Final Exam (Spring 2010)

Final Exam Essays Due at Time of In-Class Final

(9am: 5/12, 9am ; 2pm: 5/14, 2pm)

15% of the course grade

The take-home portion of the test will consist of two essays, equal in value, which you will choose from the following list:

  1. Compare and contrast either the American Declaration of Independence (with the US Constitution’s Bill of Rights) or the French Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Your job is not to declare one better, or newer, but to explain (using evidence from both the documents and the course text) how the meaning of the term ‘rights’ changes over time.
  2. Describe China’s role in global economic and political history over the last five hundred years. This is not a history of China, but a discussion of how China has interacted with and influenced other countries and regions.
  3. Did the Columbian Exchange and European immigration into the Americas benefit Native American populations in any way, or was the process entirely disastrous? Your answer must consider both sides of the question before coming to a conclusion.
  4. What were the three most important and influential ideas to come out of the Enlightenment? Note that the effects of these ideas can be positive or negative, and that you need to focus on the long-term influence of these ideas, not the history of the Enlightenment itself.
  5. Which is the more important factor in historical change over the last half millenium: religion or technology? Your answer must consider both sides of the question before coming to a conclusion.
  6. Write a history of agriculture from 1500 to present focusing on its economic role. This is not a general history of farming, but a specific analysis of the role of agriculture in the world economy. Issues to consider include: the percentage of farmers in the population; the flow of migration from rural regions; the Columbian Exchange; differences between regions of the world; changes in technology, fertilizers and crops; general lifestyle changes.

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.

This test covers the entire semester: textbooks, documents, and lectures.

  • This is a take-home assignment, so I am expecting two real essays, with introductions, thesis statements, paragraphs, conclusions, etc.
  • Don’t assume that “an answer” will be easily found in one section of one book. These essays require broad knowledge and analytical thinking.
  • Be concrete: evidence is always more convincing than generalization or simple logic.

You may think of it as two essays each worth about 7.5% of your course grade; that’s certainly how I calculate it.

  • The grade is based primarily on the strength of your argument as an answer to the question: thesis, evidence (completeness and handling), logic.
  • Polished prose is not required, but basic courtesies like correct spelling and writing in grammatical standard English will be expected.
  • Clarity is crucial; structure is essential to a clear and effective argument.

Citations and Plagiarism

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • 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.
  • There is neither a minimum nor a maximum length for these essays, but I would be surprised if you could answer any of them in less than 1000 words or needed more than 2500.
  • Double-spacing and title pages are not required, but readable type and font are.
  • 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.