Or are they recalling stories passed down through generations?
- In a 3-4 page paper report on what your narrator discussed. Use the textbook, assigned readings, and class discussions to assess and evaluate the narrative told by the narrator. Do their memories uphold or contradict what you’ve learned or read in class? How can you account for any discrepancies, if they exist? What types of personal factors shape what people believe to be true about the past and their experiences? For example, does race, class, gender, economic status, geographic location or residence, or sexual orientation influence their narrative of the past. Where did they learn what they know about the past? For example, if you interview your grandmother about the 1960s and the Vietnam War, where did she get her information from—Television? Newspapers? Friends who may have served in the Vietnam War?
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