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HIST 371: Problems in American History: 1865 to Present

This guide is intended to help students enrolled in History 371 locate research resources (books and articles) that meet their course assignment criteria.

Your Historiographical Essay Assignment

Historiographic Essay:  Each student will write an eight to ten-page, typed, double-spaced, historiographic essay dealing with a relevant topic in United States history (1865-2000) chosen from the list of topics provided by the professor. Students will be allowed time to work on their essays and to consult with writing tutors (as needed) and with the professor by appointment.  
This is an exercise designed to acquaint you with the state of historical scholarship on a specific topic of interest in American History (1865-2000).  A minimum of six scholarly historical sources—peer-reviewed historical journal articles and/or book-length monographs written by historians only—are required, along with a properly formatted bibliography attached.  Instructions are provided in class and in handouts.  
The first task for this historiographic essay is to select an issue, problem, topic, or event that you can relate to intellectually from the list of approved topics provided by the instructor (see attached list).      
The next step is to conduct a thorough investigation of the historical scholarship (scholarly books and articles written by historians) available on this topic from the library and through electronic resources.  You must figure out how scholarly books and essays (written by historians) treat the subject and how well they do the job.  An easy way to approach each book or essay is to think about its thesis, scope of coverage, originality, and usefulness to you as a student.  Does it tell you what you want to know?  What questions are left unanswered?  What sources are employed?  And how do the books and essays compare to or contrast with each other as sources of scholarly, historical insight?
In writing your essay, you must follow the style and guidelines presented in Kate Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 8th edition (for history majors), or in the MLA Handbook, 8th edition (for Upper Division GE students), both of which are available in the bookstore and the UniversityLibrary. 

What is Historiography?

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