Will Sullivan

Week 4

After presenting on Baroque German Theatre I think It will be good to look at what went well and what could have been improved upon if we got more opportunity. First of all I was really proud with the fact that everyone for the most part stuck to the time lengths they had assigned. I also felt like the transitions between one person to another were very fluid. On the critical side the spectrum, I wish we would have jumped into other people research portions and added our research more frequently. One of the things we talked about last week was everyone in the group being more active and engaged for the entire presentation instead of just saying your information and standing up there the rest of the time. We were really proud of how much of the presentation we spent on our actual research process. I felt like this was the most helpful part of the presentation, because if any class member wanted to expand their research on German Baroque Theater they are up to speed on the walls we hit so they don't start with the same mistakes. That being said I do feel like our discussion of our research portion walked a fine line between communicating the historiographical problems and complaining about the lack of information we had. Overall I learned a lot from this entire process and I feel like if I ever get assigned a paper or presentation on an obscure aspect of theatre (or history in general) I feel more prepared to jump in and start to try and build a project or a paper.

Week 3

Most of what I was thinking about this process this week shifted from research to product. On Tuesday we built our powerpoint. Once all of the research was on the page we realized we how little time we really had. For my aspect of the project I had built about a five minute speech about the historical and political context of the time. As a group we decided on max. time lengths each person was allowed. After watching the first presentations Thursday this became even more important. We saw groups with early member's presenting going way over time and by the time they got to the last presenting person they had a minute or less to do their entire research. Another observation we made as a group was that a lot of the research seemed really disjointed. One of the things we worked as a group to do over the weekend is draw strong transitions between researchers so the presentation felt like one coherent work even though we have five different researchers focusing on five different aspects.


Week 2

1. In terms of this research project, what have you been thinking about this week?

This week I continued my work and research on the political make-up and the historical context that Gryphius was writing in.Although finding useful information about gryphius's life was hard to come by other than brief spark notes synopsis I did get enough of a historical context where I could start to make some links between the major themes of Gryphius's work and what was going in the times he was writing. It has been interesting, even though my research hasn't really focused on the content of Gryphius's plays and poem research of my group members more focused on content of his work really backs up what I have been finding historically.

2. If you have undertaken any research, what did you discover?

I won't go into a lot of detail in the bulk of what I found this week. (for a detailed analysis of this week's work check on the annotation of the bibliography articles on Thirty Years' War, the Who's Who article from the german database, and the article on the glass making industry). The GIST is I helped contextualize the Thirty Years' War to Gryphius's life specifically, what was going onto industry at the time that made Gryphius so interested in the past as opposed to the present, and I found out why his work unapologetically supports the crown vs. the people.

3. How might you relate this research to your work in other classes or rehearsal?

The most useful lesson I learned this week is sometimes you have to work backwards. The first week was really a struggle because I couldn't find anything about Gryphius and this project seemed doomed for failure. In the past when I have written papers on figures in history or presentations I started with the specifics of the person and them personally and slowly expand and contextulize them for the time they were living in. This didn't really work for Gryphius because we had very little information about him (in english). I found by working with the larger picture first I was able to learn more and more about Gryphius. Knowing the time and place that a person of interest is living in can help you start to infer why they are the way they are. Next time I feel like I am hitting a wall in research I will change my focus on the times and read that information through the lens of thinking about the person of interest.


Week 1

1. In terms of this research project, what have you been thinking about this week?

For this week I focused mainly on the historical context of the time period. I learned a read a lot about the thirty year war and what the after effect of that war did to Germany. I need to pursue the historical context further but I think I hav some firm footing.

2. If you have undertaken any research, what did you discover?

See above

3. How might you relate this research to your work in other classes or rehearsal?

I don't know how this specific research can inform my other classes, but the process and the databases I utilized to find my information will help. I understand how do search effectively with JSOR and Project Muse now.

3 Comments

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You're in the ballpark with this entry, Will, but I need you to go more in-depth. Instead of telling us that you did some research, tell us about the specific information you discovered. What about the 30 Year War did you find out? How is that information related to theatre? Even if you don't have a one-to-one connection yet, you should still be able to make some educated guesses about how the War, or the ideology behind it, will interact with theatre.

Grade: 80%

Re: Blog #2
I think your response to question #3 is incredibly interesting and useful. From my perspective, you seem to be undergoing a change in how you think about the content of a research project. Previously, it seems like you looked at the individual as the primary focus of research. Now, you are expanding your field of vision to include the ground around that individual. By doing this, I think you are wrestling with a core tennet of historiography: all individuals and each of their works are conditioned by the time and place in which they emerge. That's a big thought. Keep thinking about it.

Grade: 95% (you could still borrow from your annotated bibliography in these journals. Follow up on a thought that sticks in your head or a question you can't quite answer)

Regarding Blogs entries #3 and #4:
When you receive my comments on your final presentation, you'll see that I agreed with much of your assessment. Additionally, I'd like to suggest that the research skills you developed during this process are helpful not only for "obscure" topics (as you said) but for all topics. I hope you reflect on that idea. Maybe you'll discover it to be true in the future.

One more thing: you mention shifting from process to product in your third blog. I understand your point, but I'd like you to think about how process and product are mutually related. Also, form and content inform each other.

Grade for these entries: 90%
Final Individual Blog Grade: 89%

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