It’s March here at The Junto (and, um, the rest of the world), which means it’s time for our annual March Madness tournament! By now you probably know the drill: you nominate, we bracket, and voting begins to establish a champion. Last year’s tournament can be found here: Michael Jarvis’s In the Eye of All Trade beat out a number of strong competitors to finally triumph in the tournament of nerdom.
Each year there’s been a twist, and this year is no different.
This time around, we’re limiting entrants in the competition to primary sources. We wanted to expand on some of the pedagogical posts we’ve had here at The Junto, and to host a competition that will foster wide discussions about how we as historians go about researching and teaching.
Nominations open today and close on Wednesday at 5 p.m. EST. Check out the rules below and then add your nominations and seconds in the Comments section. Then, by the power of The Junto‘s bracketologists, we’ll put together tournament brackets, announce the brackets, and open it up for your votes starting next Monday.
1) Here’s how we’re defining “primary sources” for the purpose of this competition: any primary source that is easily available online, published in an edited collection, or reproduced in a scholarly journal. You should not nominate primary sources that are only available in manuscript form. The point of this limitation is to create a giant list of primary sources for research and teaching that are easily accessible to everyone.
2) All nominations must be made in the Comments section of this post.
3) If would be helpful if, in your nomination, you included one line about each of the sources you’re nominating, given the fact that this will be a broader exercise than usual and some sources won’t (and shouldn’t!) be familiar to everyone (I’m looking at you, non-British-Atlanticists–we need your nominations!).
4) We ask that you nominate a maximum of three primary sources that have not yet been nominated. You may also “second” the nomination of three other primary sources that have already been nominated. If you were going to nominate primary sources already mentioned you may do so and they will be tallied as seconds.
NB: Essentially, each voter can nominate and second up to six primary sources but only three can be new nominations. Given the number of comments posted last year, it would be helpful if you explicitly stated which of your primary sources count as nominations, and which count as seconds. (To see if one of your choices has already been nominated, go to Edit->Find in your browser and type in the name of the primary source.)
Like last year’s tournament, this is all meant to be taken in a spirit of fun. This tournament is not meant to bestow any kind of value judgment on individual works. If anything, it may be a reflection of the “favorite” primary source of our readers; but that should not be thought of as implying that it reflects what our readers or this blog think is the “best” primary source. Last year’s competition inspired lots of interesting and entertaining conversations, and this year we’re hoping to hear from even more of you. Please feel free to join in in the comments, or to use the Twitter hashtag #JMM15.
Junto March Madness 2015 Schedule
March 2nd-4th: Reader Nominations
March 6th: Announce Brackets
March 9th & 11th: First Round Voting
March 16th & 18th: Second Round Voting
March 23rd: Round of 16
March 26th: Quarterfinals
March 30th: Semifinals
April 6th: Final
By the power invested in me by my fellow Juntoists, I hereby offer my list of nominations to start the competition.
The Relación of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca: a sixteenth-century narrative of Spanish exploration and (attempted) conquest in present-day Texas and Mexico.
David George, “An Account of the Life of Mr. DAVID GEORGE, from Sierra Leone in Africa; given by himself in a Conversation with Brother RIPPON of London, and Brother PEARCE of Birmingham,” (London, 1793-1797), in Unchained Voices: An Anthology of Black Authors in the English-Speaking World of the Eighteenth Century, ed. by Vincent Carretta (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1996): an account by a former Virginian slave who ran away to live among Creek Indians, joined the British in the American Revolution, became a Baptist preacher, and moved out of the colonies to live in Nova Scotia and then Sierra Leone in the war’s aftermath.
“From George Washington to Major General John Sullivan, 31 May 1779,” Founders Online: Washington’s instructions to Sullivan for the summer campaign of destruction against the British-allied members of the Six Nations.