December 31, 2008

American Cultures

So, I have my independent study course left in American Cultures for my minor. I'm "enrolled" in it for this coming spring semester and I quote "enrolled" because it's not really a course. I don't go to class, I don't have exams, nothing...I just do an independent research on a subject of my choosing and write a paper on it. Kind of like a VERY small precursor to a dissertation or something like that. I'm the last person pursuing this minor, apparently...I talked to Dr. Buzz, who is the History Chair at UH, and he said he may end up closing it. He has no faculty who is willing to devote time and energy to it, for no extra pay and no real payoff. After thinking about that, I realized I might be the LAST person at UH to get a minor in American Cultures (AC) and that's kinda cool. Plus, it means Dr. Buzz is my sponsor for this last course...and I respect him mucho for his historical work covering the Vietnam War. That class is still one of my more enjoyable ones thus far...

Anyway, I'm having problems trying to decide what SUBJECT to use for my research work. Do I go serious or do I banter about something more whimsical? Some of the more recent AC submissions have been stuff like, "RnR Bands of Houston" or "An Oral History of the Railroad in Houston"...seriously...they didn't even WRITE a paper, they just stood before their sponsor and gave an oral history of the importance of the railroad in, and around, this area. Serious to them, I'm sure, but still...not what I would consider a difficult assignment. Hell, when I was driving a limo and we did city tours, I gave a nice little 20-minute spiel on the history of the railroad in Houston and it took me all of a couple hours to research the info on it. And, the "bands" subject...hell, just look at where you actually DO the research. Even I can sit in a bar night after night, chasing down bands and chugging shots. I did that plenty before I had kids (especially during the Army) and I wasn't even RESEARCHING anything other than how tough my liver was.

So you see, I have that educated 'Historian' snootiness poking out, trying to shun the "lesser" work I could pursue like, say...the growth of micro-breweries in America/Texas or why the American public has taken to a family in Arkansas with 18 kids (completely different blog, I'm sure I will get to soon) and hopes of more very soon. It tells me to follow my historical heart and do something relating to the Indian Termination Policy of the 1950's and 1960's, to include most or all of the actual "Termination Acts" set forth by our very own government. And, YES, Congress even titled it "termination" and they have continued to oppress and attempt to wipe out native populations as recently as TODAY. Just because you don't hear about it, does not mean it doesn't exist...I learned this in the military. I did crap that no one else in the world ever knew was going on, but it doesn't mean it didn't happen. Not starting some conspiracy-theory crap...just stating fact. Anyway, so I have that on one hand...

Then, I have the other side of my brain telling me...WTF?! Why not just do something fun and fanciful and blow through it? History takes on many forms and there are social historians and entertainment historians same as there are any other historian (my absolute favorite course to date was a History of Cinema course). It all has its place, you know? Whatever...I'm sure I'll think of something. Blowing this out and trying to be somewhat humorous at the same time will surely help. If anyone's out there, now or later...thanks for listening.

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