Our 2016 blogging begins! As you write, keep in mind the goals for this term’s blog: posts that are research contributions. These posts are your ways to practice your academic writing muscles in preparation for your research papers, so use them to help you meet your writing goals for the semester. So, posts are not just personal, not just observational, but are exploring ideas and issues through analyzing specific texts. I expect links. I like to see scholars’ and others’ voices orchestrated with your own. The posts introduce their ideas and wrap up (rather than just ending). Note that you have more room to do this work: 500-700 words.
This week you’ll write, as usual, on texts of your choice that connect in some way that you make explicit to our course. So you could certainly write about the archives we studied in class (PARI, the 2 TRCs in relation to archives, Mass Observation). You could write about other archives you’ve found, or about materials you looked at in Rare Books on Thursday. Those of you who went to the Museum of Anthropology’s c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city exhibit could talk about that visit in relation to the ideas and issues of our course. As always, be sure you’re extending the conversation beyond what we already talked about together.
You also might take up topics about or inspired by Diamond Grill: e.g., biotexts or food memoirs or High Muck-a-Muck or the contemporary Canadian long poem or poems by on prison walls by Chinese immigrants, etc. You could look ahead to our discussion of The Race Card Project. Another direction inspired by our discussions of the complicated genealogy of the book would be to think more about Diamond Grill as a family memoir, a topic we’ll take up in other texts we’ll study this term. Wah (Jr) is not, of course, writing in a vacuum. As he acknowledges, he’s writing about his family. In an essay on The Conversation (a website in which scholars write for a general public, just like you will in your archives projects), sociologist Ashley Barnwell considers the ethics of the family memoir, looking at several instances of life narratives in which family members who were represented by these texts rejected, resented, or publicly protested the versions of the family that the author produced. Not only is Barnwell’s analysis relevant to our discussions, it’s also a cross-disciplinary encounter in action: how a sociologist reads life narratives (vs our readings as literary and cultural studies scholars). You could introduce and respond to her ideas by thinking about these issues in relation to Wah’s text or other life narratives.
Googling “family memoir” just now, looking for something to link to, I got tonnes of hits for sites on how to write a family (such as this one but there were many more). A great subject for a blog post or research paper would be to gather examples of books or websites about how to write life narratives, and analyze them (what do these guides suggest about how life narratives are understood? Etc.).
Posts are due Mon noon, comments Tuesday at 9:30 (don’t forget to post your comments on this post, rather than on the individual blogs), and be ready in class to discuss connections between the blogs and points they raised that you’d like to take up.