The Historical Biography capstone course builds on the work done in HIST E-597B Precapstone: Historical Biography.
The precapstone course teaches students the research and writing skills they need to write biography. It is interdisciplinary, as writing biography requires the research skills of the historian, the close textual analysis skills of the literary scholar, and the writing skills of the journalist. We read and discuss excerpts from biographies. We also develop research and writing skills through short assignments. Students submit an annotated bibliography as their final assignment for the course.
In the capstone course, HIST E-599B Capstone: Historical Biography, students use the research and writing skills they have developed to produce a sample chapter of a biography, one that could be submitted as part of a book proposal. Students include a bibliography and endnotes with their final submission. This semester predominantly consists of workshops of student writing-in-progress; students are evaluated on the feedback they provide for each other.
Ariane Liazos, PhD, Lecturer in Extension, Harvard University