Historical Inquiry Writing
Students will submit a typed précis (1000-1300 words) regarding the videos on the Confederate flag and historical fallacy of post-racial America. Ken Burns is the primary speaker in both of the short videos. Students should view the videos and then replicate the distinct arguments presented by Ken Burns in their précis.
Videos: The videos for this assignment are posted on Moodle and in this document.
A précis is a brief summary of the main points and ideas of a piece of writing or speech, and is void of personal opinion. A well-written précis should be a serviceable substitute for the original work. The goal is to preserve the core essence of the work in a manner that is both clear and concise. At a minimum, the précis should include the topic or main thesis, who is Ken Burns, the purpose of the research, what was studied, what methods were used, what results (or insight) were gained, and a conclusion.
Goals of the Précis
1. Compress and clarify a lengthy passage, article, video, or book, while retaining important concepts, key words, and important data.
2. Remove what is superfluous and retain the core essence of the work.
a. A précis will not include your opinion.
3. Give a brief description of key terms and ideas.
a. What are some of the main terms/themes that are discussed by Ken Burns?
b. What are the titles of the two vides?
c. What is the definition of post-racial America and why does Ken Burns indicate that this nation is not-post racial.
d. Describe the Civil War in historical context and provide information about the Confederate flag.
4. Give a brief description of methods – an idea of the general research approach.
a. Ken Burns is a documentarian and his scholarship includes the extensive use of primary sources to demonstrate the visual diversity of this nation. He utilizes images, maps, diaries, probate records, court documents, and additional primary sources in his documentaries.
5. State the purpose of the research or piece of writing (why was it important to conduct this research or write on this topic?)
a. Your answer can include a discussion by Ken Burns regarding the inability of America to address issues of race, white supremacy, historical awareness, and symbolism regarding the Confederate flag and current events, such as the murders of nine Black Americans in church in South Carolina in 2015. Pay close attention to the argument presented by Ken Burns that America is not post-racial.
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