I love it when professors have a good sense of humor! And so it seems that my new history professor does! His eyes twinkle when he’s going to say something off the wall. When he’s thinking, he stares at the ceiling till what he wants to say comes to him. Boston accents are fabu! There is a certain sing-song quality to it. This is gonna be a great class!
Tonight we spent the entire class time (a first according to the prof) discussing a handout we received on Aphorisms of History. We had to read through them and pick one we disagreed with and one we agreed with.
I was in agreement with this aphorism, “In analyzing hsotry, do not be too profound, for often the causes are quite superficial.” [Emerson]. I agreed with this because sometimes what starts a war is something as simple as Joe the neighboring farmer spit on someone’s shoe by mistake or Harry’s cow kicked over Hannah’s milk bucket and Hannah’s husband came out and shot Harry. Ya know? I shared the story about a Mother who was making ham for Christmas dinner. She was teaching her married daughter how to cut the butt off the ham, put it in the pan, and prepare it for baking. The daughter asked why should the butt be cut off? Mother didn’t know, so they asked grandmother who said, “That’s what my Mother always did.” So they went and hunted down great-grandmother to ask her why she cut the butt off the ham. All three speculated it was because it kept the ham juicy by not having a narrow part cook dry. “Great-grandmother, why did you cut the butt off the ham for Christmas dinner?” shouted grandmother. Great-grandmother was hard of hearing you know. Daughter shouted, “It’s because it keeps the flavor in, right?” To which Great-grandmother replied, “No! It’s because it was the only way it would fit in the pan!” After which I said to the professor, “Point made.” To which he bust out laughing!
I was in disagreement with this aphorism, “It would be a good thing if man concerned himself more with the history of his nature than with the history of his deeds.” [Hebbel] As I said to the prof., examine a man’s deeds and his nature will be revealed, to which he agreed.
We are reading a small book by William Kelleher Storey entitled, Writing History: A guide for students. This is a handy little book as it walks the student through writing a research paper from conception to completion, step by step. Chapter 1 has dealt with coming up with an idea for your paper, where to look for sources to help refine the hyposthesis, and when to abandon a topic.
In all, a good evening class. I’m still not crazy about being in class at night though. Not many people around and I feed off the buzz of students on a college campus. I guess I’ll adjust.