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16.15: Course Project

  • Page ID
    264192
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    Project Assignment

    The Project is an open-format assignment. 

    You may propose any sort of project that has something to do with the course.   For example, you could:

    • write a paper
    • research a topic that interests you
    • visit a museum and describe your experience
    • present a slide show to the class

    I will review your proposal, and either approve it or suggest changes to it. I am looking for projects that further your understanding of the course and its topics, that use primary or secondary source material, and/or teach something to other students in the course. (I am not looking for dioramas, posters, or other cutesy craft projects. )

    Example projects are in the document below.

    To complete a project, you must submit a proposal to me for approval . 

    When your Project is complete, I will grade it based on the evidence you use, how you analyze it, how much effort was involved, and how much you seem to have learned.

    You should listen/review the documents “How to Read Primary Sources” and “History Writing Advice” on Blackboard.

    Project Objectives:

    The project is primarily designed to improve your analytic, critical thinking, and creative skills. It may also help you remember the historical narrative.

    Example Project: Paper

    Pick one of the PRIMARY SOURCES assigned this semester.  (This can be any primary source we have read or will read for this course, but you should pick one that is long enough for you to write a full essay about it.)

    Answer the question about it, following the procedure provided, and using quoted evidence from the source.  You may supplement your answer with evidence from other primary sources, or with information from our textbook. 

    Your essay must be type-written, double-spaced in a legible font and format, and at least 1250 words in length.  (This will be about 3-5 pages in most fonts). 

    Use only readings assigned for the course.  For long sources, use the translations provided and refer only to the sections assigned for the course.  You may not use outside sources.

    The essays should be based on your primary source, using secondary sources for background.  You may either quote or paraphrase your sources, but the reference must be cited.  You may use either parenthetical citations or footnotes to give the author.  Like this (author, page #) or this. You must also cite uses of secondary sources, such as the textbook and lecture. 

    You do not need to include a cover page or a works cited page.

    Essays must have a strong thesis in the first paragraph, answer the question correctly with reasoned argument, evidence an organized structure and be based on the primary source evidence.  Egregious grammatical and spelling errors will adversely affect the final grade.  A full rubric is in the syllabus. 

    Question: What does your chosen source demonstrate about the time period when it was produced? 

    In order to answer this question, you will probably want to do the following:

    Explain and analyze what you can determine about the author, the author’s point of view. 

    Explain and analyze what you can determine about document’s likely audience, and their point of view.

    Summarize and explain the author’s message.  What do they want to convince their audience to do or think?  How do they go about this?

    Explain and analyze what you can determine about the context in which the document was produced.

    Example Project:  Museum

    Visit a museum that has an exhibit relating to our course.  (For example, the VMFA.)  The exhibit must cover material from our geographic area and time period. 

    Write at least 750 words on your experience.  Explain how the objects you saw relate to societies or events we covered in the course.  If the objects were primary sources, consider:  How would historians use the objects in interpreting the past? (This option is most appropriate for art museums like the VMFA.)

    In order to answer this question, you will probably want to do the following:

    Explain and analyze what you can determine about the object’s creator and the creator’s point of view. 

    Explain and analyze what you can determine about object’s likely audience, and their point of view.

    Summarize and explain the object’s creator’s message.  What do they want to convince their audience to do or think?  How do they go about this?

    Explain and analyze what you can determine about the context in which the objects were produced.

    OR If the exhibit is a mostly modern presentation or reconstruction of the past, consider:  How does the exhibit reflect historian’s understandings of the past?  How is the exhibit interpreting the primary sources?  (This option is most appropriate for museums like the Jamestown living history village.)

    Example Project:  Film

    Pick a film or television show that depicts history from this course.  (You should ask me if the film is appropriately historical as part of your proposal.) 

    Write at least 750 words on the film.  Do some research.  Does the film depict the past adequately, in your opinion?  Consider how the film-maker depicted the past and what decisions he or she made.

    In order to answer this question, you will probably want to do the following:

    Explain and analyze what you can determine about the film’s creator and the film-maker’s point of view. 

    Explain and analyze what you can determine about film’s likely audience, and their point of view.

    Summarize and explain the film-makers’s message.  What do they want to convince their audience to do or think?  How do they go about this?

    Explain and analyze what you can determine about the context in which the objects were produced.

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