I think the most beneficial learning outcome for the project is that it reinforces contextualizing history; the collections – which the students can hold and immerse themselves in – help ground events of the past in something tangible to them. The sources provide a foundation for their learning that allows them to build on and ultimately construct something creative to communicate what they’ve discovered. Rather than learning from 30,000 feet, the students are experiencing the groundwork of history.
The Mao Zedong Propaganda book gives insight into the Cultural Revolution and the mentality during that time. And I am a Chinese, so that is a great experience to show my country’s culture to us.
This project helped me better understand the benefits of looking at primary sources alongside secondary sources when deciphering history. Both of these sources have their advantages, yet the primary source offers an unbiased window to the past. For me, it was extremely interesting to see the portrayal of Mao Zedong in some of the actual pieces of propaganda used throughout the Cultural Revolution. Looking at the propaganda helped me to understand how people could have been coerced into acting in ways that were unnatural for them. This gave me a better understanding of the revolution itself, insight that I could not have gotten from reading about it in a textbook.
During the process of creating this project, I learned about the horrors of minstrel shows. My eyes were opened to knowledge I never knew before, such as how minstrelsy – though awfully degrading and unacceptable – unintentionally provided African Americans with a platform to promote change. African Americans were able to take advantage of what was put in place to stunt their growth. This project inflated my pride in being an African American.
I learned how subjective history can be based on the information given and how bias can be easily created depending on what details are chosen to be presented.
It was really interesting learning more about what women went through during WWII, as that is always a great topic to get into. It was really cool that we got a closer look of it through one woman herself, Jeanne Severance. It really opens up your mind.
I really enjoyed working with my group mates, and I learned that working with a bigger team can make a huge impact in every way rather than working alone. In the Jeanne Severance letters, she explained the work she did, and not just her but other women around the world contributed to changing the world. It’s an example that working together is always better, whether it’s working in a small group or as a whole in society.