Historiography Paper #2 final (10 pages; Weeks 9-14 plus 5 additional academic sources): Write a 10-page paper (about 2,500 words) that analyzes the scholarship presented in the Weeks 9-14 plus an additional selection of 5 academic sources (academic journals and/or monographs) of your choice. Be sure these additional sources are peer-reviewed academic journals (usually about 20 pages in length, found in our library databases such as JSTOR, ProjectMUSE, or EBSCO Host) or monograph books published by an academic press. As in Paper #1, please do not give a narrative summary of what you have read and discussed. Instead, address each author’s argument, the evidence they use to support their respective arguments, and the strengths and weaknesses of their approaches to U.S. Cold War history. In your analysis of these strengths and weaknesses, compare and contrast the scholarship with probing questions such as: what does each author contribute to our understanding of the Cold War? Do any of them contradict each other? What theoretical approaches do they take to their subject? What methods do they use to analyze the evidence? Exploring these questions will help you deepen your analysis and find points of connection and contradiction amongst the works. Include a thesis and supporting evidence (short quotes or paraphrases from the readings, for example). Be sure to specifically mention each author, the book/article title, and the date of publication.
Historiography is the study of changes in the methods, interpretations, and conclusions of historians over time. Putting the historian in the context of ideas and events current in his/her day is one way to explain why one historian’s interpretation may differ from another’s. Assessing the primary sources – and how they are used – is another way to grapple with competing interpretations of the same subject. Deconstructing the ideological assumptions or theories a historian brings into his/her interpretation is yet a third way to explore the historiography of a subject. Consider the following historiographical questions when engaging in class discussion and writing your papers:
1. How has the historian defined the subject/problem?
2. What is the historian’s argument and how does it compare to that advanced by other historians?
3. What philosophical/political assumptions or theories does the historian bring to his/her subject? How do these assumptions affect the conclusions?
4. What primary sources does the historian use? What methods are employed to interpret these sources?
5. What are the similarities and differences between the findings of different scholars? How do you account for these similarities or differences?
6. What important aspects of the problem have not been examined? Why not?
Writing a Historiographical Paper: There are several ways to organize a historiography paper.
1) When focused on a specific topic, it may be helpful to analyze the scholarship chronologically. Begin with the work that was published earliest and end with the one published most recently. Discuss the ways in which later scholars rely upon or reject the work of their predecessors, and explain why.
2) Another organizational scheme is to focus on the impact of different methodologies. You can group together the scholars who use various kinds of sources or various methods of analysis or philosophies and theories. Then discuss the differences between the groups you have set up.
3) Another possibility is exploring the reasons for all the variations you have found in the scholarship. Are the authors you have read addressing different questions? Using different sources? Do they start from different philosophical positions?
Thesis for a Historiographical Paper: Every paper has a thesis, even a historiography paper. Identify a common thread or main idea that connects your discussion of the various scholars. Make your thesis clear in your introductory paragraph and in your paper’s title. (You do not need a separate title page).
Helpful Checklist for Historiography Papers:
1. Do you have a topic and thesis appropriate to a historiographical paper?
2. Does your thesis reflect some depth of analysis of the subject?
3. Do you discuss all required sources (monograph books & journal articles)?
4. Do you identify each author, title of his/her work, and date of publication?
5. Do you clearly address and analyze the arguments presented by the various scholars?
6. Do you make solid analytical connections between the arguments offered by the authors studied?
7. Do you make connections between the strengths and weaknesses of primary sources used by each scholar?
8. Does your paper reflect a good reading & understanding of the books and articles?
9. Is your paper well organized with paragraphs designed to support your historiographical analysis?
10. Is your evidence (examples, quotes etc.) explained and analyzed effectively?
11. Is your paper free of long, unexplained quotes?
12. Are your quotes, paraphrases or ideas taken from the readings properly documented with footnotes using Chicago Style? To make a footnote, go to “references” then click on “insert footnote.” You will automatically be taken to the footnote area to type in the citation, and the numbering will be done automatically as well. Use the mouse to get back to the body of your paper. Save your work after each footnote.
13. Is your paper free of grammatical, spelling and other mechanical problems?
14. Do you avoid first person “I” and informal contractions (don’t)?
15. Do you have a title for your paper (no cover sheet is needed)?
16. Does your paper meet the minimum page requirements and 12pt font/1inch margin standards?
THESE SPECIFIC BOOKS HAVE TO BE USED – along with 5 additional academic sources.
Michael W. Flamm and David Steigerwald, Debating the 1960s: Liberal, Conservative, & Radical Perspectives (2008)
Mary Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy (2000)
Ruth Rosen, The World Split Open: How the Modern Women’s Movement Changed America (2000)
B. Schulman, The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society, and Politics (2000)
John Prados, Safe for Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA (2006)
James Mann, The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan: A History of the End of the Cold War (2009).
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