In your small groups (listed below), you’ll conduct research on one item of eighteenth-century material culture inspired by one of the texts we’ve read during the semester (such as puppets, fossils, shoes, coins, art works, a scientific instrument, a doll, a commodity, an automata, an interior design, a site, paper products, board games, etc.). Your research should use the library’s databases and rely on both recent secondary as well as primary sources (i.e. sources from the 1700s). Based on your research, your group will prepare:

  • a professionally produced, color trifold brochure (printed, with appropriate period-specific imagery). This brochure should be suitable for sharing with any English major and publishing online for the general public, and so it should
    • introduce and describe your object
    • provide an appropriate history of that object in context (when, for example, it was invented, and/or how it circulated in eighteenth-century England)
    • include relevant passages from literary texts that are engaged with the object
    • include relevant images of the object (images from the 1700s are best)
    • feature a bibliography of 3-5 reliable secondary sources a reader could consult to learn more about the object
    • feature a bibliography of 3-5 primary sources (i.e. sources from the 1700s) a reader could consult to read more about the object
  • a professionally produced, aesthetically-compelling replica, model, or a creative reconstruction of your object (did you know we have 3-D printers in the library?)

You should imagine that your brochure and your replica, model, or creative reconstruction go together, but the brochure should be suitable for circulation without the object itself. You will need to prepare a hard copy of your brochure, but you will also need to preserve a pdf of the brochure before final printing; you will turn this in via email. I will photograph all the objects, so that you may keep the objects if you like.

This project should be fun – a unique opportunity to turn literary research into a hands on activity that anyone could admire and appreciate. The purpose of this project to encourage you to think critically and creatively about assigned texts and class discussions as well as to encourage you to conduct advanced, independent research. The goal of this project is to have you produce exceptionally high-quality work that demonstrates your immersion in historical research and your commitment to intricate, comprehensive creative production that reflects careful, critical thinking. These are skills valued by employees who hire liberal arts majors; they are looking, specifically, for graduates who can conduct reliable and specialized research, who can transform that specialized research into compelling copy suitable for intriguing a general audience, and who can conceptualize ideas and products that are market-ready because of what we might describe as their wow-factor.

Helpful Tip: I have found Richard Altick’s book, The Shows of London (which our library has an e-copy of) very useful.

During finals week, we’ll have a show and tell of objects and brochures, and we’ll rank the projects (anonymously and individually).

Grading Criteria:

All projects that are completed and appear both well conceived and also professionally executed will receive a grade of 100%.

Projects that become mired in problematic group dynamics or which fail to achieve the look and feel of a project well conceived and professionally executed will receive a grade of 80%.

Incomplete projects, projects mired in negative group dynamics, or projects that fall far short of professional standards will receive a grade of 65%.

Additionally, all members of your group will receive a range of course bonus points based on the rankings we make (anonymously and individually) in finals week.

Group members who produce the #1 project will receive a 4% bump to their final grade.

Group members who produce the #2 project will receive a 3% bump to their final grade.

Group members who produce the #3 project will receive a 2.5% bump to their final grade.

Group members who produce the #4 project will receive a 2% bump to their final grade.

Group members who produce the #5 project will receive a 1.5% bump to their final grade.

Groups:

Group 1: Kendra Bayer, Nicholas Haggard, Asya Lewis, Alisha Rakestraw, David Scheffner

Group 2: Tiarra Amerson, Deanna Brown, Rachel Canter, Stephen Matthews, Kaili Perry

Group 3: Paige Cobos, Kendra Fields, Shannon Huelskamp, Gregory Speight

Group 4: Dylan Freeman, Zazzy Kozar, Lilly Steger, Zane Swank

Group 5: Manad Aldakheel, Blake Bays, Noelle Downey, Jessica Testerman

 

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