History essay


Objectives To meet the B-level objective, you must submit up to two analytical essays, each essay based on an article from a scholarly historical journal called The Journal of American History. Your analytical essays must be approximately 300 words in length (See the course syllabus for how that requirement may be reduced to one essay.) The articles must pertain to some aspect of United States history from 1877 to the present.

Required Structure for the Analytical Essay Here are the five elements that each one of your analytical essays must include.

(1) Heading: Give complete bibliographical citation (author, title, journal, volume, date, and inclusive page numbers. You must use articles from the four issues contained in Volume 100 of the Journal of American History. See the video I have emailed to you to learn how to use the Austin Community College Library’s electronic journal finder. Example: Sutton, Matthew Avery. “Was FDR the Antichrist? The Birth of Fundamentalist Antiliberalism in a Global Age.” Journal of American History, 98 (March 2012): 1052-74.

(2) Author’s purpose : Write a paragraph in which you state why the author wrote the article. (Was it primarily to inform [give facts], to interpret, to explore some new theory, or a combination of any or all of these? Was it to question an older interpretation and offer a new one? Was it to evaluate the writings of several historians about an event or movement? Was it to examine aspects of an event or movement not studied by other historians? Was it to tell a story never told before? Was it for some other purpose?)

(3) Summary of the article: State in about 100 words the points covered in the article (major facts, themes, interpretations, etc.)

(4) Relationship between the article and the textbook’s coverage of the subject:

(a) Indicate the textbook pages which deal with the same subject (or, if the subject was not specifically mentioned, which deal with the time period and/or larger related subject).

(b) If the article and textbook both deal with the subject, state how the facts and interpretations in the article relate to the facts and interpretations found in the text. Write no more than 100 words.

(5) Evaluation: In about 100 words evaluate the article you have read, using the following criteria

(a) Its interest to you

(b) Its usefulness to you in understanding that aspect of United States history covered by the article

(c) Your agreement or disagreement with the author’s major purpose, thesis, or interpretation(s). (For this section, be specific in your explanations.)

To access the “Journal Finder,” go to the ACC Library Web site. Looking at the box in the middle of the Library’s homepage, note the five tabs in yellow arranged horizontally across the bottom. The tab on the far left of the bottom line is labeled “Journal Finder.” Click on that tab. Next you’ll see a login page. Use your ACCeID to login to the “Journal Finder.” In the search box at the top of the “Journal Finder” page, type in a journal title (e.g., Journal of American History). Then hit “Search.” Scroll down the next page to the journal you’ve searched for. The Journal of American History is actually the first one listed. Beneath the journal title, you’ll see a relatively short list of databases that contain full-text issues of the journal. Click on the first one, called “Academic Search Complete” (the other ones work too, but I like this one best). Down the right side of the next page in Academic Search Complete, there’s a list of issues (by year) in hypertext. Click on one and you’ll get a drop-down list of each issue from that year (usually four issues per year). Pick one issue, and that takes you to a list of all the articles, book reviews, and other material in that issue. Then search for an article with a title that fits within the time-frame and subject matter of our course (United States history from 1877 to the present). Often, the databases like Academic Search Complete do not allow access to articles published in the most recent issues, so you may have to start looking at issues published from 2016 and earlier.

NOTE: You may only use articles for this assignment. You may not use book reviews, exhibition reviews, or other such items. It’s kind of hard to tell what’s what from the Academic Search Complete list (and the others too), like what’s an article or what’s a book review or something else. In general, you can go by length. Articles are usually 20-30 pages long. Book reviews are usually one page. If you’re not sure if something is an acceptable article, ask your professor for help. Watch the video on finding and using the ACC Library’s electronic “Journal Finder.”

Important: If you’re not sure if what you plan to read and analyze is an article or that the material is relevant to the subject and time period of this course, ask your professor for help.

– Format of Essays
Essays must be prepared and submitted in a Microsoft Word (or a Word-compatible) document. Organize your essays according to the five-point guidelines above. Of course, spelling, grammar, and syntax must be correct. If you follow those guidelines precisely, your essays will be accepted. If you do not follow those guidelines precisely, your essays will not be accepted. Be particularly careful about the bibliographical heading (#1 in the required structure). This must be done exactly like the example. Follow the guidelines in this document rather than something you’ve dug up somewhere else. Scholarly source references are done by rule. That’s why in higher education we refer to subject areas like history as “disciplines.” The study of subjects is governed by scientific rules of proof and validation, and learning those rules and how to follow them in preparing written assignments is part of what studying history in college is all about.

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