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Step One: Complete

ImageAnnotated bibliography: done.  

Ten pages, word count unknown.  Seventeen sources cited, cut down from the original twenty-five.  I am proud of it.  It was a labor of love.  Well, apreliminary labor of love…the paper will really be the finished project (and clock it at fifteen pages longer).

Let’s cross our fingers and hope it’s enough for the History department.

(BTW, if you think I’m overselling this, it’s my first real graded paper since 2008.  So it has been awhile.)

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Today I have nothing to share for Book Reviews You Won’t Care About.  This is mainly because I’ve been spending my Spring Break mostly reading articles, and the two books I have to read for next week have largely fallen by the wayside (although I need to crack down this weekend because I still have over 400 pages to go for one of them).  And although I’ve been doing a lot of reading, and highlighting, my focus has generally been on journal articles.

And this book:

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I bought this book as required reading back in 2008 (not really reading so much as reference), and it has become my pseudo-Bible for this semester.  You see, before I can write the paper, I need to do an annotated bibliography.  For those of you who chose not to click on that link (can’t say I blame you), an annotated bibliography is a fully-cited list of all the sources you plan on using for a paper, with a little summary or abstract about each one.  This paper is due a week from yesterday.  It’s three pages long, and I’m not even half-done with it.

You see, back in the day (in undergrad, a full 10 years ago…ugh), I wasn’t a History major.  I was an English major.  And English majors use the MLA method of citation.  So I spent four years of undergrad memorizing MLA.  By the time I wrote my senior thesis, I knew MLA so well that I could bang out a citation without double- or triple-checking it.

And then I became a history major.  History majors, btw, don’t use MLA.  They use the Chicago Method.  I do not know the Chicago method.  Therefore, I spend a LOT of time flipping through that book up there (also known as “that horrible Turabian book”.

I really, really don’t understand why there are multiple methods of citation.  Couldn’t the whole academic world get together and agree on ONE method?  Wouldn’t that be so much easier?  I will admit I felt slightly vindicated when I checked out Turabian’s profile on Goodreads and saw the following review:

“Why does this Turabian lady get to say how I document and cite my history papers and why, why, why can’t English, History, and Education people just get together and pick one style they can all agree on?! (frustrated sob)”

I feel your pain, I really do.

Fortunately, this weekend, the husband and I are going to have an absolutely delicious Saturday!  He’s promised to cook pancakes on Saturday morning, and then we’re going car shopping with my dad.  Then it’s off to see the Hunger Games movie (!) and then out to dinner.  I’m very much looking forward to an exciting, relaxing afternoon.

With no Turabian.

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And so it begins

Random Historical Fact of the Day – March 12: In 1912, Juliette Gordon-Law created the Girl Scouts of America (celebrating their 100th anniversary today).

Well.  This can only mean one thing.

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Yup.

Research paper season has officially begun.  I spent an hour on JSTOR today, looking up articles, and went to the local library today to take out seven books (which is probably only the beginning, really).

I finally managed to come up with some paper topics.

Modern World History: The American Revolution and its effect on British Imperialism in the 19th Century.

History of Gender Studies in America: American Liberal Catholics and the Backlash Against Humanae Vitae in the 20th Century.

What do you think?

In any case, my soul is now sold to the history department from now until the second week of May.  If you’re looking for me, I’ll be under a rock somewhere.  Taking notes.

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Today In History – March 7: In 1899, German chemical and pharmaceutical company Bayer registered Aspirin as a trademark.

This weekend was a particularly stressful one for me — due to a mistake in paperwork, my university told me on Thursday that they were rescinding my financial aid.  Fortunately, the mistake was on their end, not mine, and I’m happy to say that the Dean of Students straightened it out and I’m just as much a student as I was last week.

Jumping on the Yarn Along over at Ginny’s blog today, since it’s a Wednesday…

Once again, it’s almost spring, and there are a whole bunch of babies due this spring and summer — four (so far!) that I’m aware of.  So it’s time to start knitting the baby gifts, in that nonexistent spare time that I have.

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The yarn is some pretty yarn…the name of which I have completely forgotten.  I bought it at Joann Fabrics last Christmas to make a pretty winter hat for a good friend of mine, and I’m using what is left to make a pretty, ombre-colored baby hat.  Pattern is just a standard roll-brim baby hat (making it up as I go).

The book this week is required reading for Modern World History: King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heorism in Colonial Africa, by Adam Hoschild.  Unlike English Lessons (:shudder:), this book has amazing readability.  The first half of it was easy reading and flew by like nothing.  The second half?  Well…there’s a reason why my major isn’t in colonial studies, because my God, the English were a terrible race back in the 19th century.  Reading about the atrocities inflicted upon the poor natives of the Congo is enough to turn anyone’s stomach.

School tomorrow and the next day.  It’s supposed to be in the 60’s here in New England on Thursday!  Can’t complain about that!

ETA: WTF.  It’s not Wednesday.  It’s Tuesday.  Fail, me.  And on top of that, I didn’t check my school email until today, so I discovered that the homework I thought I was due for THIS week isn’t due for almost three weeks, due to our teacher going to a conference and Spring Break.  Fail.

