NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1005672
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 41
ISSN: ISSN-1534-9322
Truth, Memory, Selectivity: Understanding Historical Work by Writing Personal Histories
Koerber, Duncan
Composition Studies, v41 n1 p51-69 Spr 2013
This paper considers the use of a simple assignment, the personal narrative, in teaching students the discursive issues involved in doing academic history. Focusing on autobiography, I present the results of a survey of Canadian university students into their experiences with writing personal histories. Specifically, the survey asked students to think about three major epistemological issues in doing history: truth and subjectivity, problems of memory, and selectivity. Exemplary excerpts from three students' portfolios show the kind of work they produced. From the results, the paper argues that university history classes--not just writing courses--should employ personal history as a first assignment to allow students to work as historians and encounter the issues historians regularly face when constructing accounts of the past. (Contains 3 notes.)
University of Winnipeg. Department of Rhetoric, Writing, and Communications 515 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 2E9, Canada. Tel: 204-786-9001; Fax: 204-774-4134; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada