History 185: Assignments

Course Assignments:

The primary emphasis of this course is on student research and presentations. Assignments include four group projects, and two individual presentations, with the latter each having accompanying written assignments, as outlined below.

Reading Assignments:

Tales from Margaritaville
Friday, January 4: pp. 3-104 (through "Boomerang Love")
Monday, January 7: pp. 105-188 (through "Are You Ready for Freddy?")
Tuesday, January 8: pp. 189-end ("Hooked in the Heart" to end) Where is Joe Merchant? A Novel Tale
Wednesday, January 9: pp. 1-89 (ch. 1 - 12)
Thursday, January 10: pp. 93-164 (ch. 13 - 27)
Friday, January 11: pp. 167-222 (ch. 28 - 40)
Monday, January 14: pp. 225-298 (ch. 41 - 54)
Tuesday, January 15: pp. 301-end (ch. 55 - epilogue) A Salty Piece of Land
Wednesday, January 16: pp. 1-91 (through "One Man's Cathedral")
Thursday, January 17: pp. 92-179 (through "The Dance of Life and Death")
Friday, January 18: pp. 180-267 (through "A Little Family Fun")
Monday, January 21: pp. 168-382 (through "The Spare Bulb")
Tuesday, January 22: pp. 383-end ("From a Distance" through "Afterword")

Please note: due to the scheduling of J-term this year, we are required to meet for the equivalent of one additional class period outside of the normally scheduled time in class. I will schedule that after our first class meeting, when I have an idea about who may have potential conflicts during the week.

Writing and Presentation Assignments:

I. Tales from Margaritaville

The first set of group presentations will be given Monday and Tuesday, January 7-8. They will be related to locations mentioned in Tales from Margaritaville. Each group (of 3 or 4 students) will give two in-class presentations, each dealing with one or more of the places mentioned in short stories from the book that are assigned for that day. (To avoid duplication, I will post a google document, "List of Places in Tales from Margaritaville" for you to sign up for the subjects of your reports.) The presentations should not simply describe the location, but should also provide information about its "human geography," as well as its relevance for the short story. Here are some examples of points you might cover:

Where is the place? How does one get there?
What is its significance, historically, economically, politically, etc.?
Did something important happen there? If so, what were the consequences?
Do "ordinary people" live there? If so, what do they do—how do they make a living? What do they do for "fun"? Do they want to leave? If so, why (or why not)?
Why do people visit the area? Is there anything about the place that might make you want to go there (or not)?
What is its significance for the short story?
Why are the main characters in the story there?
What songs (if any) from the album "Off to See the Lizard" are related to the short story?

Although sites like Wikipedia will obviously give you a quick introduction to these locales, you will need to find much more extensive documentation than that brief introductory material.

II. "Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes – Where in the World?"

The first individual presentations will be given in class Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, January 9-11. Each student is required to select a location mentioned in Jimmy Buffett's songs or fiction, and present a report about its significant "human geography." (Again, to avoid duplication, I will post a list of places in a google document for you to sign up for the locale of your choice.) In addition to the oral presentation, you must submit a written report as well, approximately 4-6 pages in length (double spaced, typewritten). It must include appropriate documentation of your sources (using either MLA or CMS format). While the oral and written reports will obviously cover the same material, you should not simply read the report aloud, but rather present it from notes. You may use audio-visual aids if you wish (such as PowerPoint, slides, or music), but that is not required. The paper is due at the beginning of class on Wednesday, January 9.

The type of information you should include is similar to that suggested for the first group presentations. However, the last two points, which in the first group assignment were related to the short stories in Tales from Margaritaville, are different:

In what song(s) or fictional work is the locale mentioned?
What is its significance in that piece?

Again, you will need to extend your search for sources well beyond an introductory perusal of Wikipedia.

