You will conduct an interview with your chosen person, born before 1965, with the goal of getting their story, however the two of you choose to define that. The two of you might want to discuss their childhood and family life, or their career. Or you might focus on historical events or eras that we discuss in class–the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, the era of the affluent society, the ascendancy of conservatism in American politics, etc.
You should make a list of 5-10 questions you want to ask your interviewee, based on what you’re hoping to learn from them. Schedule a time to talk. Be prepared to take notes or, even better, get an audio recording of the interview (ask their permission first!). Expect to talk to your person for at least an hour.
The goal of this assignment is to make evident the importance of individual stories and experiences in American history, which we get little of when we stay at such high altitude for much of this class. So really, I just want you to enjoy getting to know this person and their past a bit better. That is your primary objective.
After you conduct your interview, you should reflect on what you learned and think about if there is one particular aspect of this person’s life on which you could do further research. So, for example, if you talk to your grandma a lot about what it was like for her to raise three small children mostly on her own while your grandpa worked for wages, you might look further into motherhood in the 1950s United States.
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