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Term Paper Topics 16th Waves 2011 September

This semester students are to write a term paper (50 %) [remainder : 10 % for quiz scores, 40 % presentations & discussion, no term tests.]

Papers this semester are to fit into the NHD competition (National History Day, U.S.).
Topic for 2012 : Revolution, Reaction, Reform.
Contributions can be in the form of research papers or websites.

Revolutions have already occurred in the Middle Ages, for instance the revolution led by Cola di Rienzo in Rome 1347. During the 17th and 18th century, the word "revolution" was commonly used in historical works, referring to significant political change, as in the case of the English Glorious Revolution of 1688.
The French Revolution of 1789-1795 had such a lasting impact on collective memory that in modern history events referred to as (political) revolutions are measured by it. The 19th century saw numerous such revolutions, most notably in 1830 and 1848. The end of World War I brought another series of revolutions 1917-1920.
Modern historians, especially in the United States, are fond of using the word revolution when coining terms describing drastic change : Industrial, Agricultural, Diplomatic Revolution etc.

For the selection of an appropriate topic, the following criteria are recommended for consideration :

(1) Focus. For example, on the French Revolution of 1789-1799 a huge number of books, articles etc. have been published. any general paper on the topic will likely become superficial, or the student in charge will fail to find his way through an immense jungle of available literature.
However, if a student would select a specific aspect of the French Revolution of 1789, be it a location, institution, population group etc., it will be easier to sort out irrelevant literature and thus reduce the amount of paper to work himself through, and at the same time make it easier to arrive at a thesis.

(2) Sources. Students should be aware of the fact that modern school textbooks, modern encyclopedias and modern scholarly papers are written from hindsight perspective. The French Revolution has changed the world in an irreversible manner, and we take many of these changes for granted.
On the other hand, primary sources written at the time the events happened will show very different individual or group perspectives. Therefore the bibliography should be divided into sources written from hindsight and sources contemporary to the events; these latter ones are of significant importance.
This being European History Class brings with it a difficulty - many primary sources will be available in languages other than English. Students are recommended to look for :
Editions containing English translations of primary sources on this or that revolution
Contemporary English language encyclopedia articles
Contemporary non-English language encyclopedia articles
Newspaper article databases (NYT, Times of London)
For very recent revolutions : newsreels (British Pathe)
Secondary sources : Encyclopedia of 1848 revolutions

(3) The term "revolution" may apply to an event not commonly labelled revolution.
As the overriding topic includes reaction and reform, it is tempting to include failed or incomplete revolutions into the list of prospective topics.

(4) Short texts in European languages other than English, such as Encyclopedia articles, are manageable, as translation engines provide a rough translation, not meeting standards for a printed edition, but in most cases providing an understanding what this is about, as well as which terms require thorough translation.

The choice of a particular topic is the task of an individual student; it has to be registered with the teacher; every topic only once.

Students shall participate in the Korea National History Day competition early in February 2012. Winners may proceed, if they want, to the next stage in Shanghai in March and perhaps then on to Washington D.C. in June.

Deadlines :

Sept.3 : Topic must be selected
Sept. 17 : provide a list of sources in annotated bibliographic form
Oct. 8 : initial thesis, ToC, updated bibliography, list of images, maps, quotes
Oct.29 : revised thesis, support sentences, updated bibliography, list of images, quotes
Nov.8 : rough draft
Nov.22 : final draft

Registered Topics :

SSH : Luddite Movement
LSH : Chartism
KHR : Renaissance
LHJ : Glorious Revolution
LEJ : Photography
KNR : Film
CYJ : From Spice Trade to Global Trade Network
HIC : Agricultural Revolution
Chairman : Gunpowder
Samurina : Paper Money
Assassin : Gregorian Calendar
YSI : Introduction of the Potato
Ventris : Horse Riding
Kojak : Hungary 1956
Cartesius : Dynamite

         May 15th 2011          Alexander Ganse

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