History and literary journalism are seemingly fraternal twins separated at birth: one seeking to recover the past, the other striving to capture the present, and both committed to preserving a "truth" for prosperity. Though they share a dogged belief in (re)presenting the facts of a given event, both vary in their conceptions of how that event should be documented. Historians believe that the passage of time and critical distance favors objectivity, whereas literary journalists advocate contemporaneous coverage through firsthand, immersive reporting. And yet, despite their differences, both mirror the other's creed: a literary journalist views history as it is happening, or has recently happened, in order to reconstruct the scenes of that event accurately, while a historian typically strips the event of its emotion and drama in pursuit of a more traditional journalistic representation of a past event. This seminar proposes to study how and where literary journalism/journalists and history/historians cross disciplines and ideologies, and why academia still prefers that latter to the former as being a more faithful rendering of the past.
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