Modern Event Parallel Historical Event

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Modern Event

Parallel Historical Event

Hurricane Katrina

Johnstown Flood of 1889

current economic crisis

Great Depression in 1930s

conflict minerals

blood diamonds in Africa in the early 1990s

Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District

Scopes Trial (Scopes Monkey Trial) of 1925

CIA’s use of water boarding under the Bush administration

Spanish Inquisition

Japan during WWII

Casey Anthony trial

Lizzie Borden trial

genocide in Darfur

Nazis in Germany

destruction of Native Americans

other forms of genocide in history

Arizona’s 2011 ban on Mexican American Studies

Mexican American War


War in Iraq

Vietnam War

Rod Blagojevich scandal

Gray Wolves of 1895 or other historical Chicago political scandals

Race riots from 2006-2010 in California and NY

1990 Inglewood California Riot

1991 Crown Heights riot

1992 Los Angeles Riot

Derrion Albert murder in Chicago

Robert “Yummy” Sandifer murder in Chicago in 1994

Anti-gay hate crimes:

Rashawn Brazell 2005

Dwan Prince 2005

Amancio Corrales 2005

St. John’s Reformed United Church of Christ arson

Matthew Shepard 1998

Brandon Teena 1993

Jena Six, 2006

Scottsboro Boys Trial 1931

Haditha Massacre 2005

My Lai Massacre 1968

Earth Liberation Front (ELF)

Weather Underground 1960s

9/11 attack on the World Trade Center

Pearl Harbor 1941

2005 oil crisis

Salad Oil Scandal 1963

1973 oil crisis

1979 Energy Crisis

Protests in Egypt

Berlin 1989

AP English Language and Composition Final Project: Photo Essay

Multimedia genres like photo essays and Web pages are creating new kinds of narratives. You will, in this assignment, create a photo essay designed to show an audience how an event in history recycled itself in the modern world. In The Crucible, Arthur Miller saw that the hypocrisy and mass hysteria developing in his own time paralleled a similar event hundreds of years before. He chose to use the historical event as a vehicle to comment on current events. Much like Miller, you will choose a historical event that has a parallel modern event that has occurred within the past decade. Inform your essay with research conducted using the Internet. Select at least 10-12 images that allow you to convey important information about your topic, and then incorporate those images into your presentation and add captions and explanations that allow you to tell a story about your topic.
As you consider some element of contemporary culture, you should choose a topic that interests you. IF YOU AREN’T INTERESTED IN WHAT YOU WRITE, NO ONE ELSE WILL BE. There is an attached list of ideas, but those are merely suggestions. Find something that matters to you.
Because the purpose of your photo essay is to provide connections between the modern and historical worlds, you are searching for points of commonality. Will you focus on the role of the government in your topics? Will you focus on the atrocity and suffering that occurred in your topics? Will you focus on public response to your topics? Will you focus on the tyrants, the victims, or both? To begin, you must gravitate toward a topic and then focus your thinking into a research question. For instance, you might ask "What role did poverty play in the lack of aid given to the victims of both Hurricane Katrina and the Johnstown Flood of 1889?” or “How does American consumption of conflict minerals currently and blood diamonds in the early 1990s perpetuate a cycle of oppression in 3rd world countries?”

Next, conduct more extensive Internet research. Conduct keyword searches on the Net. Be sure to let your research

question guide you so that you can focus your keyword searches to locate relevant materials. Evaluate the sources you discover. Keep track of all web pages and articles you find that inform you about your topic, as you will need them for your annotated bibliography.

Because its components combine elements of different media, you may find that your composing process for this project is more complicated than for a traditional essay. Here are some tips to get you started.

  1. Begin by doing a general Internet search of several of the topics on the final page of this document (at this point, Wikipedia is ok).

  2. Once you have selected a topic that interests you, begin doing more advanced Internet searches (at this point, Wikipedia is NOT ok).

  3. Locate images that will allow you to inform readers about your topic and your research. Images should not be selected randomly. Rather, each image should allow you to make points about your topic. Select at least 10-12 images for the project.

  4. Compose a project that has an opening page, essay pages for each of the images, a page for a conclusion, and a page for the annotated bibliography. You may create a Power Point, or get more creative with Prezi at, or create a blog page using

  5. Develop an essay page for each image. The page should have three components:

    1. The image. Think about the order in which you arrange the images in your essay. Be sure to crop or size the images for maximum effect.

    2. A caption. Compose a caption of not more than one sentence that emphasizes the key concerns of the image and situates the image within the structure of the essay.

    3. An explanation. Compose several sentences explaining the significance of the image. Your explanation might discuss aspects of the image in more detail. It should also integrate your research information whenever possible. The explanation should make your topic meaningful to readers.

  6. Compose an introduction and a conclusion that formally connects the themes of your two time periods.

  7. Create an annotated bibliography:

A bibliography is a list of sources (books, journals, websites, periodicals, etc.) one has used for researching a topic. An annotation is a summary and/or evaluation. Therefore, an annotated bibliography includes a summary and/or evaluation of each of the sources.

First, you put in the normal bibliographical information you would for any works cited page (see for help). Then, after each entry, you write a paragraph of annotation that includes the following:

  1. a summary: What are the main arguments? What is the point of this article? What topics are covered? If someone asked what this article/book is about, what would you say?

  2. an evaluation: Is it a useful source? How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography? Is the information reliable? Is this source biased or objective? What is the goal of this source?

  3. a reflection: Once you've summarized and assessed a source, you need to ask how it fits into your research. Was this source helpful to you? How does it help you shape your argument? How can you use this source in your research project? Has it changed how you think about your topic?

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