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Life history interview essay

17/03/2021 Client: saad24vbs Deadline: 24 Hours

Due Friday at 11:30pm via Blackboard

The purpose of this paper is twofold. The first purpose is that students are required to engage in an oral interview with somebody (I recommend a grandparent or parent, ideally older than you are) who is meaningful to them and ask them about their life. After the oral interview is complete, you are required to write a two page paper (two FULL pages, if you write 1 and ¼ or 1 and 1 ½ you will get a “D”) that uses your oral interview has the primary source evidence for a historical argument. That is, re-writing or simply transcribing the oral interview or the person’s life story is not the purpose of the essay. Instead, the student is required to use one or a selection of stories from the interview to make a large argument about historical continuity or change. This will require putting the interviewee’s stories in context.

As an example I will use this short Story Corps clip to illustrate my point (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8FheuSE7w4). Please watch the clip to understand my explanations.

A “C” paper using Chunky’s story about Facundo would, with minimal grammatical errors, simply recount the story of Facundo as it was said in the video. This paper would not explain the historical context or the historical significance of the story. The story of Facundo would simply remain a funny story.

A “B” paper would, with minimal grammatical errors, attempt to place the story of Facundo into historical context. The “B” paper would explain that the story of Facundo is not just a funny story, but actually part of a longer history of racial segregation in schools. The “B” paper may have a paragraph or two about early school integration cases dealing with Mexican-American students, like the Mendez v. Westminster case in California or the Bastrop v. Delgado case in Texas. The later paragraph may even mention Chicano student walkouts in Los Angeles in 1968 and in San Antonio in 1969. A “B” paper will provide some historical information, but it will be disconnected. The paragraphs will seems inelegantly dropped into the essays, void of explanatory power. A “B” paper retains the notion that the point of the essays is simply to recount the stories told by the interviewee but with some googled information about history.

An “A” paper will show the student understands that oral histories are another form of primary source evidence to construct a historical argument. Chunky’s story about Facundo is an example of how institutions in the U.S. have served as mechanisms to concentrate and use power. In the case of Chunky and Facundo, educational violence served a central purpose in maintaining and perpetuating racial subordination. The paper will then outline the history explaining that thesis and will use the story as an example. The “A” will have most of the information that the “B” paper has, but the historical argument will be driving the essay. In other words, an “A” paper has a thesis, a clearly articulated historical argument that is evidenced in the essay. Meanwhile, the “B” paper merely contains historical material and information, but does not have a clear historical argument.

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