UCSB > History Dept. > Prof. Marcuse > Courses > Hist 133a > Book Essay Assignment

UCSB Hist 133A, Fall 2006 (133a homepage)
19th Century Germany, Oct. 14, 2006

Prof. Marcuse (homepage)

Hist 133a: Book Essay Assignment
(pdf for printing--2 pages [double-sided])

Proposal (with reviews), due Oct. 20, 2006

  1. What should I write about?
    • Think about Germany in the 19th century--what's interesting about it? Look though the syllabus and course books for ideas. The course website also offers some links.
    • Why did you choose to enroll in this course instead of some other one? What are your interests?
    • Are there particular people, or types of people, you would like to study?
    • Do works mentioned in the course books (e.g. Kitchen pp. 32-34) pique your interest?
    • Note: books about Nazi and 20th century Germany are in general not acceptable.
  2. How do I find books about that topic?
    • Browse the bibliographical references in the course books: Kitchen pp. 413-418, Schulze pp. 166-169.
    • Use the library catalogs Pegasus and Melvyl: search keywords, subjects, browse call numbers.
    • Searching the web or amazon.com for keywords, and following the "recommendations" and "also bought" links can lead you to current titles.
    • Go to the library and browse the shelves--DD203 on the 4th floor is the main relevant call number.
    • If you have trouble finding a topic, or a book for a topic, please come to talk to me—sooner, not later!
  3. What kind of books are suitable? I would prefer that you select works written in the 19th century or academic works of history, and not anthologies (collections of essays), although I may make exceptions. Most memoirs, diaries and biographies are excellent choices; certain novels are fine, too.
  4. What should my proposal look like? The purpose of the proposal is to give enough information about a book so that you can see and I can judge whether it is suitable. I probably need three main elements:
    1. a descriptive title that indicates the main theme you are interested in.
    2. a short description and explanation of your topic, including an explicit list of questions that you hope the book will address or answer.
    3. Full bibliographic information on this book (and perhaps others that you have found), including the publisher, year published, number of pages, and library call number or other information on the availability of the book (did you order it? do you have a copy?).
    4. Published reviews of the book.
      • You should try to find 1 or 2 or 3 reviews of your proposed book, with preferably at least one from a scholarly journal (internet sources are ok, but if you don't find any, consult library databases!).
      • For each review you must give full bibliographic information--also about the websites!
      • For books published since 1987, reviews in scholarly journals are often listed in the Expanded Academic Articles database, accessible from the .ucsb.edu domain, through the library's homepage (Research > Article Databases > E). However, the actual review text is often not available on-line, so you will have to get that journal from the stacks and photocopy the review.
      • If you need help finding reviews, ask a reference librarian for help, or see me.

Book essay draft, due Nov. 8

  1. Once your proposal has been approved, you should
    • Read the book and write a 1-2 page summary description of it. Note that this summary is not the whole book essay, but only a part. (You can make a sub-heading for it, to set it off from the rest.)
    • The summary may be included in a short introduction about the question(s) your essay addresses, perhaps how you found or why you chose this particular book, and how your book addresses those questions (what sources does it use?). This is the place for a thesis statement.
    • In the main body of your essay you should discuss how the book addresses and answers your question(s).
Final essay, due December 6 [Nov. 22 for web option])
  1. Content/Grading. When I grade, I look for five things.
    1. First, a thesis statement tells me the main point of the paper, what it is trying to argue or explain.
    2. Second, I look for an argument with concrete evidence—specific cases or examples—used to support it.
      A paper with an evidence-supported argument earns a "B."
    3. Third, I look to see whether counterevidence is discussed—whether you refute evidence that supports a thesis different or contradictory to your own. You may need to do research outside the book (for example in reviews or other books) to find this. Including counterevidence and -arguments brings a paper into the "A" range.
    4. Finally, I look to see whether a paper is carefully written and proofread, and has clear organization or perhaps even stylistic grace. This can lift a paper up to a "+" or, with two or more typos/errors per page, drop it down to a "."
  2. Length. Your book essay should be at least 1800 words—6-7 double-spaced, typed pages, with 1½x1x1x1 margins and 12 point, proportional space font.
    Number the pages!By hand is ok if you are word-processor challenged. Otherwise one point off!
  3. Due dates. Late submissions will be penalized one point per day, beginning at 11am. I do this because students entering late disrupt the class and distract me.
  4. Grading. The book essay counts for 35% of your final grade (with the proposal and final version being 5% each). It is worth taking very seriously!
    Any submitted work that is not proofread or does not have numbered pages will be reduced by one point.
  5. This course fulfills the UCSB General Education writing requirement. If you do not submit all three parts (proposal, draft, corrected version) of this assignment, you cannot receive credit for this course (i.e., you will fail).
  6. Plagiarism—presenting someone else's work as your own, or deliberately failing to credit or attribute the work of others on whom you draw (including materials found on the web)—is a serious academic offense, punishable by dismissal from the university. It hurts the one who commits it most of all, by cheating them out of an education. I will report offenses to the appropriate university authorities for disciplinary action.

prepared for web by H. Marcuse on Oct. 14, 2006, updated: 10/x/06
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