Interrogate a group of primary sources, reflect on their value, and to generate research questions.

Eugenics

Eugenics Primary Description and Aims:

This assignment is designed to have you interrogate a group of primary sources, reflect on their value, and to generate research questions. It is a skill that one needs to be successful in senior-level history classes and one that will be useful in many future career paths. You essentially are taking a large body of information and thinking carefully about what it can and cannot tell you about the world, and how you might use it to make sense of the past. Unlike many prompts you’re assigned in history classes, rather than have you focus on one or a few sources, this essay will require you to browse a large number of sources that span multiple types and years. You should not read every word of the sources available, but rather scan the content in order to generate some sense of North Carolina eugenics and locate places in which one could begin to do more research. Remember, one should start with analyzing primary sources to generate questions and thesis statements rather than starting with assumptions and finding primary sources that support your thesis.

Assignment:

What types of sources are present in this digital archive?

What are the broad similarities/differences between these sources?

What type of history could one write from these sources?

Consider the time periods it covers, what perspectives/voices it would privilege, and who/what it would it leave out. Given what you have now read about eugenics, from both the secondary sources assigned and the primary ones you’ve encountered here, generate a central question that could be used for further research and discuss what other sources you would ideally need to use to carry out the project.

Remember, a good historical research question is not about uncovering a fact, it’s about providing an explanation to a why question (or maybe a “how” question depending on how you construct it).

Requirements:

It should be 750-1000 words (~3-4 double-spaced pages). Try and weave the questions into a coherent paper, though you can even answer the questions individually if helps. Your writing should be thoughtful, reasoned, and clear. In other words, using first person is perfectly acceptable, but stay away from informal slang and meaningless hyperbole (e.g. “it was the most eye-opening reading of my life, idk how I’ll ever look at the world the same again.”). Use Chicago Manual of Style and footnotes for your citations.

The post Interrogate a group of primary sources, reflect on their value, and to generate research questions. appeared first on Essay Lane.

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