If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If history happens and no one writes about it, what have we missed? If a historian writes about history and no one wants to read it, how could that historian have done a better job?
In writing about history, you place yourself between the history and your audience. Without you, the connection is not made. But history, historian, and audience are always changing: we uncover new sources and ask new questions of old sources; the grand old men of historical scholarship are now history themselves; diverse readerships look to history for information, for inspiration, for entertainment, for identity.
In this class we will talk, read, and write about who we are when we write history and about how we can write a history – from biography to obituary, from museum guide to encyclopedia entry – that is both engaging and honest.
Prerequisite: ENGL 114, 115, 120, or another writing-intensive course at Yale.