Fragments of the Past

Use the magazine archive on Google Books to find and submit a compelling Fragment of the Past in the comments, below.

Include the magazine date and the historical Topic for which this fragment is relevant. Note: your fragment doesn’t have to be related to the topic you’re currently researching. Explore the magazine archive and find something weird and interesting, something that challenges your conception of what life used to be like in 19xx.

Topics for Unit Three

“The truth of the Oak lies in the Acorn from which it sprouted”—that’s the premise of historical analysis, that we can understand the world by figuring out how and why it came to be this way. This upcoming unit asks you to choose some phenomenon of the present day—a cultural institution like professional football, a movement like gun rights, or a consumer product like skateboards—and seek a deeper understanding of that phenomenon by studying its past. Continue reading

Chicago Style Footnotes

The upcoming Campus Map and Philosophical Dialogue both present opportunities to practice Chicago Style footnote citations. After all, in-text parenthetical citations leave a relatively light footprint on the page, like so.1 Note the placement of the footnote: after the period ending the sentence, not before. This minor contrast with a parenthetic citation is especially striking when you end a sentence with a quotation:

  • MLA: “the sentence ends” (Appleby 3).
  • Chicago: “the sentence ends.”2

There are two distinct steps to creating good footnote references:

  1. Figure out how to create a footnote or endnote in your word processing app.
    • Pages, Word and GoogleDocs all have an “insert footnote” command in the Insert menu. Use it.
  2. Master the intricacies of Chicago Style footnote citations. The basic format is:
    • Book:
      • 1. Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. (New York: Harper, 2015), p 23.
    • News article:
      • 2. John Lancaster, “The Case Against Civilization,” The New Yorker, 18 Sep 2017, [page, if any].
    • Academic journal article:
      • 3. Mark Gius, “The effects of state and Federal gun control laws on school shootings,” Applied Economics Letters 25 no.5 (2018): 318.
    • A source cited earlier (the short form):
      • 4. Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens p 38.
    • A source cited in the previous note: (note that you need to give the page number, even if it’s the same as in the previous note)
      • 5. Ibid., p 38.
    • Further details and examples here.

For practice, try this Quiz: this quiz on Blackboard (scored for completion as HW).

Then, demonstrate mastery on this scored Quiz: this quiz on Blackboard.

Dialogic Transitions

Analytic Transitions

  • Object: interrupt the flow of argument
    • Exception
    • Logical Flaw
    • Unexpected Consequence
  • Question or Co-Opt: redirect the flow of argument.
    • “What about … ”
    • “What do you mean by … ”
    • “But that’s just what I’m trying to argue … ”

Narrative Transitions

  • Event: something happens that (explicitly or implicitly) shifts the terms of the debate
  • New Character: a new point of view introduced to the debate
  • Destination: characters reach a location that (explicitly or implicitly) prompts them to sum up or rethink their position
  • Time passes: “Two weeks later, …”

¶ Transitions

I’m re-posting the Paragraph Transitions page so it’s easily available to you as you craft your final essay:

Analytic Transitions

  • Explain: make sense of something described just above.
  • Build on: introduce the next step in a logical argument.
  • Question: raise a doubt or even wholly undercut the prior argument.
  • Note an unexpected consequence: this combines elements of the prior two: it builds on, but in a way that causes a tonal shift somewhat like calling into question.
  • New angle: for example, you might consider sound after focusing on visuals.
  • Zoom in: look at an instance of a trend or pattern noted just above.
  • Zoom out: name the pattern which the prior ¶'s topic is an example of.
  • Intensify: double down on a claim made just above, with (for example) more telling evidence.
  • Give another example: keep this to a minimum. It means that the ¶ fails to take us somewhere new. See if you can't present this new example as intensifying your argument, or offering a new angle on the topic.

Narrative Transitions

  • Result: what happened next.
  • Cause: what led to the events of the prior ¶
  • Lateral shift in space: Meanwhile. back at the ranch..."
  • Temporal shift: "Two weeks later, ..."

To Quote or Not to Quote?

In drawing ideas or information from a source, you have three choices:

  • Summary: boil down the idea or information, transforming a page into a sentence or an article into a paragraph.
  • Paraphrase: flesh out an idea or present information in your own words, perhaps using new examples, with only minor changes in the length.
  • Quotation: use the precise wording from the source (in quotation marks).

Let’s think about how you might use these different approaches to presenting a source, depending on the role of that source in your project. Imagine that you’re writing an essay that critiques the current system of higher education in the United States:

  1. Which method is best suited to presenting Harari’s notion of shared fictions as a Theory source?
  2. Which method is best suited to presenting a course syllabus as an Exhibit source?
  3. Which method is best suited to presenting an essay on higher education as an Argument source?
  4. Which method is best suited to presenting college enrollment statistics collated by the US government as a Background source?

Post your answers to these questions in this Google Form.

Virtual Class Meetings

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Seven years before The Feminine Mystique made women’s careers a matter of national concern, Robert Kanigher, John Broome, and Carmine Infantino in 1956 debuted a new version of the Flash in the pages of DC’s Showcase whose girlfriend had a job at Picture News. Modeled on the venerable Lois Lane, hard-charging reporter Iris West had a biting wit which she employed to put mild mannered Barry Allen in his place by chiding him for being tardy: “Barry! You’re always late! Why are you so slow?” Setting aside the irony of directing this accusation at the “fastest man on earth,” we may wonder at the power dynamic played out in the pages of The Flash. By keeping his heroic identity a secret from Iris, Barry lets her claim victory even as he knows better. In their daily interactions, her job as reporter trumps his as police scientist—and here we may well read male anxiety at the thought of being eclipsed by a spouse’s success. But in this contest Barry holds a secret trump card, his highly successful public role as the Flash, a hero to whom Central City has dedicated a museum, and whom Iris holds up as an example for Barry to emulate: “Why can’t you be more like Flash?” The comic presents Iris’ intelligence and independence as a threat that can only be contained through duplicity, for by that means her critique of Barry is redirected into praise of him in his alternate guise. My reading of the Kanigher/Broome era of the series (1956-72) will be informed by reader letters on the topic of Barry’s relationship with Iris, as well as contemporary debates over the place of women in society—once known as “The Battle of the Sexes.”