Length: 500-750 words
Purpose: To learn how to read a historical primary source
This assignment will require you to choose one of the primary sources (attachment below) and do the following:
Identification: Identify the source (who, what, where, when) and determine the author’s point of view
Historical Context: Place it the context of a broader historical event, trend, or issue (you don’t have to discuss them all. One or two will do.)
Historical Question: Pose a question that this source might be used to answer and explain how you would use the source to answer that question. Your question should draw a connection between the micro (your source as an individual case) and the macro (some larger historical development). By answering it, you should be able to tell your reader something that helps them better understand the time and place in which the source was written. Please avoid the following: (1) Counterfactual (what if…) questions, (2) Reading comprehension questions (what happened after x said …?) , (3) Moral-ethical questions (Is x a good person?) ( you can start the question with hoe was the relationship between the king and his nobles or Dukes as they are called? or somthing like that, and refer to it in the reading).
Limits of the Source: Discuss limits or problems of using this source. You might discuss the author’s background and biases or the kinds of sources he used. Also, consider things that the source cannot tell you.
In order to receive full credit for this assignment, you must include all of these points in your paper. To make sure that you do so, it might be helpful to divide the paper into four sections. Each of these points should receive equal space in the final draft.
A final note: Please do not include “parallels to today” sections in this paper. The purpose of the assignment is to learn how to read and use a historical source
Make sure to:
-Student offers background on the author and source based upon secondary sources as well as the in-text clues. Secondary sources the student may use without reservation include: background readings, class notes and summaries, secondary sources posted on Canvas, and any front matter attached to the primary source text. (Before using other sources, please consult with the professor, GA or UTF.) Student uses this information to offer insight into the original nature and purpose of the source and the author’s point of view.
-Student does both of the following: 1) Identify the broader historical context into which a source fits. (If there is more than one context, pick only one.) 2) Student picks a topic from that context that can be examined using the chosen source and explains why he/she chose that topic. (Topics include, but are not limited to: social class, religion, political organization, gender roles, international trade). In both parts of this section, the student makes direct references to the primary source to support their characterization of the context and their choice of topic.
-Student identifies at least two potential difficulties in using the source to answer his/her question; Student offers specific evidence from the source text to demonstrate these difficulties; student demonstrates a firm understanding of the historical period, the sources and the discipline of history writing through a discussion of authorial subjectivity, genres of sources and available information. ( very improtant)
-Student documents all of the material he/she takes from writings not his/her own by using properly-formated footnotes in an appropriate manner
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