HSRU-1000 DEVELOPMENT OF THE WEST: Final Essay Handout                                                     Fall 2005

Instructor: Tomas Zahora      

           

Write an essay that will trace the development, within the period of time under discussion, of an issue/point of view/political or social or intellectual problem or question that you find intriguing or particularly relevant. Begin by selecting a theme from one or more of the assigned primary sources (for example, you can start by comparing  the vision of a society presented by Mill with that presented by Marx; or look at the treatment of women in Candide in light of what Virginia Woolf has to say in A Room of One’s Own).

 

Possible topics. Anything that has to do with the assigned readings, as long as it is based on the texts themselves and is interpreted in light of what we have done in class so far. You do not need to confine yourselves to obvious topics like Romanticism in Frankenstein or Enlightenment in Candide.

 

Essay abstract, annotated bibliography: Research the treatment of your subject by contemporaneous writers or modern historians, and build up a brief annotated bibliography consisting of at least six secondary sources. One out of six sources may be an internet website; the rest should consist of scholarly books and articles. Present your findings together with a paragraph-long abstract of your planned essay. Format of the annotated bibliography: Annotated bibliography is a list of books or articles with brief annotations that summarize their main arguments and contents. Historians tend to use the Chicago Manual of Style or Turabian’s handbook; if you are used to MLA or other formats, you can use those, as long as you are consistent. Example of an entry:

 

Johnson, Eleanor, and Michael Hollingbroke. Why Historians are Always Wrong: A Reinterpretation of Marx’s Historical Theory. Bloomington, Ind.: University of Indiana, 1995.

 

A radical interpretation of Marx’s view of history, which argues that Marx simplified Hegel’s historical model and adjusted it to fit his economic program. Johnson and Hollingbroke show examples of Marx’s skewing of data and omitting important segments of Hegel’s arguments. The book’s conclusion is that these omissions undermine his three-stage historical model and make the communist society of the future a highly improbable utopia.

 

Essay format. 7 pages, Double-spaced main text, single-spaced block quotations. 1’’ margins, 12-size font.

Needless to say, an essay should have a beginning, a body, and a conclusion, and should present an argument or thesis, for example “In Candide, Voltaire is presenting a negative evaluation of the Enlightenment, and prefigures the values of the Romantics,” or “Shelley’s Frankenstein, in its descriptions of the role of women, reflects an early-nineteenth-century middle class ideal of womanhood,” etc. Feel free to write about what you find interesting, but make sure you support your argument with enough references to the text itself. It might help to reread the book more than once, and mark passages relevant to your topic; then go back to those passages, reread them in their context, see what you can develop as far as a coherent essay is concerned, and use the quotations/text references/ to build up your argument. Try to paraphrase, instead of using full quotations, whenever you can express the meaning of a passage more economically in your own words. How many references do you need? Let us say at least three per page. Hopefully, you will be able to select the most relevant ones out of many possible choices, after having organized them and placed them in their proper context. Rather than counting references, pretend that the reader knows nothing about the book you are describing: try to convince your audience with strong, well thought-out statements that clearly establish what you are saying and where you are coming from.

 

 

Due Dates. The annotated bibliography, together with an abstract of your essay, will be due at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, 21 October. The ESSAY is due by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, 2 December. Please e-mail both assignments to tzahora@highstream.net