Critical Assessment of Memoir
The purpose of this assignment is to conduct an in-depth, critical assessment of a memoir written by a humanitarian aid about experiences working in conflict and disaster contexts. In this assessment, you need to identify summarize and evaluate (critique) the main ideas presented in Jessica Alexander’s memoir and connect the themes from her book to the course content (i.e., unit content and additional readings and resources).
Read and review the memoir Chasing Chaos: My Decade in and Out of Humanitarian Aid by Jessica Alexandra. This is not merely a summary of the book but rather a critical assessment. Therefore, as you read her
memoir, consider the following guiding questions to help you organize your ideas for your assignment:
• What are Alexander’s most important points? How do these relate to one another?
• What types of evidence or information does she present to support her points?
• Which parts of her memoir (i.e., particular arguments,
descriptions, chapters, etc.) were most effective and convincing, and which parts were least effective or distracting? Why?
• Where (if at all) does Alexander purport bias?
The student will produce a critical assessment (paper) of the memoir and connect it to major themes in the course units and additional course materials.
(12-point font, 1-inch margins, not including title page and references and appendices).
The following components are required for this assignment:
Title page: In proper APA format including a shortened title (running head), the title of your memoir assessment.
Your assignment should include but is not limited to the following sections.
Introduction & Overview:
Provide a succinct summary of the various countries and displacement situations where (i.e., countries, types of disasters, and years) Alexander worked. Briefly state what you believe to be Alexander’s main premise in her
memoir (e.g., Is it to challenge and reframe the con
the temporary notion of humanitarian aid? Is it to
argue that humanitarian aid does more harm than
Is it to highlight the personal and professional challenges associated with working in the humanitarian sector? etc.). Identify the main themes (a minimum of two themes) that emerged for you as you read her memoir. You will be describing each of these themes in greater detail in the body of your paper.
Providing specific examples including direct quotes will strengthen your work. [~1page]•
Theme 1: Discuss in detail the first theme you have identified from the memoir with supporting evidence, and connect the theme to the additional course material, if applicable. [~1page]•
Theme 2: Discuss in detail the second theme you have identified from the memoir with supporting evidence, and connect the theme to the additional course material, if applicable. [~1page]•
Additional Themes: If applicable and at your
discretion, discuss in detail any other important
themes that emerged for you with supporting
evidence, and connect the themes to the additional
course material, if applicable. [max. 2 pages]•
Personal reflection-knowledge and understanding of the humanitarian sector: How has reading Alexander’s memoir changed your knowledge and understanding of the humanitarian sector and of being a humanitarian provider? What surprised you most about her account of working in the humanitarian sector? Providing
examples from her book including direct quotes will strengthen your work. Could you envision yourself working in this field? For you, what would be your biggest concerns, and anticipations based on Alexander’s memoir? [max. 2 pages]•
How well has Alexander achieved the overall purpose of her book according to you? What contribution(s) does her memoir make to the humanitarian sector and the larger field of displacement and development? What is the most important final comment you wish to make about the memoir? [2-3 paragraphs]
Critical Assessment of Memoir