Final Essays (Spring 2011)
Final Exam Essays Due at Time of In-Class Final
(Wednesday, May 11th, 10am or 1pm)
Both of these essays are required. This is not a choice.
15% of the course grade
Extra credit is optional, and must be separate. You may do both extra credit assignments, if you wish.
- Based on the evidence of The Sunflower, book one, both Wiesenthal’s experiences and the German testimony he relates, why did the Holocaust of the Jews happen in WWII? Look for both stated reasons (words like “We did this because…”) and incidents or statements that aren’t intended to explain things but nonetheless give you clues to the behavior and beliefs of the people involved. For the purposes of this essay, assume that Wiesenthal’s account of the words and actions of the Germans in the story are reliable and representative.
- Extra credit (separate, maximum one page): explain why the words and actions of the Germans in the story might not be reliable or representative and, if that’s the case, what historical value they have.
- Based on at least four of the readings for the document assignments — de Busbecq’s Turkish Letters, the English Bill of Rights, the French Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen, the Meiji Constitution of Japan and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights — describe how ideas about the relationship between people and their governments have changed over the last 500 years. Each of these documents describes a kind or idea of government: what is the role of the people in that government? What are the rights of people (and different classes of people may have had different rights) and what, if any, role do they have in government?
- Extra credit (separate, maximum one page): For each document explain whether the government described is typical of the period in which it was written, or unusual, and why.
Both Essays are due in class at beginning of in-class final
There will be no extensions or late papers accepted
except in cases of documented medical emergency.
Emailed files will only be accepted as proof of completion;
printed essays must be delivered no later than 4pm Thursday,
and must be identical to the emailed files.
Instructions and Guidance
- This is a take-home assignment, so I am expecting two real essays, with introductions, thesis statements, paragraphs, conclusions, etc.
o Don’t assume that “an answer” will be easily found in one section of one book. These essays require careful reading, analytical thinking, and integration of textbook and supplemental materials.
o Be concrete: evidence is always more convincing than generalization or simple logic. In fact, it’s the entire point of the assignment: using evidence to generate an answer to a real historical question.
o Don’t summarize the reading materials: describe or quote the evidence you need to answer the question, with proper citations so your reader can find your source, but don’t waste your time and your reader’s by repeating easy-to-find and irrelevant material.
- You may think of it as two essays each worth about 7.5% of your course grade; that’s certainly how I calculate it.
o The grade is based primarily on the strength of your argument as an answer to the question: thesis, evidence (completeness and handling), logic.
o Polished prose is not required, but basic courtesies like correct spelling and writing in grammatical standard English will be expected.
o Clarity is crucial; structure is essential to a clear and effective argument.
- Citations and Plagiarism
o failure to acknowledge the source of your ideas or information is unacceptable. Plagiarism will result in no credit for the exam. Poor paraphrasing and poor citation will be penalized.
o A Works Cited or Bibliography page is not required unless you use sources outside of the course readings and lectures. You must cite the source of information and ideas that are outside of “general knowledge,” including information from your course texts. Format of the notes is up to you: I prefer footnotes for my research, but parenthetical citations are fine as well; any format will be fine as long as it is used consistently and it clearly identifies the source and page of your information.
o These questions can be answered more than adequately with reference to assigned readings and lectures. You are welcome to do more research and include outside sources if necessary, but you must be sure that they are relevant and of sufficient quality to enhance your argument. Using outside sources instead of course materials will result in penalties.
- Technical Details
o Make sure that your name, section, e-mail address and the question are clearly indicated at the beginning of each essay, and that each essay begins on a fresh page. Title pages are not required.
o There is neither a minimum nor a maximum length for these essays, but I would be surprised if you could answer either of them in less than 1000 words or needed more than 2500. That’s for each essay, by the way, not total.
o Double-spacing and title pages are not required, but readable type and font are.
o Both Essays are due in class at the time of the Final Exam. There will be no extensions or late papers accepted except in cases of documented medical emergency. Emailed files will only be accepted as proof of completion; printed essays must be delivered no later than 4pm Thursday, and must be identical to the emailed files.