HSTY 120-01X Reading Questions

The prompts for you to consider in your reading journal for each class session will be listed below. The questions are intended to be open-ended, so please feel free to answer in whatever way you see fit.

Each entry should be approximately 50 words or more.

Unit 1: Autobiographies as Historical Sources

Date Topic Question(s)
Mon., Jan. 25 Course Introduction No entry
Weds., Jan. 27 How do historians work? In the episode, each historian offers his or her explanation for how and why they study the past. Which of these explanations did you find most intriguing, and why?
Mon., Feb. 1 What is an autobiography? According to Bjorklund, in what ways do autobiographers craft their narratives to respond to their audience?
Weds., Feb. 3 Telling the Story of One’s Life Based on your prior knowledge and on reading Samson Occom’s account, what do you think are the most important elements that make a piece of writing an “autobiography?”
Mon., Feb. 8 Terms for Life Stories Select two of the “tools” that Smith and Watson describe for reading autobiographies. How do you think you can use them in class as we read additional autobiographies?
Weds., Feb. 10 Evaluating different perspectives What role does childhood play in the accounts of Antin and Addams?
Mon., Feb. 15 No class meeting Presidents’ Day
Weds., Feb. 17 Exposing Slavery through Autobiography Why do you think Bibb chose to describe these particular events from his time as an enslaved person in the way that he did?
Mon., Feb. 22 Honors Project: Reading an Autobiography Briefly discuss your interests for the project: do you have a particular person in mind? A time period or place that most excites you?
Weds., Feb. 24 Experiences of War What most surprised you about Fazio’s account of traveling to Iraq?
Mon., Mar. 1 Author Visit: Teresa Fazio Share the question you would like to ask Dr. Fazio.

Unit 2: The First American?

Date Topic Question(s)
Weds., Mar. 3 Eighteenth-Century British North America Describe one aspect of the manuscript version of Franklin’s Autobiography that you find interesting.
Mon., Mar. 8 The Worlds of Benjamin Franklin Franklin frames the first part of the autobiography as if it were a letter to his son,William. What impact does that have on how you read his life story?
Weds., Mar. 10 Presenting an Ethical Life Why do you think Franklin told the lengthy story about trying to live a virtuous life?
Mon., Mar. 15 The Emergence of Benjamin Franklin Do you see any patterns in how Franklin chooses to tell stories about his life? (Other than that he thinks he is amazing, that is.)
Weds., Mar. 17 An Incomplete Story In thinking about the entire Autobiography, what’s one thing that surprised you as you read?
Mon., Mar. 22 Thinking about Franklin Pick one of the essays assigned for today to write about. How does the author’s argument make you see the Autobiography differently?
Weds., Mar. 24 The Man and the Performance What do you think Warner is trying to argue about Franklin and how he presents himself in the Autobiography?
Mon., Mar. 29 Research Day No response today

Unit 3: Experiencing the Civil Rights Movement

Date Topic Question(s)
Weds., Mar. 31 The Segregated Society of Jim Crow America How does your reading of the textbook chapter change the way you think about civil rights in United States history?
Mon., Apr. 5 The Long Battle for Civil Rights How did Beals describe her experience of Jim Crow as a child (that is, before high school)?
Weds., Apr. 7 Brown v. Board of Education and the Fight for Schools Why do you think the white students felt so threatened by the presence of the African-American students at Central High School?
Mon., Apr. 12 Research Day Provide an update on your individual autobiography project. What are the most interesting things you’ve learned so far?
Weds., Apr. 14 Civil Rights and the Cold War Why do you think Beals included so many newspaper headlines in her narrative of the school year?
Mon., Apr. 19 Patriots’ Day No entry required
Weds., Apr. 21 Other Perspectives on Little Rock What seems different to you about the desegregation of Central High School when we explore it from the perspective of national media and politics?
Mon., Apr. 26 Research Day No entry required