17 April 2008

Comps, aka AHHHHHH!!!!

Here at Occidental, every graduating senior must complete a comprehensive project in his or her chosen major field. In Economics, it's a test. In Film, it's a short film or a critical studies paper, depending on the emphasis. For my major, history, it's a long paper and a presentation. The paper is something like 20-30 pages and a 15-minute presentation. Yesterday I attended the first round of history presentations. They were interesting, I guess, but mostly I just freaked out the whole time because I don't have a topic.

I know, I know, these seniors probably didn't have topics at this time last year, right?? WRONG!!! Many of them have been researching since they were sophomores. Many of them have traveled to their areas of interest and dug around in archives and discovered some crazy stuff. Well, I have no idea what I'm doing.

I am very glad Occidental has comps. Other schools, especially public and/or larger schools, don't have anything resembling Occidental's comps project. Take some classes for four years and here ya go, here's your degree! Comps is a way to showcase what you've learned and done in your four years (or, in my case, three years) at Oxy. Comps also prepares you for grad school, if that's your thing...(???)

I want my comps to be AWESOME. I might even do honors (I should decide that...), but I don't have a topic!!!! Here's some of my ideas, most of which I hate:

1. The JFK Assassination: Did Oswald act alone? This would be especially interesting from a historiographical point-of-view.

2. Local resistance movements in Africa and/or Asia during the Decolonization Period.

3. Medicine and Ethics in concentration camps during WWII and modern implications (I'm writing a 12-pager on that right now actually.)

4. My most recent idea: Terrorist groups in Post-War Europe...did they accomplish anything? What made them "terrorists"? How has the meaning of "terrorist" changed since the '60s and '70s? etc etc...

Any other brilliant ideas...? Let me know because I'm about to have a nervous breakdown....


Jim H. said...

That last one is interesting. You could do one on terrorism in US history. In fact, there is a display right now at the Minnesota History Center on demostic terrorism. The display is on tour from the American Spy Museum in Washington, which I'd never heard of but it sounds interesting. Anyway, people tend to assume that terrorism is something brand new in the US of A but it's not.

So, there's an idea, I guess.

Jim H. said...

make that 'domestic.

Danl said...