Personal Accounts: How did the account reach the reader?
This interactive exercise is designed for students. Students examine the title page from Olaudah Equiano’s 1789 slave narrative. Then, they select the phrase that they think provides the most important information about the author, the audience, and how the account reached the reader. Finally, they compare their answers to others' answers and read a historian's commentary.
Personal Accounts: How do personal accounts function in a larger context?
Developed with Steve Barnes, George Mason University
This interactive exercise is designed for students. In it, students use historical context to try to determine how different people in France, the United States, and the Soviet Union reacted to Gulag Archipelago, a book written by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn about the Gulag—the Soviet Union’s forced labor concentration camp system. It shows how a single personal account can have a broader impact on world history—far beyond the place it was published—but that that impact can be felt differently in different places.
Personal Accounts: How does the form of the personal account influence content?
Developed with T. Mills Kelly, George Mason University
This interactive exercise is designed for students. In it, students read two accounts of events written by Americans who were in the Czechoslovak capital, Prague, on March 15, 1939, the day the German forces entered. They are challenged to think carefully how the form influenced the content, and then compare their reading to that of a historian, who has "marked-up" the text of the accounts with his own reading.