Dialectical Journalsthe Term 68 Riots In Dc To W
Assignment RUBRIC (scoring guide):
Pick one primary source about the ’68 Riots in DC to write a dialectical journal (explained below). You can use any available image from those on this course page (see course “Files” on the left) or any available text source on the course page. Feel free to expand on the image and text that we looked at on the first day. If you explore the course materials on Canvas you may find material that you’d like to use instead. Just be sure it is a primary source (an original source). An explanation of a dialectical Journal is below. Also be sure to look at the rubric for the assignment (above).
The term “Dialectic” means “the art or practice of arriving at the truth by using conversation involving question and answer.” Think of your dialectical journal as a series of conversations with the source (image or text) observed during this course. The process is meant to help you develop a better understanding of the sources themselves. Use your journal to incorporate your personal responses to the text or image, your ideas about the themes in the course and our class discussions. You will find that it is a useful way to process what you’re reading, prepare yourself for group discussion, and gather textual or visual evidence for your analysis.
Sample Dialectical Journal entry: List of Deaths Positively Established In Connection With the Civil Disturbances in Washington, D.C. April 5-7, 1968
Passages from the text
Comments & Questions
“He states, he had an adult held at bay by gun point and at this time the decedent, Thomas Williams, raced past in front of him, striking his out-stretched hand, which was holding his service revolver. The pistol discharged striking the decedent.” (List of Deaths, entry 1)
(R) I struggle with this explanation. The reason I struggle is that, much like more recent police shootings of unarmed youth, there is a possibility that it happened exactly in this way. On the other hand, there is an equal possibility that the explanation is fabricated. Video has completely changed police accountability. We will never have video of the shooting of Thomas Williams. With that said, video may not have brought more clarity to Williams’ death. A riot is a chaotic event. The officer responsible for the shooting was simply doing his job; at least he didn’t shoot Williams in the back.
I also want to know more about Williams. Was he a good kid or did he have a police record. But I don’t want to know this to show that he deserved to die or anything like that. I want to know because I am curious what kind of fourteen year old would want to be in the thick of a riot with fires and guns and looting and chaos reigning all around. It is sad that a fourteen year old would be impacted by the feelings of desperation of being black in 1968 (or today) in the US, the helplessness that forced all ages to go out and burn down their own neighborhoods in an act of civil disobedience that brought attention to their plight.
Choosing Passages from the Text:
Look for quotes that seem significant, powerful, thought provoking or puzzling. For example, you might record:
Responding To the Text:
You can respond to the text in a variety of ways. The most important thing to remember is that your observations should be specific and detailed. You can write as much as you want for each entry. You must type your journals.
Sample Sentence Starters:
I really don’t understand this because…
I really dislike/like this idea because…
I think the author is trying to say that…
This passage reminds me of a time in my life when…
If I were (name of character) at this point I would…
This part doesn’t make sense because…
This character reminds me of (name of person) because…
Higher Level Responses