Goal

This project aims at getting you to think about historical events in the context of the appropriate historical period. By using their imaginations to immerse themselves in history, students will explore and address the societal and cultural differences of a previous time and write an article from the perspective of that period. Through this exercise, students will learn how to find and analyze primary sources, develop strong thesis statements and persuasive arguments, and think and write from an alternative perspective. Overall, this project will foster not only strong analytical skills but also critical empathetic skills necessary for becoming a strong civic leader.

Deliverables

  • You will submit an article of about 750 words, written from the perspective of if you were living in a historical period.
  • Article topics are chosen by the writer but must first be approved by the instructor.
  • DUE DATE: TBD

Steps

  1. Choose an event or period in time that is of particular interest to you, or about which you’d like to learn more.
  2. Research that topic by compiling several primary sources (firsthand accounts of the event) and secondary sources (secondhand accounts of the event). In this exercise, primary sources may be cited in your writing, while secondary sources could help inform your position.
  3. Outline the argument in your own words. Start with a strong thesis sentence that ties together the rest of your article. Find supporting evidence for your case using your compilation of sources.
  4. Think about who your audience will be. Will you try to explain it to policymakers, parents, or voters? Keep in mind that whoever you address, your writing should convey the perspective of a different time.
  5. Create a draft of your script or your article. Make sure to focus on the accuracy of the argument at this point. Have someone read it. What questions did they have? What did they find unclear?
  6. Fix the errors you encounter in Step 5 and focus on final touches (grammar, syntax, clarity).

Why?

There are two learning goals:

  1. To teach you to think with a different perspective by having you write from a different perspective in time. If you can empathize with and understand the nuances of an argument, particularly one you may disagree with, you will be better skilled to debate your position on the topic.
  2. To encourage you all to be “public intellectuals” who are capable of sharing your work with the broader public. For an excellent piece on this, check out this link.

Examples

Examples of student-written Historians 4 Social Change articles can be found on our homepage. Here is an additional example article written by a Staff member.