Getting to know the 20th Century
There are a number of ways those living in our area can become more
familiar with the 20th century, the context for our study.
Visits to historical sites. There are a number of sites
in the Washington area where speeches we will study this semester
were given. These include the Lincoln
Memorial where Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream"
speech was given, the United
States Capitol where a number of our speeches were given either
on the floor of the Senate or in the well of the House. There are
others as well. To fulfill this option you will visit sites where
speeches are given or other sites of 20th century history relevant
to the course and write a report on your visit. That report should:
(1) describe what you learned at the site and (2) how the site changed
the way you understand the speech you have studied. Remember when
you visit the the capital to check security requirements before
Videoexperiences. There may well be programs
broadcast by the History Channel or on the "American Experience"
series on PBS that provide insight into the context for some of
the speeches we study. Many of these videos are available
in our library; some are available on line; others are available
for purchase. These program or videotapes are typically from one
hour to six hours in length. You may watch one of these programs,
then write a report in which you: (1) describe what you learned
related to one of the units of our course through the videotape,
and (2) how the site changed the way you understand a speech you
Museum Visits. A number of museums in the Washington
area feature exhibits related to 20th Century socio-political life
and leadership, although with the economic conditions many are not
currently offering exhibits on the 20th century. The National Museum
of American History does not at the moment have obvious exhibits
that will assist us, nor does the Smithsonian's Museum
of American Art. In fact, some of the lesser known museums may
be best at the moment. The Woodrow
Wilson House is open for visits in NW Washington. But you might
want to check out other ideas you have with me. Following your visit
to one of these sites, write a report in which you: (1) describe
what you learned related to one of the units of our course through
the visit, and (2) how the visit changed the way you understand
a speech you have studied.
Book Reports. Or you can do a good old fashioned
book report. Read a historical study of some event or speaker in
the 20th century. Write a report in which you: (1) describe what
you learned related to one of the units of our course through the
visit, and (2) how the visit changed the way you understand a speech
you have studied.
Interview an older relative or friend. Identify a
relative or friend who lived through the Depression of the 1930s,
World War II, the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, or the Feminist
movement of the 1970s. This could be one of your parents, or grandparents,
an aunt or uncle. Sit down with them for about an hour and ask them
to talk about that time. Ask them some questions stimulated by your
knowledge of that time. Write a report in which you: (1) describe
what you learned related to one of the units of the course from
your informant, and (2) how that interview changed the way you understand
one of the speeches from this semester.
- Public Programs. One of the fortunate things about
living on a campus and in the Washington area are the opportunities
to attend programs in which noted authors and historians talk about
events of the 20th century. You may attend one of these programs
and write a report on what you learned from it. It may be a
good idea for you to inquire from me about whether the program looks
like it would be a good one to facilitate your work on this assignment.
Write a report in which you: (1) describe what you learned related
to one of the units of the course from the program, and (2) how the
program changed the way you understand one of the speeches from this
Other things may come up as the semester goes along that would suffice
to meet this assignment. Such options will be posted on the website.
You also can check any possibility with me. From previous uses of this
assignment there are four other restrictions that should be explicit:
- The grade is earned from the learning that the outside activity
fosters, not from the activity itself. So, make certain you are learning
while you are experiencing and can express what you have learned.
- Activities will be easier to write about if you do them simultaneous
with or after we have talked about the community in class related
to that particular activity.
- You may find opportunities that are not included on the website.
You may do those after clearing them with me, but clearing them with
me (specifically via email) is a good idea.
- Please notice that just visiting websites does not fulfill the requirement.
You may look at websites in conjunction with a visit, a museum, a
program or a book. But these websites should merely supplement your
activity. I expect to see learning beyond that provided by a "virtual
tour" as I read your report.
You need to submit one report each month: February, March, and April.
No late reports will be accepted. Your three reports must be drawn from
at least two of the types of reports listed above. The report should
be typed or word processed, and be 250-500 words (1-2 pages).
Reports will be graded S/U. An "S" will indicate that you
have provided me evidence of the two criteria specified above for your
type of submission. Also notice that you must do at least two different
types of activities.
The semester grade (ten percent of the total grade) will be calculated
according to the following: one "S" = D; two = C; three =