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Happy Friday everyone!  It’s time for another round of Book Reviews You Won’t Care About (which should be subtitled “unless you love history, in which case, this might be your cup of tea”).

In BRYWCA, I will review the latest history-based book I’ve had to read for class (or chose to read, because I’m me and I love that sort of thing.  BRYWCA books will always be nonfiction, and will always be historically factual (or theoretical).

Today’s agenda: one incredibly-boring book, and one very decent book.  Read on!

You know what I’m going to start with, don’t you?  I hardly even need to review it, considering that I already bitched about it here and here.  But I’m going to do it anyway.

ImageEnglish Lessons; The Pedegogy of Imperialism in Nineteenth-Century China by James L. Hevia, was the book I was dreading the most in my Modern World History class.  Not because the subject matter didn’t interest me (it did, sort of), but because our teacher said, on night one “This is going to be difficult reading.”  And because it’s the only book he gave us two weeks to read.  See that?  You know it’s going to be tough when that happens.  This is the first book I ever rage quit (as I stated here).  I will admit, the second half of the book (about the reprisals the English committed on the Chinese for the Boxer Rebellion) was more interesting and a little easier to read.  However, there are whole passages (and pictures — warning, although they are black and white they are quite graphic in places) concerning execution methods in China.  Damn.  Of course, they’re really not that bad compared to the English methods of hanging, drawing, and quartering that happened before the 17th century.  But at the same time…holy crap.

The research is incredibly thorough, which is why in all honesty I can’t give this book one star.  I’d give it four stars for the research and one star for readability.  So two and a half stars it is.  (I can’t believe this book was produced for mass market.)

ImageGender and Jim Crow: Women and the Politics of White Supremacy in North Carolina, 1896 – 1920, by Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, is eminently more readable (and in my opinion, more interesting).  I learned so much from this book about the early days of the equal rights movements taking place in the South in the antebellum period, through Reconstruction and then into the Progressive Era.  The image of the African-American race in the south in the post-war period is usually defined as a constant struggle, black people living uneducated and constantly mistreated.  Gilmore destroys that stereotype with her (extremely thorough) research into the lives of several prominent African Americans, include Sarah Dudley Pettey and Charlotte Hawkins, two brilliant ladies who earned college degrees and went on to champion the rights of African Americans, especially women.  Also, it was sad/interesting to read the conclusions that Gilmore drew, that by stressing the dangers of black men raping white women, white men were also putting white women “under their thumb” of protection, insisting that it was for their own good that they stay home and never go anywhere, and never get the right to vote.

Because we were reading this book, we also watched The Birth of a Nation in class.  And damn, if you ever want to watch something that is so incredibly racist and skewed, this is the (silent) film for you.  You will see things that you only heard tell about in history books.  Spoiler alert: the Ku Klux Klan are the good guys in this film.  No, really.  If you DO have any interest in viewing this incredibly racist piece of white supremacy propaganda, you can watch it for free on Youtube (that’s how we got it) — I don’t think it’s available to buy anymore (for good reason).  You’re not going to be able to find this one in your local video store or on Netflix.

Happy Friday!  And Happy-Whatever-You’re-Reading, history-related or not!

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Random Historical Thought of the Day:On February 20th, 1998, U.S. figure skater Tara Lipinski became the youngest-ever Olympic gold medalist in ladies’ figure skating, at the age of 15. (I was a figure skater from age 7 – 16, and I didn’t like Tara Lipinski, I was a Michelle Kwan fan at the 1998 Olympics.  C’est la vie.)

Remember when Presidents’ Day meant a day off from school, sleeping late, doing a whole lot of nothing (maybe even sledding if the weather cooperated)?  Yeah.  Presidents’ Day at age 28 is not nearly as cool as it was when I was a kid.  I did get to sleep in today, but unfortunately the remainder of my day is being eaten up by this:

ImageThe bottom book is pretty good — Mary Putnam Jacobi and the Politics of Nineteenth-Century Medicine.  It’s for my gender studies class, about one of the first American women to work in medicine and become a doctor.  I like it thus far.

The other?  PURE EVIL.

English Lessons: The Pedagogy of Imperialism on Nineteenth-Century China.  A book about the subjugation of the Chinese people by the English empire.  You’d think this could be interesting.  You know, a book about war, the English empire reaching out to control the whole world and meeting opposition?  NOPE.  Nothing.  This is the driest book I’ve ever read.  Period.

Our teacher warned us that this would be “tough reading.”  I have never rage quit a book in my life — and I have read some really, really dry stuff in my lifetime.  But this book?  This book I had to rage quit.  At least for the time being.  The prose is so dry that I had to re-read several pages multiple times just to get the message across.  Ugh.

Right now I’m taking a break from the literary madness to do a little knitting on Selbu…and finally seeing Midnight In Paris with my sister.  I’m loving it thus far, except Rachel McAdam’s character is making me want to punch her in the jaw.  Again…c’est la vie.

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