Assignments
 

Introduction (July 7-8)
The purpose of this Monday and Tuesday stuff is to orient you to the materials you will work on, the people you will work with, and the tools you will work through.  Linger especially on the American Memory tour in step 2, the several community fostering activities in step 5, and the discussion board reflections in step 8.  OUR GUIDE: EDWARD J. GALLAGHER.
 

The Chinese in California: 1850-1925 (July 9-15)
Blood sucking vampire bats.  Slithering poisonous snakes.  Swarming rats.  Barbarian hordes. Intelligent, quiet, industrious workers. This is just a sampling of the many images and characteristics that political cartoonists, editors, politicians, and average citizens attributed to the Chinese community in America in the late nineteenth century as part of the on-going debate about Chinese immigration that eventually resulted in the passage by the U.S. Congress of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.  Our goal: to explore the causes of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 through a web log (a "blog").  OUR GUIDE: PAUL GALANTE.
 

Chicago Anarchists on Trial: Evidence from the Haymarket Affair, 1886-1887 (July 16-22)
Bombs, Blood, and Anarchists: On May 4th, 1886, a bomb set off in Chicago’s Haymarket Square ignited a controversy over the role of the labor movement, the efficacy of the Chicago police and government, and the place of German immigrants in American society.  The bomb and ensuing barrage of police bullets left at least seven policemen and four workers dead -- the trial, which would become a public extravaganza, sentenced seven men to be hung, even though the accused were not thought to have personally thrown the bomb.  Our goal: to test the claims of an expert historian in an analytical essay.  OUR GUIDE: ROBERT WILSON.
 

After The Day of Infamy: “Man-on-the-Street” Interviews Following the Attack on Pearl Harbor (July 23-29)
We're certain that you remember where you were when you heard about or saw the images of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.  The events of 9/11 were life- and history- altering.  Sixty years earlier, a similar sneak attack occurred on December 7th, 1941.  In this unit, we’ll be listening to a collection of “Man-on-the Street” interviews on the days after the attack on Pearl Harbor to interpret the impact on ordinary American citizens of what President Franklin Roosevelt called a “Day of Infamy.”  Our goal: to construct a “narrative” interpreting the impact of the “Day of Infamy.” OUR GUIDE: STEPHEN TOMPKINS.
 

"Now What a Time": Blues, Gospel, and the Fort Valley Music Festivals, 1938-1943 (July 30 - Aug 5)
"We are Americans….Praise the Lord": In a poem published in 1925, Langston Hughes proclaims, "I, too, sing America."  This sentiment is echoed by the soulful voice of an African-American church singer leading her congregation in song at the 1943 Fort Valley Music Festival in rural Georgia. Listening to this recording and other blues and gospel performances captured at Fort Valley Music Festivals between 1938-1943 allows us to eavesdrop on an African-American community talking to itself about its troubles, dreams, and place in American society at the start of World War II.  Our goal: to construct a “narrative” interpreting a selection of African American folk music.  OUR GUIDE: MICHAEL YELLIN.
 

Florida Folklife from the WPA Collections, 1937-1942 (Aug 6-12)
A 21-year turpentine worker relating his prison experience. An old woman remembering her father. An old blind man singing the blues.  A young child explaining the rules of "Hawk and Chicken." Microphones were set up, tapes were rolling, and "everyday" men and women related small moments of their lives to complete strangers.  Our job for this unit will be to piece these voices together and form a mosaic of their lives and times that will tell us something about what it was like to live in Florida during the harsh years of 1937-1942.  Our goal: to reflect on ourselves as constructors of history.  OUR GUIDE: JOHN LENNON.
 

Conclusion (August 13-15)
Closing time!  We salute you "library rats" for a vigorous exploration of the online archives.  And we ask you to hang on for a few more things before the virtual doors shut.  As we said in the beginning, this is a first-time course -- perhaps nation-wide.  And we had no models to follow or experience to guide us.  Thus, we especially need your attention to the anonymous "Feedback" survey you will find described here.  (The "Feedback" survey need not be done all at once, so we encourage you to take your time. NOTE: If you want to return to do more work on the survey, click "save." That way what you have done will be there when you return. Click "submit" when you are completely finished.) Our thanks for helping us reflect on this experiment!  OUR GUIDE: EDWARD J. GALLAGHER.