Choose one of the larger themes below and develop a creative project or work around it, using what you have learned this semester. Narrow one of these themes into a more specific thesis, question, or contestable claim. Use one of the following mediums to explore your topic:
Researched essay of 1000+ words (or at least 4 full pages in 12 pt. font) exploring the topic pulling from primary sources of all/any types. See Starting Your History Essay for reference. You’ll learn more about primary sources in Unit 1 – remember, using only secondary sources will not suffice!
Narrated Presentation OR Video (your narrated audio must be between 5-8 minutes long) You can think of this as a curated online museum exhibit/photo essay, or a mini-historical documentary. See Women’s Suffrage Sample Presentation or the short introductory storytelling videos at the beginning of each chapter for reference and examples. See the Starting Your Presentation page and accompanying links for reference.
10-15 minute Podcast/Radio show – this is a chance to interview a person or persons and let them tell their interesting stories along a relevant topic, which you can then put into context and frame historically by editing your narrated audio along with theirs. See the podcasts and radio show clips throughout the course for examples. See the Starting Your Podcast and/or Oral History Interview(s) page and accompanying links for reference.
Another Medium of Your Choice – you can propose another type of project (maybe youd rather create a map website, an interactive timeline, or perform research via survey), but you need to get your instructors approval, preferably before your Final Project: Topic, Working Thesis, and Format check-in. Make sure your topic is both narrow enough to address in brief format, and worthy of a deep dive.
Regardless of your project medium or modality, remember to check the links below for minimum requirements, as well as the examples and helpful links provided afterward. Don’t forget to cite all of your sources (including images). Check How to Cite Sources in Chicago Style for help with this, and ask your instructor if you have questions!
Starting Your History Essay
Starting Your Presentation
Starting Your Podcast and/or Oral History Interview(s)
Choose one of the following overarching themes:
Democracy and diversity: How democratic is our democracy?
Identity: What does it mean to be an American?
Culture: How has culture unified or divided Americans?
Politics and Citizenship: What does it mean to be an American citizen? What is the role of the government?
Choose a medium and narrow your topic. One may be somewhat determined by the other – if you know what you want your specific topic to be, that may inform which medium you choose, or vice versa. For instance, if you definitely want to curate a playlist, you may choose a topic such as Rock and Roll and Race under the Culture theme. Or, if you want to explore a theme around American identity and immigrants or Native Americans or the poor, you might choose a presentation or video where you can use some powerful photographs and other visuals.
You may want to focus on the evolving timeline of a certain topic (see the Timeline Activity in Unit 2 to refresh your memory on this) or you may choose to narrow your topic by limiting it to a certain time period – here are some suggestions:
Think about the the claim or argument you want to make or the question you want to answer, and how best you can present your research to achieve that goal. Make that question or argument clear in the title of your project, and remember that you will need to provide analysis for your sources, and not merely summarize facts or events.
You’ll have some help developing your ideas through the Final Project Brainstorm Discussion, and your instructor will “sign off” on your final chosen topic and modality via the Final Project: Topic, Working Thesis, and Format check-in assignment.
Then, prepare your interview questions and/or collect your sources, documentation, quotes, photos, songs, etc., citing them appropriately in your bibliography or Works Cited slide (you’ll work on annotating two of your sources for your Final Project Part I: Topic, Working Thesis, and Format, but for your final turn-in your bibliography doesn’t need to be annotated.)
. For each entry, briefly summarize the source, note its credibility or bias, and state how you plan to use it in your project. This will help you shape the project as you collect evidence. Refer back to the pages on working with sources and the questions in the assessments throughout the course to help you frame the project.
Finally, after you’ve completed your project, write a 1 page (2-3 paragraph) reflection on how this process went for you – what came easy, what was frustrating, how you feel about your results. This will likely be a project that will push you
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