The Madness of John Brown

research project for “The Madness of John Brown”

ch 7 ” THe Madness of John Brown” from the text “After The Fact” by James West and Mark Hamilton Lytle.

Students will demonstrate their mastery of the course’s learning objectives by completing a two-part paper.

Part I–The first part requires demonstration of the ability to critique a piece of historical writing (note that critique means to apply critical analysis, not necessarily to be negative).

Students will select one the chapters in the text that is not included in one of the weekly assignments (i.e. choose from Chapters 5, 7, 10, 11, 15, or 16).
Students will write a four-to-five page narrative analysis that identifies the main historical questions raised by the authors in the selected chapter, discusses the sources and methodologies employed., and locates the chapter in the historiography of the topic (that is, how its focus fits in with other sources on the topic, as, for example, sketched in the suggestions for further reading). Any noticeable contemporary influences on the authors’ work should be noted, as should any ethical or professional issue raised by the chapter.

Part II—Students will demonstrate the ability to plan and organize, but not actually carry out historical research.

Students will identify a historical question raised by the chapter selected that would benefit from further investigation. (For example, this might include looking into Muckrakers not covered in the text chapter on them, or examining locally available material sources to see if they fit text interpretations of possible meaning.) DO NOT propose a topic in which you will simply be duplicating an investigation already fully described in the chosen text chapter.
Students will draft a four-to-five page research proposal that explains how the question might be best approached in terms of sources and methodology. The proposal should also make clear where the question proposed fits into the historiography of the subject and make clear what ethical or professional issues might be raised in conducting the research. The proposal must identify at least four primary and eight secondary sources relevant to the topic, putting them into the form of an annotated bibliography.
Students will develop an outline for a paper that would incorporate their research design.

The Final Paper should thus have the following overall organization:

Part I: 4-5 page Chapter Critique (narrative)
Part II: 4-5 page Research Proposal describing unresolved historical question plus an Annotated Bibliography of proposed sources. An annotated bibliography is one that, beyond listing sources, also includes a brief summary of the main contents of each source, plus an evaluation of its value to the proposed project.
An Outline (in addition to the Proposal) of the main topics intended for coverage in the proposed paper. Outline should be also include thesis, methodology, and relation to relevant historiography.


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