Annotation Worksheet: Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome in Pop Culture
Pop culture has a significant influence on how we understand and learn history. Sam Wineburg, an educational psychologist and scholar of teaching and learning, has conducted a lot of research in this area: Wineburg demonstrates that students come into classes with their own beliefs about the world shaped by personal experiences, family stories, and popular culture. Since we understand history in part through the lenses of pop culture, intentionally and unintentionally, this annotation assignment is an opportunity to reconsider something in pop culture using the wider and more complex range of evidence, perspectives, and ways of thinking you’ve accumulated in the class so far.
- You have the option to do this annotation individually, in pairs, or in your regular annotation groups. Discuss your preferences with your group so no one is left out of the loop.
- Pick a pop culture source from this list that you helped crowdsource a couple of weeks ago. If you have an idea for something you want to analyze that is not on this list, email me right away to run it by me before you start working on it. If you are having trouble finding or picking an option, email me right away.
- Analyze your pop culture source and complete the write-up by Friday, 11pm. Post only your write up (do not include the instructions or overview sections) to the discussion board.
- Engage with 1 other post by Monday, 11pm.
Answer the following questions for your pop culture source. Include parenthetical citations in your answers when you paraphrase or quote ideas and information from the readings or the pop culture source (treat it like a primary source text). Cite the pop culture source as: (Title). Cite the assigned readings as: (“Title of Article”).
- List the following metadata for the pop culture source you chose: Title of the Pop Culture Source, Author (Director if film or tv show), Publisher (executive producers if film or tv show), Date Created.
- Who is the audience for the Pop Culture Source? Include specific details to support your answer.
- Which ancient civilization(s) does the Pop Culture Source reference? Be as specific as possible about dynasty, time period, etc.
- List the main people, objects, and actions included or mentioned in the Pop Culture Source from the ancient civilization(s) listed above.
- Discuss 2 things the Pop Culture Source does well in representing the ancient civilization. Include specific examples from the Pop Culture Source and use the assigned readings to support your answers. Each point should be a complete paragraph at minimum.
- If you could change one thing about the Pop Culture Source’s treatment of the ancient civilization to improve its historical accuracy, what would it be and why? Include specific example(s) from the Pop Culture Source and use the assigned readings to support your suggestion.
To learn more about Sam Wineburg’s research: Wineburg, Sam. Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts: Charting the Future of Teaching the Past. Temple University Press, 2001.