III. "I've got to fly to Saint Somewhere"

The second set of group presentations will be given in class Tuesday through Friday, January 15-18. For this assignment, each group is required to plan two trips. Pick a destination mentioned in Buffett's music or fiction, and plan a week-long trip: find round trip air fare, accommodations, local transportation, food, and ways to keep yourself entertained during the week, all with the goal of finding the least expensive options, while also avoiding tourist traps, rip-offs, scams, unsafe locales, and hidden expenses. Your choices of food must be more than simply "buying food at the local market" (an admirable choice, but not sufficient for a week), and should include places where locals would likely eat (again, avoiding tourist traps). While some restaurants you choose may be considered "fast food," they may not be national chains. If some of your meal plans include shopping at local markets, be sure to include such things as farmers' markets or special local food outlets frequented by the local population.

Each group will give two presentations, one for a domestic destination, and one for a foreign site. There may be some duplication of sites chosen by groups, which is fine. If that happens, we will compare the results of each group's planning: which found the best airfare, or the most convenient and economical accommodations, etc. In addition to the list of locales noted in Tales from Margaritaville, there will also be a similar list of places mentioned in A Salty Piece of Land. Other destinations may be found in his songs (check the discography).

For the purposes of this assignment, pretend that your age is 25 or older. While you currently have certain cost advantages as a student, someone over 25 also has more flexibility in terms of transportation by being able to rent a car. (Please note: in some locales, renting a car may be a very poor—and very dangerous—choice!) You may also wish to check to see if membership in an organization such as the American Automobile Association (AAA) would be cost effective. (For example, would the money you save on lodging or transportation offset the membership fee?)

Please note: for this assignment, do not actually book any travel, accommodations, or activities, or join any travel organizations; doing so may make you financially liable for the expenses, which would be your own responsibility to pay.

To help you plan your trips, some of the "travel-related sites" linked here may be useful to you. But they are just a sample of the many sites available on-line. Their inclusion on this list does not represent any kind of endorsement by the instructor, Luther College, or anyone else.

IV. "That One Particular Harbor"

The final assignment of the course is intended to let you use your imagination. There are two parts of the assignment; in both, the setting can be a real place that is "special" to you (your personal "One Particular Harbor"), or a fictional locale (of your own creation—somewhere like "Margaritaville," but not a place that was thought up by someone else). In both elements of the assignment, your work should show why it is "special," and why you want to go there. You must submit a written version, as well as make a presentation in class. The written version is due at the beginning of class on Tuesday, January 22. The in-class presentations will be given Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, January 22 – 24. (This assignment is essentially the format of the relationship between Tales from Margaritaville and some of the songs on "Off to See the Lizard.") .

Part 1: Write a short story (5-8 pages) which, through the actions or comments of its characters, explains why the place is special, and why you want to go there. It can be from either first-person or third-person perspective. (For example, "As I swam through the crystal clear water of the bay . . ." or "Johnson awoke to the sound of the wind rattling the bamboo outside his hut.") Unlike the in-class presentation of the first individual assignment, for this one, you may read it aloud; whatever way you present it, you should do so with appropriate inflection to stimulate interest in your subject.

Part 2: Create the lyrics to a song (with a rhyme scheme) that explains why the place is special, and why you want to go there. The song must have at least three verses and a chorus. (You do not have to create your own music, though you may do so if you wish; it can be set to the tune of an existing song.) For your in-class presentation, you are not required to perform the song (though you may do so if you wish, and I hope many of you will); you may simply read the lyrics, but if you do, you need to indicate the tune that it is set to.

Assignment Summary:

Four group in-class presentations (30 percent)
Two individual in-class presentations – with accompanying written assignments (50 percent)
Attendance and class participation (20 percent)

Course Resources:

"Where In the World?" A List of Places found in Jimmy Buffett's Music and Fiction

Jimmy Buffett's Discography and Lyrics (click on an album title for lyrics): http://www.margaritaville.com/jimmybuffett_discography.html

This list of travel-related sites may be useful to you in completing the assignments related to planning trips to "Saint Somewhere," but they are just examples of the many sites available online. You are not limited to using only these.