Paper #1 - due Sept. 29

For this paper, each of you will be asked to conduct an interview with someone at least one generation older than you about changes in consumer behavior in his or her lifetime. As a class we will draft a list of sample interview questiosn you may wish to use. Those questions will appear on this page.

The paper itself should be an analysis of the interview you have conducted. You do not have to recapitulate the entire interview--and indeed, you should not. Instead, your paper should synthesize the results of your interview and use these results as the basis for a critical historical analysis. Your paper should be organized around a clear central thesis, elaborated through an introduction, body, and conclusion. You should indicate the name of your interviewee, your relationship to the person, and the date, place, and duration of the interview.

Many of you will choose to interview your parents or grandparents, and hopefully, conducting the interviews will be interesting and enjoyable. However, when you write your papers, I urge you to think carefully about your interviewee's remarks and to analyze them critically as you would any other historical source.
Some points to consider when analyzing an interview (including one with your own parent or grandparent):
  • Sometimes what a person leaves out can be as revealing as what a person talks about. Are there significant assumptions and expectations beneath the surface of someone's comments?
  • Read between the lines. Do some remarks reveal more than the interviewee intended?
  • Are there contradictions in an interviewee's remarks? What might this suggest or indicate?
  • When speaking about times gone by, many people become nostalgic (sentimentally longing for the good ol' days) or prone to exaggeration. Is this a factor to consider in your analysis? What can this tell you? How can you read through someone's words to find deeper meanings?

All papers should conform to the following specifications:
3-5 pages
and stapled.
Margins should be 1" to 1-1/4". The header on the first page should include (1) your name, (2) the date, and (3) the course name and number. Your paper should also have (4) a title. Papers are due at the beginning of class.