Overview : The documents paper, which is the second longer-format assignment of this course, gives us opportunities to work with the building blocks that form history. By definition, primary sources are written documents and non-written objects created by persons living years ago, which can be used in order to reconstruct the past. Such items allow today’s readers and viewers to connect with the ideas, points of view, lifestyles and material conditions of earlier generations. Carefully utilized, primary sources ultimately give users clearer insights into human nature, the practices we do and the objects we use today. By noting differences and similarities, primary sources can help us to build an appreciation of diversity and to understand ourselves and our world better in the present time.
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Assignment goals : This assignment, weighted as 30% of your course grade, will look carefully at the primary document, a source written by a person of an earlier generation and originally intended (usually) for use by a contemporary.
This paper has the following objectives in mind:
· To unearth lifestyles and worldviews of people from the past, as seen in primary sources.
· To gain skills that can help us to explore documents for history courses.
· To see how a study of the past can help us to better understand ourselves today.
You will summarize a few aspects that you believe to be important from select documents. Furthermore, your analysis will involve comparing and contrasting selected aspects of these sources, as well as stating your overall personal opinion about these sources.
Instructions : Except for chapters 10 and 11 (which cover content solely or largely relevant to Hist. 110A), select any ONE other chapter (12-21) from Pollard, Concise Edition, Vol. 2, then prepare to cover some of the documents SOLELY from that chapter. (Because content in each chapter is grouped thematically, you will NOT be allowed to select documents from more than one chapter. Furthermore, extra credit is not available for this assignment.) After selecting a chapter, pick ANY THREE written primary sources from that chapter. All of the source material will be located at the end of your selected chapter. Written sources will be grouped under the heading, “Competing Perspectives.”
There are a few things you should do before examining the written sources. You will need to know what to look/read for in order to best tackle the written sources. First, read the introduction to each of the documents you selected. Written by Pollard and her co-authors, the document introduction will furnish much information: authorship, purpose of the document, societal conditions during the time the document was created, and more. Next, take a look at the criteria in “Handling primary documents,” at the end of this prompt.
Once you’ve prepped, plunge into the documents. In examining the sources the first time, keep your eyes open to anything that fascinates you. As this is different for each person, I will not give you a hard and fast rule about what is “fascinating.” What you SHOULD do is to jot down anything that YOU find to be important. The goal here is to select at least three items from each of your chosen written documents, nine points total that catch your eye and you believe to be important. (This is the same process as for the God’s Bits of Wood paper.) You may select up to five items you find to be noteworthy from each of the documents, but definitely no more than that. Please note: Since you are reading in order to discuss what interests you, NOT Pollard, you may ignore the “Questions for analysis” in the written sources section of Pollard.
You may need to examine each piece about three times. The first time, read it quickly for general impressions. Don’t be alarmed or frustrated by passages that you might find to be challenging to understand or by unfamiliar terminology. After the first run through, jot down any questions you may have about the piece. During the second reading, look for content that is clearer and more familiar. This could include a person’s livelihood, material possessions, religious or philosophical beliefs, ways of handling the natural environment, forms of conflict resolution, or anything else to which you can relate in some way. Be sure, as well, to look for terminology that is spelled similarly to words in present-day use. The third reading will involve digging deeper, trying to make sense of what’s not so clear and not as familiar. Use the third reading to answer any questions you raised at first about the piece.
Paper organization: Following an introduction of a few paragraphs, which will preview for the reader the content that you will cover, the completed assignment will consist of the following two sections: (1.) Summation of key aspects of your written sources, and (2.) Analysis of the written sources, followed by your personal views of this assignment. By analysis, I mean that you should compare and contrast the documents with one another. After this more traditional analysis, finish your paper with your overall thoughts on your experiences with the sources that you selected. For stylistic reasons and due to the nature of this assignment, you are encouraged to write with self-references (“I,” “we,” or “us”) throughout. Be sure to experiment to find the balance of summation and analysis that works best for you.
Here are the technical requirements for this assignment. Your paper should be (on average) about five pages long of text (notations lengthen the paper by one or two pages.), double-spaced, with twelve-point font and one-inch margins. Be sure to paginate (number each page), and write both the class designation and the section number on the front page (History 110B, and your section number). An optional title page will not be included in the total number of pages. (A five page paper is not a title page and four pages of content, for instance.) To indicate a new section, the title of a section should appear above the beginning of that section. Avoid large amounts of blank space between sections, as this is bad formatting! As with the God’s Bits of Wood term paper, endnotes are REQUIRED. (A bibliography is optional.) I am somewhat flexible as to the exact page count. But avoid extremes. It’s unlikely you will be able to do your best work if the prose in the final paper is under 4.5 pages in length. A paper that is less than four long pages will be too brief, but one of thirteen or more will need to be trimmed. Please contact me before the very last minute if you face any problems regarding this assignment.
Regarding endnotes: You will notice that Pollard has reproduced primary documents that were included in the books of other scholars. In order to streamline your endnotes for the Journal assignment, you will take a simpler, but style-book correct, way. At the beginning of the summation section of your paper, you will identify each of the primary sources that you used. You could write something like this: “In this section, I will be summarizing a few key points from Okuna, Fifty Years of New Japan and Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species.” By doing this, you are furnishing very clear identification of the sources you’re using, ones that were reproduced in Pollard, vol. 2. Identifying each source at the very beginning of the summation section, you will not be compelled to write complicated endnotes. (Important: this identification at the beginning of the summation section does NOT replace endnotes!)
Once you do this, you are now ready to include the endnotes in your paper. For the purposes of this assignment, your endnotes will take the form of one author and one book (the same format as for the God’s Bits of Wood paper). The first note must be written in the long-format citation and second and subsequent ones done in short-format citation.
Long-format: Elizabeth Pollard and others, Worlds Together Worlds Apart, Concise Edition, Vol. 2 (New York and London: W.W. Norton, 2015), __. [Underscored is where the page number goes.
Short-format: Pollard, Worlds Together, Vol. 2, __. [The volume number is essential. Vol. 1 is for 110A courses.]
For more information, please refer to “Endnote formatting 110B sections S17,” found in the Course Guides folder.
Due date : Please turn in your paper NO LATER THAN Tuesday, April 18 by 6 p.m. Late penalties apply after this.
HANDLING PRIMARY SOURCES:
There are several things to keep in mind (but not to write about) when examining and assessing a primary source. Pay the closest attention to the ones explained here in depth.
Types of source :
· A law, constitution, pamphlet, treaty, city council proceedings (all for political history).
· Court transcript, judicial ruling, police report, parole officer report (all for legal history).
· Map, soldier diary, strategic and tactical plans, training manual, weaponry, uniform (all for military history).
· Business ledger, contract, tax filing, will, foreclosure records, patent applications, placards (all for economic history).
· Lyrics [especially from protest songs], laws, college catalogues [for curriculum and types of students], biographies, letters, contemporary new reports [from television, radio or newspapers], pamphlets, posters (all for social history).
· Novel, dance, music, visual art, costume, religious tract, oral traditions, key religious work, training manual for new converts (all for cultural history).
· Human/animal remains; building ruins; slag; tools/weapons; pottery (archaeology)
· Any of the above (for environmental history)
Determine the category of history to which the source is relevant. Political (constitutional, legal, diplomatic, electoral, criminal-judicial); military; economic (agricultural, trade, fiscal, transportation, labor, manufacturing); technological; social (migration, gender, ethnicity, LGBT); cultural (artistic, religious); environmental. Much of the time, a source will have relevance to at least two types of history.
Other factors: authorship of source; bias/perspective; purpose for which the source was created; credibility of the source.