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Guidelines for Assignment I


The assignment: is a 1200-1500 word academic essay. In this
assignment you will choose and frame your own question based on
the topics covered in the syllabus. In order to write this assignment
you have to use suggested readings on the syllabus. All of them
are available in the University library.
The purpose of this assignment:
is push you to respond
individually to the materials by encouraging you to come up with
you own questions; think about the readings; reflect on discussions
of the readings; help you develop your analytical writing, and to
explore new ideas and approaches.
The structure of the assignment: The submission of the
assignment is staggered: you first sumbit the research question
that you will choose and formulate; then you submit the first draft
followed by the final draft. At each stage you will be assisted by
your instructors to develop and write your assignment. You will also
be attending cumpulsory writing worshops to help you with each
stage of writing.
Due dates for sumission: to be strictly observed. Failure to
submit on time will affect your grade.
Feb 13, 5pm: Have to decide on a question by this date. Sumbit it
to your TAs.
March 13, 5pm: First Draft. To be sumbitted to your TAs.
March 27, 5pm: Final Draft
Writing Workshops Schedule: the timing will be announced. The
workshops are mandatory. Attendance at the workshop will count
towards your course grade.
Feb 17-18 Pre-writing Workshop
March 16 Writing Workshop
March 18 Post-Writing Workshop
How to do the assignment:
Step1: Choosing the question: The essay that you are writing is the
answer to the question that you will choose and frame. Start with
looking over the syllabus and finding a topic that interests you. Go

to the library and look up the suggested bibliography on that topic.


Flip through a few books to see what kind of question you would
like to explore.
Step 2: Formulating the question: Take care to frame an analytical
question and NOT a descriptive question. The difference between
the two is:
Example 1:
Analytical question: What kind of role did enviornment play in the
decline of Harrapan Civilization?
Descritive question: Why did Harappan Civilization decline?
Example 2:
Analytical Question: Did the Beatles owe their fame to their youth?
Descriptive Question: How did the Beatles become famous?
Step 3: Researching the question: Go back to the library and
research the theme and the question. The First Writing workshop
will help you with researching your essay.
Step 4: Formulating the thesis: The thesis is the answer to your
question. For instance, if you choose to do the question Did the
Beatles owe their fame to their youth?, one of the possible thesis
could be Yes, the Beatles owed their fame to their youth but also to
the power of their songs, their relevance to politics of 1960s and to
their media managers.
Step 5: Writing the essay: The essay comprises of an introduction,
body paragraphs and a conclusion. The second writing workshop
will you sturcture your essay.
General aspects of Grading:
When grading written assignments, we are looking for quality of
analysis as well as mastery of content and form. That is, the
finished product should be original, well-argued, display a
knowledge of the readings, and be well-organized, clearly written,
and grammatical.
Criteria for Evaluation:
Thesis: The thesis must articulate a clear, original answer to a
question. The thesis must appear in the first paragraph, and must

do more than just restate information from the readings. We are


not checking up to see if the student has done the reading; instead,
we need to see that they have thought about the readings and
applied them to what they have written.
Organization: the structure of the paper must be analytical, not
narrative (it cannot simply summarize the readings and lectures).
The BULK OF THE PAPER must demonstrate, using specific
quotations and details/evidence from the readings, why she thinks
what she thinks.
Evidence: for each point the essay makes, it should show the
reader why it says that by offering specific quotations, details, or
examples from the readings. Remember this is a History
assignment and the Historian is bound to the traces of the past.
Style: essay should be written clearly and elegantly, should avoid
basic errors, should use active rather than passive verbs, and must
footnote all quotations from the readings. Note that essays must
use footnotes or endnotes, not parenthetical citations.
What do grades mean?
A paper that advances a clear specific thesis, is well organized,
backs up points with suitable evidence, keeps mechanical errors to
a minimum, and does its footnotes correctly is a good, solid B.
A paper that almost does so is a B-.
A paper that is satisfactory, but is missing something significant is a
C range paper.
An unsatisfactory paper that made an effort is a D.
A paper that does an outstanding job in each of these criteria or
goes beyond them is a B+ or A range paper.
Academic Honesty and Plagiarism
Reiterate that academic honesty does not consist simply in the
avoidance of outright cheating on exams, but more generally
represents a set of standards all of us must follow in our academic
work in order to protect the integrity and effectiveness of that
work, and to preserve the ideals and essence of teaching, learning,
and research. This implies, for instance, never submitting as our
own scholarly work which we have not personally produced in its
entirety, not collaborating with others on assignments and projects
that are not specifically designed as collaborative efforts, and

learning how to acknowledge properly all sources we may use in


our written work.
The latter includes not only proper
documentation style for direct citations, but also references when
we paraphrase sources and acknowledgements when we employ or
develop ideas we have found in the work of others. These practices
apply to sources of any type, from books to newspapers, from
lectures to materials available on the Internet, and so on.