Document Analysis

HST 296: Document Analysis

Due: In section on April 19 or 20

15 Points

You are welcome to bring a smart phone or tablet to Special Collections to photograph the document that you plan to analyze for this assignment.

The documents are available to you at any point for further examination, Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 5:00pm, with no appointment necessary. Just ask for the items for HST 296.

The Goal:

This assignment encourages you to explore one particular “conspicuous” or “submerged” history as revealed in the various local documents housed in our Special Collections. All of the items that you will see during your visit are ones that an historian might use in order to better understand the past, and a key goal of HST 296 is to teach you how to analyze such evidence.

The Assignment:

Choose one document (or more than one, if they relate to the same topic) from those on display during your section’s scheduled visit to the Special Collections of King Library, or ask one of the librarians in Special Collections to help you find something that suits your specific interests. This assignment focuses on how local events on the Miami campus, in Oxford, and in southwest Ohio illustrate or, perhaps, contradict global trends. So the items on display will be very local in nature – issues of the Miami Student and the Miami yearbook; documents from Western College; official records and letters of the university; documents by and about Oxford residents and/or Miami alumni, including personal letters; and so on.

In 900 words (about 3-3.5 double-spaced pages), address the following:

1. What is the title of the document? When and where was it created, and who created it? What type of document is it (letter, newspaper article, etc.), and what is its general focus?

2. What “conspicuous” or “submerged” history does your document illustrate? Quote at least two different passages from the document that reveal this history.

3. Where does David Reynolds’s One World Divisible address the history revealed in your document? Or, if his book doesn’t seem to address this history, where could it have done so, given that it looked at related historical developments? Quote at least two passages from Reynolds to make your point.

4. Finally, what differences (or local variations) do you see between the history that your document reveals and that which Reynolds discusses on a broader global level, and what might account for those differences (for example, variations in media coverage, technological development, governmental systems, family structures, religious context, etc.)? Print as a hard copy, unless you receive specific permission from your Section Instructor to submit an electronic version.

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