Final Exam (Hist 102, Spring 2009)

Final Exam Essays Due at 11 AM on Friday, May 15th

20% of the course grade

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

  1. Describe the effects of the world slave trade on sub-Saharan Africa. (Don’t spend time talking about slavery in the Americas or elsewhere; focus on Africa).
  2. Did the Columbian Exchange benefit Native American populations in any way, or was it entirely disastrous?
  3. How did the Industrial Revolution affect Asia and Africa differently? Why?
  4. Pick one of the following rights and discuss the development, evolution and expansion of that right from 1500 to present: freedom of religion; freedom of speech; suffrage; privacy. In addition, discuss the limitations on rights, who grants rights and how they are protected, and the extent to which these rights are local versus global. You will want to take note of primary source readings in addition to the textbook.
  5. Pick one region of the world — Europe, Asia, or the Americas — and answer the question: How has the legal status and economic position of women changed over the last five hundred years? What are the most important turning points in women’s rights and family systems?
  6. 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.
  7. Write a history of agriculture from 1500 to present focusing on either its economic role or environmental impact. This is not a general history of farming, but a specific analysis of either the economic or environmental role of agriculture in the world. Issues to consider include: the place of agriculture in the overall economy and the share of farmers in the population; regional variations; changes in technology, fertilizers and crops; the Columbian Exchange; general lifestyle changes.

Both Essays are due in my office (RH 406F)
before 11 am on Friday, May 15th.

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.

o        This is a take-home essay examination, 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 broad knowledge and analytical thinking.

o        Be concrete: evidence is always more convincing than generalization or simple logic.

  • You may think of it as two essays each worth about one-tenth 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 any of them in less than 1000 words or needed more than 2500.

o        Double-spacing and title pages are not required, but readable type and font are.

o        Both Essays are due in my office (RH 406F) before 11 am on Friday, May 15th. 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 Friday, and must be identical to the emailed files.