Sunshine, History, and Literature

Spring is in the air!

Judging by the warmer temperatures, the sunshine, and the waves of tourists on the sidewalks, spring is well on its way through Harvard Square. Cambridge in the springtime is always wonderful, especially after a winter like the one we’ve had (Nemo, anyone???!!). The air seems lighter, smiles seem brighter, and walking from class to class is increasingly more pleasant. I actually wore flip-flops during a shopping trip earlier this week. I’ll let you know when it’s time to break out the Bermuda shorts.

I haven’t fully be able to enjoy the sunshine, however, because I’ve been working on my History & Literature (H&L) Junior Paper. Last Monday I, along with all of the other juniors studying H&L, was required to hand in a 6,000 word research essay on the topic of my choice. While the last few hours of writing, editing footnotes, and searching frantically for any misplaced commas were nerve racking, the experience as a whole was great! I decided to research the French-Algerian War, and I got to study works by authors like Fanon, Pontecorvo, Bouchareb, Aussaresses, etc. I learned a lot, and if you ever need to know anything about French or Algeria between 1954 and 1962, I’m your go-to girl.

The Barker Center

The beautiful Barker Center is where most of my History & Literature classes, including my tutorial, are held.

This research paper was essentially a culmination of the H&L Junior tutorial. As a modern European H&L concentrator, one of my graduation requirements is the H&L junior tutorial. It is a two-hour meeting between me, my tutor, and two other students (or colleagues, as they are referred to in the department). It may sound daunting: two hours of talking between four people seems like a lot, but honestly, the times flies. The greatest thing about the H&L junior tutorial is that it is student led. We have a great tutor who is a member of the H&L Department and under her guidance we create our own syllabus, complete with secondary and primary source material of our own choosing. Pretty cool, right? Not only are we getting to study history through a literary lens, we’re also getting to choose the history that truly interests us and we’re crafting that lens ourselves.

One of the main purposes of the paper is to prepare us to begin writing our thesis, another requirement for graduation. But more on that next year…with this particular essay behind me, I plan on fully enjoying the rest of Junior Year!

Until next week,

Caroline

Tags: , , , , , ,