Collaborative Work – Research and writing project

from an Honors Section of E110 themed around Hamilton, Délice Williams

“What does it mean to think and act upon the idea that one’s colleagues inter-are with oneself, that their reading and writing practices, their reflections, their labors in and out of class inter-are with one’s own practices and labors?”

Asao Inoue, Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies, 104
Asao Innoue notes that hyper-individualism -- a focus on the individual as autonomous, self-determined being -- is a characteristic of what he calls a "white racial habitus," or the "structuring structures" of a classroom environment (58). Encouraging collaborative work might be one way to challenge this practice, while working to build classroom community. This writing project by Délice Williams builds collaboration into the research process, encouraging students to share sources and research, also giving them the opportunity to write together if they desire.

Writing Project 1:  A New Edition of Hamilton

Imagine that you are the editor for Hamilton: A New Edition. Your task for this first major writing project is to create an edition of the musical that will enrich the audience’s appreciation for the musical and its connections to contemporary American society.  Your edition of the text will include a new introduction and a carefully curated set of supplemental material to provide readers with some context for appreciating both the musical and a theme or concept that you believe is important to contemporary American society.  In keeping with the Hamilton spirit, this project involves research, creativity, and collaboration with other writers.

Part 1. Identify a theme from the musical (on your own)

  • Hamilton the musical announces some of its themes very directly.  But the musical has other themes or motifs that may be more less obvious. As you read Hamilton: The Revolution, keep a running list of  themes in class.   Whatever you choose, it needs to be something that you can connect very directly to some dimension of contemporary American society. The goal is not just to say, “here is a theme in the play.”  Rather, it is to say, “here is a theme from the play that resonates in American society today.”

Part 2. Curate a group of sources related to your theme (with a partner)

  • You will work with a partner to search for a group of 6-8 sources that you believe will offer useful context for understanding the musical, the theme, and their connections to America today. One source will be something you write yourself.  Your other sources will come from research and reading that you and your partner find.
  • The sources must include
    • A 200 to 300-word analysis of one song from the Hamilton soundtrack that addresses the theme. 
    • One informative article or essay about your theme in contemporary society.
    • One annotated historical document that connects to the play & sheds light on the theme that you plan to focus on. You must include at least 7 of your own annotations to the document.
    • One visual source that illustrates or illuminates the theme from the play, and a 100-150-word comment that explains why you chose the source and what it illustrates.
    • Choices for other sources are up to you.  You can repeat one of the types listed above, or you can be creative (A contemporary song that connects to your theme? Your own song lyrics? Your own fan art? Your own poem?)

Part 3. Compose the new introduction (on your own)

§  Your introduction should

o   Invite readers into the text and the world of Hamilton

o   identify the main theme of the edition

o   explain the value of this new edition (what it offers readers)

o   Preview each piece of supplemental material and explain why it might be of interest to readers and how it can contribute to their understanding of the theme

§  You are not trying to impersonate Miranda & McCarter, so your introduction will not sound like theirs.  Rather, you are working to do two main things:

1) Highlight a theme and its importance in the play and in American society

2) Convince your reader of the value of your edition by explaining how the contents of your edition will help readers appreciate the play and the importance of theme.

The audience for this edition will be people who want to appreciate the play and the theme that you have chosen. 

The entire introduction will be 750-850 words

Part 4. Create a fabulous cover design (maybe with a partner, maybe not)

  • Must be in color
  • Must be tidy
  • Must be visually appealing
  • Must contain an image that conveys some important idea or concept about the musical
  • must contain a title, Miranda’s name, editor’s name (that’s yours)
  • Title format [YOUR CATCHY WORD OR PHRASE]: A New Edition of Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton
  • Cannot replicate the Hamilton playbill or the cover design of Hamilton: The Revolution
  • If your research and editing partner does not want to collaborate on the cover design, you will not pout or gripe or retaliate.  You will accept it and move on.

A note about design

  • The final version of this project will be a PDF, so you do not have to work with Word as you’re putting it together.  If you use another program, you can experiment with colored pages, watermarks, or other features that would visually enhance your project.  You want it to be clear and readable, but you have flexibility when it comes to layout. 

We will be working on this in and outside of class, but the final version will be due via Canvas