Cate's Page

November 8, 2012
This week I've just been focusing on trying to develop a common language among the group so that everyone stays on the same page. The google doc is a great way for everyone to work together when we meet in class. We can all type into it simultaneously and automatically have a saved record of what we discussed. I have only done some basic research and played the wikipedia hyperlink game with Calderon and LIfe is a Dream. Rebecca found some great books that seem to be a clear and easy read for me to look deeper into my chosen aspect of the work. "Calderon and the Baroque Theatre" and "The Calderonian Stage" seem like they will be very helpful for me.
I've been pretty confident in our group's ability to communicate and get a lot done in a short amount of time - we work very efficiently.

November 15, 2012
This week started out to be quite stressful. We received conflicting comments on our post for assignment #1, and were frustrated for a bit because we couldn't answer the questions posed to us until later on in our research. I now realize that we were actually pretty ahead because we had already found some solid sources and divided the work by topic evenly. I'm glad to have the time now to really read my sources cover to cover and focus on just them, rather than floundering around with too much information coming in and no way to process and condense it. So far I'm done some in depth skimming of my sources. Now I'm going to read them cover to cover before looking for any more sources. If I still do not find anything helpful, which I doubt will happen, then I will look for more sources. I will add to the post "Divide and Conquer" in more detail as I go and there will be more specific responses, with quotes and the like, by the end of the day Sunday. Also I will write the 250 words for my sources on the bibliography page.

November 29, 2012
This process was easier than I thought it would be. Having so much class time to work was EXTREMELY helpful. I'm almost glad that we did not read all of the assignments at once before starting - we simply focused on the assignment for that day. This actually led us to getting ahead of ourselves. We would approach an assignment and end up realizing that we had already done something. We actually started researching before we were supposed to in the assignments, which allowed us to take an easier pace and not feel so rushed. We collected our sources early on and decided to focus more intently on those sources rather than find even more and crowd ourselves with texts to read. I'm happy with our actual performa...er...presentation. We focused on making the actual presentation as casual as possible. We knew what we had to say, we ended up being able to talk about what was really important. We had A LOT of information on this topic and A LOT of it is important to understanding the era and the place of Life is A Dream within that era. It is a multilayered play and we had to give an overview of many different social, religious, and political happenings before we could explain how the text reflected them.

Final Post
I'm very proud of our group. We accomplished what WE wanted to accomplish. There were many comments that some of the groups had a steady flow to them and were clear and easy to follow and connect back to a central topic. I think its safe to say that our group and the Tudor group were successful in this respect. Both groups had many different elements (political, religious, and social) that could be connected back to a certain text from the era. This helped us to include everything we found was important and still keep it all connected. The Yoruba group I found particularly interesting. Each topic flowed nicely into another. I agree with Rebecca's comment that the form a presentation takes depends on the subject and the research materials available.
I was happy with everyone's presentations because even at our dullest and most bored, we are still a damn entertaining group of people. Once everyone got up to talk, no one took themselves to seriously.
I am very glad it's all over, and now I can sit back and watch the other monkeys dance.

2 Comments

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Cate,

You're doing a good job to document the material difficulties in being an historian, and I'm sorry if my comments confused you. I would like your future entries to move into specifics about the challenges in organizing and understanding your materials. What are the major questions that present themselves to you as you learn about this time period and how are you going about working through them?

It sounds like one complication you're having is finding too much information so that it's not possible to digest. One suggestion I have is that as you accumulate sources, don't let yourself jump into a number of them initially; find a good general source that gives you the lay of the land so that you then can better understand the other sources that come in to you, and can put them in conversation. In some cases you'll find that reading everything cover to cover is not necessary - some books or articles might have only certain areas that apply to your subject.

In future entries I will be looking for a little more depth and specificity.

Bryan

Cate,

I'm glad that you're proud of the work you did for the assignment. I could see the effort that you put forth in the final presentation.

You made some good observations about the smooth flow of other groups, but I want you to think about the presentations less in terms of style than substance. Who were the groups that you felt did a good job presenting a clear, complex argument? How did they go about building a case for that? THinking about these answers might help you think about alternative strategies to use when you have "LOTS" of information in your research. Sometimes, less can be more - when you have lots of information, you have the luxury of finding the juiciest bits to help clarify what you want to say.

Great work on these overall!

Bryan

Final blog grade: 92%

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