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World History at




Words of the Wise (13th Waves, September 2008)

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(1)      Focus on Modern European History since 1400.
if you study "History of the City Wall", you find Wikipedia article "Defensive Wall". The author of that page does not know of your geographical restriction and time limitation; he may include information which is irrelevant to you. For this topic it may make use to begin a bit earlier (c.1000 A.D.), but intensive coverage of Ancient Greek and Romaqn city walls would break the scope of your paper.
Guideline : all information not related to your area and time period should normally be summarized in one introductory chapter.

(2)      To write history can be compared to tightrope walking. There may be a lot of information out there; using too little may be insufficient, using too much too. If you compare the History of the Cities in Southwestern Europe 1914-1990.
First task : come up with a reasonable selection of cities. Second task : answer the question. Do not try list everything you find, as then you will get stuck with a lot of details on a few cities and perhaps find yourself unable to cover the entire period given to you.
Hint : use information data easy to find and compare, such as demograhic data, which (3)

(3)      are online and easily accessible : www.populstat.info, which I mentioned in class; Mitchell, International Historical Statistics - population data for major European cities 1800, 1850, 1860, 1870 ... - 1980 (in my office)

(4)      History of Moscow 1400-1800
Do not organize chapters by Czar : Peter the Great, Elizabeth, Catherine the Great ... or by famous buildng constructed.
Your sources may often have been written as tour guides; they focus on what tourists can see and want to have explained. You have a different perspective. Do not become a servant of the books you find; use the information you find in a way that you are in control
(a) the demographic history of Moscow, (b) the social history of Moscow (small size capital where many boyars (nobles) and high church officials had their residence, later growing city which was home to factories and workers ..), (c) economic history of Moscow, (d) Moscow as a center of culture, (e) Moscow as a center of politics ...

(5)      A couple of examples how some of you quoted sources

(a) http://km.naver.com/list/view_detail.php?dir_id=70207&docid=32167871
(b) Tacitus Annals XV.38
(c) Lauring, Kåre, Byen brænder, pp.85-86
(d) aagdfjgfjkhlkhhf (google)

When to give a footnote or endnote :
(1) for direct quotes (must)
(2) for images, tables, maps, illistrations, graphs taken from somewhere (must)
(3) if you give very specific information which it is unlikely that you found in years of study (highly recommended)
(4) if you make a statement which is contradicting general belief (highly recommended)
(5) if you want to give your reader information about publications, where an author expresses an opinion contrasting with yours (recommended)
How do give reference in a foot-/endnote
Use short notes : author, year of publication, page (in case of books or printed essays); title of webpage
If you did not not use the source you refer to directly, but f you found it quoted somewhere
Tacitus Annals XV.38, quoted after Wikipedia Article ....
How to give reference in reference list :
Books - author, title, place of publication : publisher (edition, if not the first), year of publication
In case of reprints of really old books, add the year of first publication in brackets
In case of books in languages other than English : list title in the original language, then add translation of title in brackets
websites : example
Belgium, historical demographical data of the urban centers, from : Jan Lahmeyer, Population Statistics, http://www.populstat.info/Europe/belgiumt.htm, last revised on 2003-11-03
it is possible to list the date when the file first was created, when it was l;ast modified and when you looked into it. For term papers, the last date is not necessary as you looked into all websites you quoted in September 2008; when you begin to write on your doctoral thesis that will be important.
For encyclopaedic sources (Wikipedia, Britannica) authors are not important; the edition is very important. The Britannica 1911 edition is online, so is the Catholic Encyclopedia 1907-1914 edition, the Jewish Encyclopedia 1901-1906 edition, sources most of you chose not to use.

Separate notes and references. Specific page numbers normally do not belong into a reference list, but into notes. Write endnotes, easier to manage than footnotes.
Organize your paper so that you are in control, not the sources you find.
Learn to omit irrelevant information.








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