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A historical thesis is kind of like a thesis for an English paper. It is a statement or
sentence that you need to prove. You prove a thesis by presenting a brief
argument and some evidence.
That evidence comes from the resources we have for this class. We want to use
primary sources (writings or artworks created at the time we’re studying)
whenever possible to support our theses.
In this online class, we will be developing historical theses for both tests
and discussion about our sources. You'll write a lot in this class, but
you won't write any papers. All the writing is in discussion forums and in
your essays on the quizzes and final exam.
There is no research paper, because we're doing research all the time, finding new
sources or working together, instead of saving up for a big individual project.
Photo credit: acordova on Flickr
In discussion forums, you'll post good primary sources that you find
yourself. Then, later in the week, you will choose a few of these sources
and pull them together to support a statement about them. Doing this
helps us practice creating a historical thesis.
Ho w was sentimentalism an
influence in 1 8 th century
Euro pean culture? Answer
with a thesis. Suppo rt this
thesis with three sho rt
paragraphs, each based o n
o ne primary so urce fro m
yo ur do cuments wo rkbo ok
o r the discussio n fo rums.
On quizzes, the answer to every essay
question will be a thesis, supported by some
evidence. For example, a test question
might be something like:
Photo credit Rose_Zhang at Flickr
Sentimentalism influenced 18th
century European novels, plays
and social relations.
Your answer might begin:
Each of these points
becomes a paragraph, and
each will mention one of the
primary sources to support it.
In this way, you always have an answer, and it is always supported by something
everyone has seen or read. A "wrong" answer is one that has no evidence.
The 17th century was a
golden age for the
Martians controlled their
A "bad" answer, one gets an F, is an answer that is plagiarized. It is copied from
another source, without citing or referencing the original creator.
Don't worry about how "good" your thesis is at first. It's a bit unnerving to post your
work, get to know each other, absorb the facts, get used to the online format. But
this introduction should at least let you know what I have in mind for your work,
and mine, in this class.
By the end of the class, writing a thesis will be quick and easy, which will help you in
all your classes, not just this one. At the same time, you'll gain understanding of
historical patterns over time, because you'll be creating your own historical
narrative as you work in this class. So let's get started!
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