This is a written memo: Knowledge is Power Project
Step 1: Pick article from the American Historical Association’s collection of stories delving into the history of (relatively) current events at any of these links:
Here is my choice:
AHA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: BARBARA M. POSADAS
link to article, I will attach separate PDF with this article.
Step 2: Read it, paying attention to the listed elements in Step 3 below.
Step 3: The Written Memo — In 300 to 700 words, write a memo in which you dissect the article. Cover the following elements:
1. What is the current topic or news issue here? Explain this in your own words. (two or three sentences or more)
2. How does the author connect this current issue to history? Explain this in your own words. This will probably be the longest section of your memo. If you want to use a list format here — with bullet points — that is fine. This is a memo and can be informal. Does the author make comparisons between the current topic and a particular theme or historical period in the past? Explain, briefly. Does the author trace the history of a theme here? Summarize it. (The length of this section depends on the article and how many connections and comparisons the author makes between history and the current issue. Be thorough, but also make this memo your own by putting it in your own words. If you want to use a few quotes from the article, that’s fine, but make sure you do two things: first, you’ll be citing the source at the end, but definitely indicate they are quotes by using quotation marks; and second, don’t rely too much on direct quotes. Pick carefully; don’t overdo.)
3. Give one example of a primary source and one example of a secondary source in this article. In this section of the memo, just give one example of a primary source, one example of a secondary source, and explain what each source is and what each source tells us about the current issue and/or historical context. To refresh your memory: what is a primary source? what is a secondary source? A primary source is something created *at the time or by someone who was there* when the event is/was actually happening. It can be a picture or a quote from that time or it could even be a quote from someone who witnessed or experienced the event first-hand and is remembering it. (Note: The primary source could be related to the current event. In other words, it could be a picture of 2021. Or it could be a historical primary source, such as a picture taken in 1962.) A secondary source is information created later and by someone who did not witness or experience the event first-hand. This could be a reporter’s or historian’s summary of what happened if they were not there when it happened. (four to six sentences or more)
4. Big take-aways: Remember that this project is titled the Knowledge is Power Project. Given that, what did you learn from this article and how could this knowledge help us make sense of what’s happening today? Explain in your own words. Consider how that knowledge could be empowering when thinking about current issues. (full paragraph, probably five sentences)
5. What do you want to learn more about? What’s missing from this story? Did this article spur on additional questions that you have about the main topic of this article? Did it spur you to wish you knew the fuller story of anything related to this topic or similar to it… or closer to home? Finally, did you feel like some part of the story was missing or should have been delved into more deeply? Explain. (three sentences or more)
6. Include a link to the story at the bottom of your memo. Please cite your link using the Chicago Style of Citation (Notes & Bibliography Entry Style). Use the Bibliography Entry.
A Note on Style: This is a written memo. Feel free to number or label the sections of your memo (example: 1….. 2…..) Use a comfortable writing style, but with a scholarly purpose. For some of this — Element 2 — bullet-pointed formatting may be helpful as you dissect the article. On the other hand, you may be more comfortable with a smooth narrative style, using paragraphs all the way through the memo. Your style can be informal, but keep a scholarly purpose. Do proofread your memo to see that you are communicating clearly. Look over your phrasing, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.
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