In one sense, this was a friendly interchange. It also demonstrates, however, that the student did not seem to have the necessary community or historical details to conduct the interview effectively. Other interview questions also remained at a personal level, such as “When was your first kiss” Here community members had to struggle to create a context for a broader community or worldview to emerge. Even though they were weak in terms of research strategies, such moments were seen as appropriate for inclusion because the book was coming to be seen primarily Links Of London Bracelets as serving a pedagogical purpose: in terms of the goals of the Writing Program, these weaknesses would teach students how to do better ethnographic work.
Pedagogical goals, however, were not the goals of the community. Upon publication, the book immediately became a target of disappointment and anger for Glassville. Many residents were unhappy with the unequal lengths of the interviews, believing diat certain residents were featured more prominently than deserved. Others felt that important aspects of their own lives or of the community’s history should have been included in the book either through additional interviews or supplementary materials. The book also contained several historical mistakes about the community. Concern was also raised that the student-created interview transcriptions had been used in the book instead of organizing the community voices around themes or categories. Because of this decision, many were shocked at seeing how they “sounded” on the page.
(One resident, noting that the interviews were exact transcriptions, complained that she sounded like the “village idiot.”) Some comments, casually said in conversation, now appeared to them as racist or anti-religious. (It is one thing to refer to yourself jokingly as a “Pollack” in the privacy of your living room, but it is another to have that comment read in a university classroom by a thousand students.)
The cover also became the object of anger because it infuriated elements of the community. The self-image of the Glassville neighborhood association would have been best represented by a cover showing an integrated neighborhood scene. During the term, however, the students had not worked with the community to select a cover in class, so, once the term was over, many students were no longer available. In the absence of such input, a cover was designed to reflect the students’ perception of the book as a historical study of individuals. Instead of a cover featuring Links Of London an integrated neighborhood in the present, the front cover featured a handwritten title, a picture of a white resident on her way to the prom, circa 1940, laid over a the scene of a city map, which bled over to the back cover showing photographs of an African-American family, circa 1940. This attempt to create a continuity of images was not endorsed by many residents, however. Instead, as one resident stated: “White on the front, Black on the back, of course.” In response, the Glassville neighborhood association wrote letters of protest and demanded retractions/revisions throughout the text.
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