Formal Paper Instructions World Civilizations to 1600, Fall 2020 Where and When Due: 11:59 p.m., Thursday, December 10, 2020. • Submit it electronically as a Word document in Blackboard (PDF file in an emergency or if you have Word problems). • LATE? If you turn in the paper late—after midnight of that day—then 5% will be deducted from its score for each day it is late (including weekends), up to a maximum penalty of 30% points. I will accept late papers (with penalty) until December 21. Weight: 17% of total course grade Basic Assignment: Choose one of the following paper options (A-D). The point is to show that you have learned to read and interpret primary documents effectively, using evidence found in those documents, as well as information from the course textbook, for building an argument. You should pack your paper with good illustrative quotes from relevant primary source material and, where appropriate, paraphrases of secondary source material from that chapter. No research outside of assigned class materials is either required or necessary (in fact, I discourage it). [See more on Sources, below]. Apply historical thinking methods you’ve been practicing all semester, as appropriate (but this time you don’t need to [signal] them as you did on your exercises). Your Choices (pick one): A. First, analyze some of the attitudes that outside observers had towards “barbarian” Northern Europeans. Then analyze how sources written by Scandinavians themselves either confirm, modify, or contradict the attitudes of the civilized authors you have considered. Note: a good essay should provide examples of all three variations: confirmations, modifications, and contradictions. i. Sources 1. The file of assigned readings labeled “Viking-Era Documents” (the whole file, including “Hakon the Good’s Saga”), found in the “Readings” folder in Blackboard. 2. Any relevant information in the course textbook, Wiesner- Hanks, A History of World Societies. Continued…. 1 B. First, analyze some of the attitudes and stereotyped views that civilized peoples had towards the barbarian Mongols. Then analyze how evidence from history and the writings of Mongols themselves either confirms, modifies, or contradicts the attitudes of the civilized authors you have considered. Note: a good essay should provide examples of all three variations: confirmations, modifications, and contradictions. i. Sources 1. The file of assigned readings labeled “Mongol Documents” found in the “Readings” folder in Blackboard. 2. Any relevant information in the course textbook, Wiesner- Hanks, A History of World Societies. C. In what ways did people at the time of the Black Death explain what was happening (in other words, what did they think the causes and possible cures were)? Compare and contrast their views with some modern explanations. i. Sources: 1. A PDF file from Reilly, Worlds of History, Chapter 12, “The Black Death,” posted in Blackboard’s “Readings” folder. 2. Any relevant information in the course textbook, Wiesner- Hanks, A History of World Societies. It has a good section on the Black Death/Plague. D. Identify important ways relationships among Muslims, Christians, and Jews changed between 1000 and 1300, and offer a good variety of explanations for why these changes occurred. i. Sources: 1. A PDF file from Reilly, Worlds of History, Chapter 10, “Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Encounters,” posted in Blackboard’s “Readings” folder. 2. Any relevant information in the course textbook, Wiesner- Hanks, A History of World Societies. It has a good section on the Crusades. Continued…. 2 *********************************** GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Include a title page with the following information: A. Title B. Your Name C. Class Information [World Civilizations to 1600, Fall 2020, SUNY Schenectady] D. Professor’s Name: Dr. Dean Bennett E. Date F. A copy of the original question/prompt you are responding to from above 2. Insert (just the bold part) page numbers. 3. Your paper should be 1300-1600 words (that’s about 4-5 pages), and double- spaced (11 or 12-point font, double-spaced). Start your text at the very TOP of the page after the title page. A. Please include a Word Count at the end of your paper. The total words are from the body of your paper, not including the title page and footnotes. 4. Include an introductory paragraph in which you do the following: A. Establish the necessary basic information for the paper that follows. This includes the historical context (times and places under consideration). B. Introduce the problem. This is where you lay out the basic issues that the rest of the paper is going to resolve or explain. If your reader has no idea what the issues under consideration are, it is hard to judge whether the paper is accomplishing anything. C. At the end of your introduction, provide a clear thesis statement (this is your answer to the questions or problem—your argument). i. Caution: a thesis statement is NOT simply an announcement of the topic or restatement of the question to be addressed. ii. A thesis statement outlines your answer to the question or problem that has been raised. It contains new information not provided in the question, and typically gives some hint of the subsequent organization of your essay. It is a statement that can be proven with the evidence that you provide in your paper. 3 5. You should begin each paragraph in the body of the paper with a topic sentence that indicates the relationship of that paragraph to the thesis of your paper. Lazy (efficient?) readers rely on topic sentences to signal the importance and relevance of any part of your paper. 6. Transitions: Try to arrange smooth transitions from the end of your previous paragraph into the topic sentence of the next one. It is often helpful to include a linking word or concept in the last sentence of the paragraph that reappears in the next topic sentence. 7. Throughout the body of your paper, illustrate and support your general statements with specific, concrete examples. This includes accurate places, names, dates, events, etc. 8. SOURCES A. The sources listed in the topic prompt above (A PDF file plus the course textbook) should be enough. You do not need to do additional outside research for this essay (in fact, I discourage it). B. IF you nevertheless do choose to do outside research for this essay (even though I discourage it), then i. You risk not giving enough weight to the primary source material, and I will have to figure out how to penalize you. If, on the other hand, your outside research is clearly supplemental, and not the dominant part of your paper, that’s perfectly fine. ii. Any other sources—if you use them—should be high quality published scholarly books and/or articles (in print or online; you could find good articles in JSTOR, for example). 