Published Date

July 5, 2016

Resource Type

AHA Resource, For the Classroom


Digital Methods, Labor, Latinx, Migration, Immigration, & Diaspora, Social

AHA Topics

Teaching & Learning, Undergraduate Education


Latin America/Caribbean, United States

This resource was developed as part of the AHA’s Globalizing the US History Survey project


By Oscar Cañedo

Institution: Grossmont College

Location: El Cajon, California

Year: 2016

History 108
Spring Semester 2016
Professor Cañedo
Daughter of Fortune Video Assignment

For this assignment, you are to place yourself into the time period of the Daughter of Fortune story and create a video based on a character that you will create in the discussion forum section. We will devote six weeks of class time to this story, so please develop a character that will correlate to the scope of the story. I will provide more instructions on creating your character in mid-February. As for your video, you will address an agent of a fictional company based upon the story, and you are requesting to be taken to San Francisco from the port of Valparaiso. It is your job to convince the agent (that would be me!) why you want to go to California. Here is what you need to do for this exercise.

After you have watched my how-to video on how to record videos using the webcam feature in YouTube, please prepare a 4-5 minute video in which you introduce yourself, provide a character sketch, and demonstrate what you wish to achieve in California. Remember that your character must be based upon the context of the story. Thus, your character can be Asian, Latin American, European, African, North American, etc. In your video, highlight your background, family, occupation, work skills, how you arrived in Valparaiso, etc. You are absolutely welcome and even encouraged to draw upon your own family history to provide you with a template for creating your character. And you are certainly welcome to be creative in your presentation, such as introducing visual props, such as signs, posters, and even clothing from the era (mid-19th century). I was able to discuss this assignment when I attended the annual American Historical Association conference in New York last January, and I had the chance to share some of the students’ videos.

The due date for posting your video is Friday, May 20 at 11:59 PM. Please post your video into the discussion board section, like you did when you posted your introductions to the class. Your grade on this assignment will be based on a composite of your forum comments and video, and your composite grade will be worth 15% of your overall class grade.

Consequently, in order to achieve a strong grade for this portion of the class, it is in your best interests to ensure that you have commented in your six Daughter of Fortune forums, in addition to posting your videos. Last fall was the first time I’ve tried something like this before for any class, so I am eagerly anticipating the results. I want everyone to completely immerse him or herself in Isabel Allende’s story and imagine yourself living during this amazing period in the mid-19th century. One major theme in the story is the idea of “reinventing oneself” in a new land, and I certainly want everybody to keep this in mind as you’re sharing your character with the entire class.