Teaching My Fair Lady

Last semester, I had to opportunity to create a digital exhibit project based on the speeches given by a few women at the Congress of Representative Women during the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair called My Fair Lady. In the digital exhibit, are housed three different sections; The 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, The Woman’s Building, and The Congress of Representative Women. I would like the opportunity to expand upon the project in a way that it can interact with college students. My intended audience was women and students when I first created My Fair Lady. Ideally, I wanted, and still do want to see my project used in the class as a point of discussion.The speeches held during this world fair given by the women on topics very much relevant to today. This already provides the opportunity to connect some of the ideas on historical thinking that I have already read about in my course on teaching and learning.

I am not sure if I would focus on one specific areas, such as the speeches, or if I would try to connect the entire project to the goal is for this new project. However, I am led to either create a lesson plan or an activity based on the primary sources; the speeches. These women focused on topics like race, sex, gender roles, religion, etc., all at a point in time where it wasn’t seen as appropriate for women to do so. And with all of the political interference with women’s rights today, I think this is a very good opportunity to use what these women were speaking about and connect it to the present.

I would cater my assignment/lesson/activity towards college students because I like the idea of incorporating some digital humanities tools. If I did something within a lesson plan/assignment, I might incorporate the use of a text analysis tool alongside having them interact with what they uncover with the tool. I would include a tutorial with examples, but I would want the students to draw their own conclusions from what they gather. Ex: a word cloud. If I had students use Voyant text analysis tool, and upload the plain text files of a speech or two, and then create a word cloud, what can they view from that word cloud? What do prominent words the speeches tell us about their focus? What is their vocabulary like? This would give students the opportunity to connect with the materials deeper, but also in a new way rather than just reading the speeches and writing about them.

Just an idea, I guess we will see where it takes me!

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