Doing History: Who tells it… who keeps it…

March 24, 2017


WHAT ARE SOURCES? WORDS – OBJECTS -IMAGES. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

What is re-search?

Doing research is the process of investigating evidence from the past; it can also involved surfacing and examining memories of individuals who resonate with our own values… or challenge them. Re-searching can be a valuable and transformative experience that compels us to check our own pulse and to be accountable. Detachment allows us to watch events unfold so that we can understand how a community’s character developed. We cannot look at our own past in anger. Our motivation to research directs our energy; questions channeled only with anger do not reveal truth that heals. As a society, we are who we are, and what we are because of events that happened in the past, and understanding the past can help us to develop maps of social justice for the future.

 Where to begin… what is essential

Always begin research with resources that are available. Secondary research materials contain interpretations of evidence can provide essential overviews. Once you have an overview of your topic, you can then go to primary sources: words… objects… images…


It is tempting to rely upon moving images to understand how events unfold, but they rarely tell the entire story. When critically thinking about broadcast news content consider who tells history and who collects history. Research must be comparative; relevance continually shifts in a changing world. Adjacent communities may be operating with and reacting to similar challenges to our own.


A reset, retracing experiences from the past… Values shape the development of society and culture, and these factors change over time. What we care about can change radically, dramatically, and irrevocably with a single event.


Images from button pins to posters to photographs place ideas and events into context.

Power to the People Symbol

“Power to the people” was a powerful symbol of Third World student activism during the late-1960s.

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