In this activity, brainstorm initial ideas for your final project and share them in a blog post.
In your blog, write down several historian’s questions or important historical issues that you might want to explore in your final project. Describe why you think they are difficult questions or issues for students and others. What makes them difficult and why?
World War II is the subject that I’m most passionate about. I recognize that it’s a relatively popular topic, so I mostly struggle in figuring out how to approach it without seeming like a walking cliché. I’ve already dealt with exploring and sharing personal stories of everyday World War II soldiers (just check out my Designs by Mannix project!), and I do want to branch out. However, I also feel it is unwise to decide now–a 10-week course–is the perfect time to design a project on a subject that I know nothing about.
I’m interested in researching Asian-American WWII soldiers buried in ABMC cemeteries, but that feels too much like my previous project, i.e., uncovering the history of an “average” soldier. I might have to save that for, say, a 30-page paper that I’ll be writing next semester…
One thing I’ve always loved is debunking misconceptions. I find it especially maddening that misconceptions have been taught and reinforced in school. Given that the Internet is a minefield of misconceptions, I would like for my blog/project to be a space in which I debunk blatant or persistent falsehoods. There are many misconceptions about US wars, veterans, and soldiers. In my final project for my War and Remembrance (HIST 679) class, I created an alternate exhibit script for “The Price of Freedom: Americans at War” exhibit at the National Museum of American History. One of the artifacts I featured was a photograph of General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s homecoming parade, and for its caption, I explicitly debunked the myth that all World War II soldiers received homecoming parades: famous and high-ranking officials like Eisenhower were the exception, not the rule. For my 1100 Jefferson blog post about the Old Stone House in Georgetown, I debunked the myth that George Washington had not only stayed in the Old Stone House, but planned the layout of Washington, DC, there. I feel that it is the duty of everyone to stop the spread of misinformation, and I especially enjoy doing it with history because it reeducates people and makes them consider why they believed the misconception in the first place.
I would like to explore why misconceptions persist, even in the classroom, and dissect several famous misconceptions. I’m leaning toward misconceptions about US wars, given that I am the self-proclaimed expert–at least in my bookstore, and only because I feel I have tricked my colleagues into believing so!