Instructions for Response for Week 5

Submitted by Hilary J. Moss on Friday, 3/4/2011, at 2:39 PM

As we discussed in class, your upcoming response page will relate to Highsmith. As with your last response, you should approach the reading as a model for the kind of research you might want to do later in the semester.

First, read Andrew R. Highsmith, “Demolition Means Progress: Urban Renewal, Local Politics, and State-Sanctioned Ghetto Formation in Flint, Michigan,” Journal of Urban History 35, no. 3 (March 2009), 348-368. This is available on e-reserves.

Second, go to the microfilm room on the second floor of Frost library. I recommend doing this before the weekend during regular daytime hours, so that someone will be there to assist you with the microfilm machine, should you be unfamiliar with it. Once you figure out how to use the scanner, it is easy. But I would strongly recommend having someone there to help you the first time around.

Find the Cambridge Chronicle located in the large gray storage cabinents behind the microfilm machines. From what I recall, it is located on the side of the room closest to the stairs in one of the cabinents, rather than a drawer. It is possible that the location has changed. You might have to wander a bit to find it.

Next, select a reel from a year you would like to know more about. Reels usually are divided into six month intervals. We own 1945 through 1985. I'd suggest something from the 1950s or 1960s to start, since you've been reading about that time period over the past few weeks, and that is also a heyday for urban renewal.

Load the reel on the microfilm machine, asking someone for help if you cannot figure out how to do this. I'd recommend using the machine on the far right, which contains a digital scanner. You'll want to make a pdf file of pages which seem to be relevant or interesting to you. When you do this, I recommend that you create one file (selecting the feature called "scan to batch," rather than a series of individual pdfs). Again, someone at the library should be able to help you do this. You'll also want to make sure that the pages you scan appear as black text on a white background, and not the other way around, as white text on a black background can be hard to read. You should be able to save your pdf on your coloq 32 drive or your u drive. If you find that you are scanning more than 50 pages or so (which you shouldn't need to do), save your files in two batches. I've found that files that are too large often produce errors. 

Third, spend a few hours with the Chronicle. Don't try to read the paper cover to cover. This would take you weeks! Just try and get oriented to the kind of news coverage included in the paper, the major stories or issues of the day, and then look for one episode related to urban renewal.

Once you have found this episode, try and follow it forward or backward in time. When you find a story about this episode, scan and save a picture of the page so that you'll have it for later. When you do this, make sure that the date of the paper is visible on your scan, or else you might forget where you found it. You are not required to look at more than one reel, but should you want to follow your story either forward or backward in time, go for it! You should now have an archive assembled. Save this under the Chronicle folder on the shared Coloq drive.

Fourth, with fresh eyes, return to your archive and see what strikes you. Try to get a sense of the narrative of the episode you are tracking and think about what else you might want to know about this story. Think about how you might approach researching this episode further. What questions would you ask? What else would you want to know?

Fifth, write your response page, just as you did last week, highlighting what research questions you might ask, should you choose to explore this episode further, and thinking about how your story intersects or diverges from the story told by Highsmith.

We look forward to reading your thoughts!