Local Knowledge   Second Essay Options



5 pages, double-spaced, typed.


Choose one framing question, drawing on the readings, films, augmenting materials (the Jefferson Center newsletters and reports), fieldtrip to Shelton and discussions. You can of course develop your own question and approach.


(1)  Beverly Brown’s In Timber Country provides both a policy analysis and a collection of oral histories for understanding life and work in “timber-dependent” communities. Think about the essential lessons you’ve been able to glean from this approach and provide a profile of what you consider to be the key themes and insights. What do you see as the strengths and limitations of this approach to understanding timber towns? What are some of the key features that you can draw on to understand other communities, either those in the broad arena of “natural resource dependent” or others that have been marginalized and/or disinvested (as different and faraway as the Dudley St. community)? Put another way, how has the book helped you develop your analytic toolbox and personal sensibility toward community and local knowledge?



(2)  Oral history, testimony, stories and personal exchanges are key to how we are learning about people working in timber,  non-timber harvesting, and contingent (vulnerable) labor. These embody the approaches taken up in In Timber, Voices from the Woods and the work of the Jefferson Center. How would you assess the lessons and challenges of this approach? What are the key things that you know or imagine are critical to this approach? What are the limits, barriers or difficulties that you can think of? What more do you need to know to better judge all of this? (For example, what would you ask Bev Brown about her strategy for selecting and talking to/listening to people?) How do you think this more personal, person-to-person, small group approach has impacted the Jefferson Center and the networks that it works in? How does it differ from other research/documentation and/or social advocacy groups you’ve seen or been involved with?


(3)  your question