Proposal Thoughts

I should begin by saying that every time I write about my project it forces me to think more critically about what I would like to do and what areas of my work needs further development. Aside from being a stressful experience, the proposal draft made me try to put my project together in a way that made sense to me and would hopefully make sense to others. First, I realized I had more thoughts about methodology than I had initially thought. Two of the articles I have in my bibliography offer examples of how to measure rhetoric and the implementation and success of an abolitionist strategy. An article from a social scientist, Timothy Shortell, showed how to use mathematical equations to measure the frequency of rhetoric. While this is an intriguing technique I am not sure I have the expertise to use this method. Trying to write about his methods allowed me to realize how complex these methods are and I am not sure if I will be able to use this as a means of analysis for my research. Going through the different methods other historians use to analyze and interpret their sources helped me think about what I may use to best analyze my primary sources.

I also learned that I have a good base of primary sources for my project and that I need to spend a significant amount of time this summer digging through the archives and databases. I also need to spend more time going through my secondary literature. I feel I have a solid base of secondary sources, but the historiography section of the proposal is the area I felt I struggled with the most. I think this is mainly because I have not had the time to read all of my secondary sources fully. Many of my sources have been added in the last few weeks and I need to give these an in-depth reading. I hope this will allow me to better situate my work with the work of other abolitionist scholars. I am also unsure if I want to add a digital/public history aspect  to my project. I think this is the best way to include a link to the modern fight against slavery, but I am not sure this is the best way to accomplish this link. In my next draft I hope to expand the historiography, further define my methodological approach(es), and determine what type of digital content i plan to include, if any.