9. REFERENCING: DO NOT PLAGIARIZE! When you use any published material in any part of your paper—including course material and internet resources— whether you directly quote from a source or simply paraphrase it, you must A. Use footnotes at the end of the passage where you used the material i. If you don’t already know how to use footnotes, look at “How to Make and Use Footnotes,” posted in the “Resources” folder out class Blackboard sites “Content” area. ii. To reference material from one of our assigned class readings in a PDF file, Give the author (if known), brief title, and PDF file page number.1 1 Einhard, “Life of Charlemagne,” page 8. 4 iii. To reference the Wiesner-Hanks textbook, simply give author, book title, and page number. If you are using anything other than the 11th edition, give the edition number, too.2 iv. To reference chapters taken From Reilly, Worlds of History, follow this pattern: Document Author’s Name, “Document Title,” in Kevin Reilly, Worlds of History, page 2373 v. If you never figure out how to use footnotes, at least use short parenthetical referencing like you have done on the exercises. (Author, page #) and (Wiesner-Hanks, page #). B. If (and only if) you do outside research (see above, under “sources,” you must provide a bibliography or works cited page at the end of your essay indicating your additional source(s). Chicago is the normal style for History, but MLA or other referencing styles are acceptable. I don’t care what referencing style you use, as long as you are clear and consistent. C. Failure to reference your work could result in a ZERO on the assignment! D. Suggestion: while you prepare your notes for the paper, remember to jot down the page numbers so you don’t have to go back and find them later. 10. You are required to use include abundant relevant QUOTES from the primary source documents provided in the PDF file for your topic. Such quotes are a very effective way to provide supporting evidence for your general statements. A. Be careful to incorporate your quotes smoothly into your own sentences. For example, suppose you are trying to establish that a man was hungry, so you want to quote a sentence of his that reads, “I want to eat cake.” i. Wrong: The man seemed hungry. “I want to eat cake.” ii. Also wrong: The man seemed hungry because “I want to eat cake.” iii. Right: The man seemed hungry because he said he wanted “to eat cake.” iv. Also right: The man seemed hungry because he said, “I want to eat cake.” 2 Wiesner-Hanks, A History of World Societies, page 1141. 3 Patrice Lumumba, “Interview with Russian News Agency TASS,” in Reilly, Worlds of History, page 916. 5 v. Also right: The man seemed hungry because of what he said: “I want to eat cake.” [A colon is inserted when the preceding material is a complete and finished sentence. Use this sparingly, if at all] B. When including quotes, a footnote is usually not enough. You should make sure your reader has a good idea of where the quotes come from (in other words, its context). There is a right way and a wrong way to do this: i. Wrong: When I was reading the book, Perry, Sources of the Western Tradition, Chapter 10, section 1, the document “A Catholic Critic of the Church” expressed very harsh attitudes about the clergy. “They are so blessed by their selflove as to be fully persuaded that they themselves dwell in the third heaven.” (Perry, 327). ii. Right: In a satirical work entitled Praise of Folly (1509), Erasmus of Rotterdam—a famous Dutch humanist critic of the Church— disapprovingly observed that the clergy “are so blessed by their selflove as to be fully persuaded that they themselves dwell in the third heaven.”4 C. Any quote that extends over three lines should be presented in “block” format (indented and single-spaced): This is a very long quote…Slkdfjlskgaj asjkdkfjas lgkajdfkgja dlkfj ldj galdjla dkj aldkjv alfkjv alkjv alkjv alkj lakfj lafj oladk jla dkj aldkfj aldk jlad kfjbaodij aodijb aldkj aldkjnb ladkj boalidlkfjgqodij aodijbao ldkfjbaopd ifjbpoajd fpbajodpoajd baifj ksdjfksj dfksjd fksjdk jakjikajikja ijijija sfgia kjkjgksjfdg. D. When you use any other part of the PDF file chapter or course textbook (besides the text of the primary documents themselves), it’s usually best to PARAPHRASE. Keep direct quotes from these and any other secondary sources to a minimum. Note that the introductory material before each document in the PDF file chapter is NOT primary source material. 11. Avoid needless repetition. Don’t be redundant. (But remember, there is nothing wrong with frequently reminding your reader how your discussion answers the question and relates to the thesis statement). 4 Erasmus of Rotterdam, “A Catholic Critic of the Church,” in Perry, Sources of the Western Tradition, 423. 6 12. In a good essay, you should acknowledge and deal with evidence that may complicate or challenge your own conclusions. 13. End with a strong conclusion that convinces your reader that you have carefully considered many sides of the question and that your thesis statement is still thoroughly justified. 14. Writing style and tone matter. Choose words carefully, and maintain a detached, scholarly attitude. 15. Use correct English grammar and punctuation. It’s a good idea to read your drafts out loud to make sure everything sounds right and makes sense. Here are some especially common trouble areas: A. Commas i. Wrong: Because I wanted to eat my mother made me some stew. ii. Right: Because I wanted to eat, my mother made me some stew. B. Sentence Fragments/Incomplete Sentences [lacking a main subject or main verb, or both] i. Wrong: On the other side of river, where boats had been docking to release the prisoners. ii. Right: On the other side of the river, where boats had been docking to release the prisoners, the villagers heard a loud explosion. C. Capitalization i. Wrong: I instinctively capitalize random Important Words. ii. Right: I do not capitalize random important words. D. Tense: The usual practice in history-writing is to use the past-tense (unlike in writing about literature, which often uses the present-tense). 7
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