The following guest blog post was written by Laura Wright, PhD candidate in UConn’s English Department and first-year writing instructor as well as excerpts from students in her 2016 English 1010S seminar.
Building towards the Presidential Election in November 2016, Students in ENGL 1010S: Seminar in Academic Writing considered different definitions of “leadership.” The final project asked students to think critically about leadership historically through particular artifacts from the Archives & Special Collections Alternative Press Collection and Bread and Puppet Theater holdings. In one class session, Graham Stinnett, the Curator of Human Rights Collections and Alternative Press Collections, provided an overview of materials and their historical contexts. During this session, students learned about radical movements on UConn’s campus and how materials from these movements arrived in the Dodd Center. The collections students observed encompassed a range of media, including Alternative Press newspapers, like The Rat and Rising Up Angry, as well as performance programs and promotional materials from the Bread and Puppet Theatre.
For this project, students argued for the relationship between activism and leadership represented in these particular collections. Rather than writing a research paper, students compiled dossiers of material, using their unique artifacts as a jumping off point for further research. Students offered a detailed interpretation of the archival material, located it in a larger historical narrative, researched peer-reviewed sources for an annotated bibliography, and wrote a short essay putting all their materials into conversation with one another. Continue reading