Story Title: A Father’s Tale, a Tale of History
While some pundits deplore the state of Americans’ public ignorance with cultural heritage, there is overwhelming evidence that contradicts this view. A survey of nearly 1,500 Americans, conducted in the late 1990s by historians Roy Rosenzweig and David Thelen, determined that most Americans engage in some sort of historical activity on a regular basis. Rosenzweig and Thelen concluded that a majority of Americans are actively interested in history, albeit in a different form than that which was delivered to them in school.
Digital storytelling is an important tool for the individual’s interest in the past because it allows one to construct and root their personal history to a broader context, while widely disseminating it. At the same time, narratives help people receive history because they appeal to common human experiences. The video includes an example of personal narrative, displayed through three people. First, it recounts the war stories my grandfather told to my father sixty years ago, then it shows my father speaking these stories to me, which I convey to the present audience in a digital narrative through pictures and my father’s account. The story becomes a case study of how the digital story is a powerful tool to understand broader history when we root it in our encounters with family members.
- To reveal how a person’s interest in history was developed outside the classroom by listening to a parent’s personal history, which he linked to broader historical events
- To demonstrate that history is multifaceted. This story has tragedy and comedy, danger and everyday life. It includes a narrative arc, yet is multilayered rather than strictly linear.
- To show how family histories can be produced in a digital storytelling format.
- My first intended audience are those who doubt the use for digital storytelling, particularly those who are wedded to the nineteenth century style of teaching by memorization of facts and rote memory.
- My second intended audience are those interested in the Pacific theatre. Guam was a strategic location for the Allies, and tends to be overshadowed by islands like Midway or Iwo Jima. In that sense, it shows strategy of warfare as well as what the navy built on the island during their time on the island.
- Finally, my audience is my family members who had a personal relationship with my grandfather. I want to show them how the person they knew participated in global events, and therefore further their appreciation of the Second World War.