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IHSP Credits

Modern History Sourcebook:
The West: Enlightenment to Present
Term Paper & Annotated Bibliography

Paul Halsall

Fordham Rose Hill/HSRU 1000 /Spring 1998

The West: Enlightenment to Present

Term Paper & Annotated Bibliography

1. The Term Paper (6-8 pages) will be a serious attempt (i.e. an essay) to deal with a historical problem chosen by each student. On February 6 you must hand in brief statement of your topic. By March 6 you must have developed a well-chosen Annotated bibliography of six-eight items,   and by March 20 you must hand in a developed thesis statement and outline. The paper and revised annotated bibliography must be handed in on time, April 3. It must conform to a standard term paper style, preferably Turabian since this is a history class. See the Stylesheet on class web site. To use MLA style, see me first.

2. Choose one of the topics below. You may suggest another topic, if I approve it. Papers must relate to course content.preliminary reading, formulate the THESIS STATEMENT you intend to defend in your paper.

NOTE: A thesis statement (the word means "idea") is not a) a statement of the topic [e.g. "This paper is about Louis XIV and absolutism"], b) a statement of intention [e.g. I will look at the issue of Louis XIV and absolutism"], c) a statement of a blindingly obvious truth [e.g. "Louis XIV was a French king who advocated absolutism"]. Rather a thesis statement seeks to summarize in one or two sentences the argument you will make in your paper, e.g. "Louis XIV's policies advanced royal power at the expense of the nobility both by expanding the scope of state power and by giving over the administration to bourgeois state officials". Your paper would then consist of arguments to defend this thesis and to refute objections.

To summarize: you have a THESIS, the thesis is backed up by a number of ARGUMENTS, the arguments are supported by FACTS, the facts, especially important ones, are reinforced by CITATIONS AND NOTES.

4. Using the bibliographical resources of the Library, and the suggestions of your textbook, create a typed bibliography of at least eight items. At least two of these items must be from academic journals. Do not use newspaper, popular magazine, or encyclopedia articles.

5. Annotated Bibliography:

You must accompany your final paper an annotated bibliography. The aim is to construct a bibliography which would allow a person who knew nothing about your topic to gain a good grasp of it by reading the items you list. You should then include items about the general context of the topic as well as more narrowly focused texts.

There are innumerable books and article on all of the topics listed in the course outline. Your task is to chose the 6-8 books or articles most relevant to your subject. A good place to start looking are the bibliographies in your textbook. Each bibliographical item is to be accompanied by a two to three sentence annotation on its relevance to your chosen topic. Bibliographic items can include books, journal articles, and, for very recent subjects, magazine articles. At least two of your items must come from academic journals. Do not include items taken from newspapers or encyclopedias. Do not include collections of articles, although you may list and annotate individual articles. Citations must be in alphabetical order and follow standard MLA or Turabian style (you must specify which style at then end of the bibliography). Please note that you do not have to read thoroughly every book or article you list, you only have to understand what its point is. On the other hand don't try to pass off publisher's blurbs as annotations! Also note that to get the 8-10 most relevant books/articles you will have to look at more than that.

Here is a sample bibliographical citation and annotation:-

Eric J. Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism Since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality, (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1990).

Hobsbawm, writing from a moderate socialist perspective, discusses modulations in nationalist ideologies primarily in the 19th and 20th centuries. He suggests that neither `nations' or `nationalism' are stable concepts, but that necessarily nationalist ideologies present both as unchanging and unchangeable. The book, rather than delivering a narrative account of nationalism, is an inquiry into its meaning.


Absolutism: success or failure? (in France, or Austria, or Russia, or England, Cardinal Richelieu's Political Testament)

Trade and Empire in the early modern period (Spain, India, Chinese response to the West, W. Africa, Brazil)

Faith and reason during the Scientific Revolution Rousseau on (the family, property, "rights")

Origins of Nationalism (Herder, Rousseau, folklorism) Political Nationalism in (Italy, Czech lands, Ireland, Japan)

Industrialization and urbanism (poverty, disease, mass culture) Scientific politics? (social Darwinism, racism, imperialism)

Creativity of capitalism (railways, cartels, assembly lines) Marxism & gaining workers' power (Marx, Lenin, Bernstein)

Different liberalisms (feminism, gay rights, civil rights movement) Women's public power (suffragism, prohibitionism, Schafly)

The crisis of western culture (Freud and the Enlightenment, Dada, Wilfred Owen, industry and environment)

The nature of mass culture (French revolution festivals, modern newspapers, Hollywood & capitalism, suburbia)

Religious traditionalism and modernity (Marian Apparitions in 19C, Radical Shi'ism, John Paul II, Lubavitchism, fundamentalism)

Impact of the colonized on the colonizers (foodstuffs, cultural relativism, ideal of "noble savage", American Buddhism)

Resistance/accommodation to the West (Africa & Islam, Ho Chi Minh, national salvation fronts, Philippines, non-aligned mov't)

Collapsed dreams? (new soviet man, Capitalist economy since 1973, New World orders, Arab national unity, Zionism)

The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is located at the History Department of  Fordham University, New York. The Internet Medieval Sourcebook, and other medieval components of the project, are located at the Fordham University Center for Medieval Studies.The IHSP recognizes the contribution of Fordham University, the Fordham University History Department, and the Fordham Center for Medieval Studies in providing web space and server support for the project. The IHSP is a project independent of Fordham University.  Although the IHSP seeks to follow all applicable copyright law, Fordham University is not the institutional owner, and is not liable as the result of any legal action.

© Site Concept and Design: Paul Halsall created 26 Jan 1996: latest revision 6 October 2023 [CV]