Europe History

Europe History

Write an original 2000 word essay that presents the findings of your research on a topic of your creation that falls within the period of study for History 221 (roughly 1350-1789).

The Essay’s Approach
Your essay is expected to have a sharply focused, limited topic that lends itself to analysis.  Description of the evidence is very important to any history paper, but the description must not be an end in itself; it must serve the analysis.

One method of achieving analysis is to have the essay revolve around a single question.  Perhaps devise a working topic using a helpful phrase like, “Why did…?” “What was the role of…?”  “What was the effect of…?”  “What caused…?” “For what reasons did…?”  This question can also be an effective guide in the conduct of your research.  The question should be clear and narrowly focused.  Over the course of your research, it is possible that your question will be refined somewhat.  This “new” version of your question can become the core of what your essay seeks to explore.

Here are a few examples of questions one might devise as essay topics:
For what reasons did the Catholic Church excommunicate Martin Luther?
What role did European conquest of the Americas play in the “price revolution”?
For what reasons did serfdom expand in Eastern Europe?
What was the role of merchant women in the family in the Renaissance?
What was the social (or political) impact of the Thirty Years’ War?
Analyse the status of Dutch artists during the Netherlands’ “Golden Age.”

Some More Essay Ideas
•       Political, Social, Military, Cultural, Intellectual, Environmental, Gender, Technological, Biographical or Material History–to name a few–are all fair game!
•       An “Historiographical” topic is viable; here you would directly investigate the way(s) in which an historian or historians has/have interpreted the past.
•       The McKay textbook is a rich source of individual topics.
•       Think about what you genuinely want to know about this period.  This can lead you into the position of truly being a “researcher”–one who is seeking to “find out.”

The fact that this is an online course in no way excuses you from engaging in excellent research.  You must do whatever necessary, to access your resources.  If this means a trip to the VIU or other library, an Interlibrary Loan request, or reading an electronic book, then that is what you need to do.

You are expected to engage in excellent research, considering books, articles, and (where relevant) primary sources that are scholarly, specialized, and relevant.  None of the following constitute an appropriate major source for this academic essay: an encyclopedia, the course textbook, instructor’s lectures, (many) internet sites.  I do not set a quota on how many or what type of sources you should use for the essay.  Research requires judgment about the quality and quantity of your sources; cultivating that judgment is part of the process of learning how to produce an effective research essay.

Criteria for the Submitted Essay: Read Carefully
1.    Essay style must follow The Chicago Manual of Style’s Documentary Note/Humanities style (see “Research Essay Documentation” in the “Assignments and Examination: Instructions” Course Module).
2.  Tables of contents and outlines are not required.  Do not divide the paper with topic headings.
3.    Think of an interesting, but informative, title.
4.    Footnotes may appear at the bottom of each page, or as endnotes on a separate sheet(s) of paper immediately following the body of the essay.
5.    A “Bibliography” is required.  This is a list of all works consulted.
6.    Make a copy of the essay (whether electronic, hard, or both), to insure against loss.
7.    Essay assignments are to be submitted to the course Dropbox.
8.    All submissions to Dropbox must be in .DOC or .DOCX format. All components of the essay (title page, body, references) must be contained in a single file/document.
9.    Late essays will not be accepted.  The professor will consider extensions for very exceptional circumstances.
10. Problems with computing will not warrant extensions.
11. Do not submit work that is not paginated or is mis-paginated.

Grading Criteria for the Essay
presentation ( neatness, correct format)
documentation  (bibliography and notes)
style (grammar, spelling, organization…)
content (ideas, originality)
research quality