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PURPOSE The purpose of this assignment is to help you develop historical thinkin

by | Jun 24, 2021 | History | 0 comments


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The purpose of this assignment is to help you develop historical thinking and demonstrate that you are
able to think like a historian. Through this assignment you will be able to demonstrate that, when faced
with a text-based “primary source” from the past, you can place it into its wider historical and cultural
context, ask proper questions about the source and its author, think about how it fits into other evidence
about the past, and understand the importance of some of its details. In short: can you apply the four
historical reading skills of sourcing, contextualization, corroboration, and close reading to your evaluation
of historical texts?
You will read and evaluate a text-based “primary source” (from the list provided on the next page) using
the provided Historical Thinking Chart, carry out any necessary further reading/research, and provide a
1,000-word paper addressing the following items:
A) Source Summary: briefly summarize what your primary source is about, with specific reference to details in the
actual text. When and where was it written, who is the author, and what does the text seem to be about? You are
recommended to complete this section in no more than about 200 words. Your key source for this should be the
primary source text itself.
B) Source Analysis: using the provided Historical Thinking Chart as a guide, dive deeper into the source, specifically
addressing each of the four “historical reading skills” (sourcing, contextualization, corroboration, and close reading).
You are encouraged to clearly address each of these skills with named section headers or individual paragraphs with
topic sentences that include each skill by name. This should be the largest part of your paper and you must directly
address the details of your primary source with the specific skills laid out in the Historical Thinking Chart in both
depth and detail. Specific questions that you should think about and address in this section include:
What can you say about the source, its author, and message using only the source itself?
• What wider information is needed to more fully evaluate the source and the topic it discusses, and where/how could
you find that information?
• What do we know about the historical, cultural, and political context of when and where the author is writing, and how
is that context significant in understanding the source?
• If other information is available from other sources, what does it tell you and how does this affect our understanding
of your primary source?
• What are some of the specific details from the text itself and why do these details matter?
You will need to focus upon the specific primary source text that has been assigned and directly refer to details from
this text, but you will also need to identify, read, and refer to at least three relevant external sources. You are strongly
encouraged to use relevant assigned reading and to utilize the Hekman Library to identify relevant journal articles,
books, and ebooks. Further source recommendations will be provided on the course Moodle page but high scoring
papers will include references to quality sources that you have identified through your own research. The online
World History Encyclopedia ( is an acceptable website source for this assignment but
any other website must be pre-approved. You are recommended to complete this section in about 700 words.
C) Summary Evaluation: finally, drawing upon the summary and analysis provided in your paper, provide an overall
evaluation (including both insights and limitations) of this primary source as a guide to understanding the past. You
are recommended to complete this section in no more than about 100 words.
The paper will be double-spaced and fully referenced, citing AT LEAST THREE suitable external sources,
and following the examples and guidance provided in the Format and Citations for History Papers
Your assignment will be graded on the following criteria (weight indicated in parentheses):
a) Have you addressed the assigned topic as outlined above? (10% of assignment grade)
b) Is your summary of the primary source text accurate and sufficient? (20%)
c) Do you adequately address each of the four historical reading skills? (30%)
d) Are your examples, details, and/or supporting evidence accurate? (20%)
e) Have you followed instructions for word count, formatting, and source citation? (10%)
f) Have you used proper grammar/spelling and carefully proof-read the paper? (10%)

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