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- Between about 1000 and 1491 CE, the Eurasian world (and parts of Africa) became much more connected than it had ever been. There was more trade, more travel, and more interaction between a wide variety of peoples. Why was this the case? Why was the process of globalization already well underway before the opening of the Atlantic World?
- Your essay should include a clear, strong, and sophisticated thesis. The thesis should be clearly stated in the first paragraph of the essay; by the time I finish reading the first paragraph I should be able to finish the statement, “This essay argues that _____.” (You can even use that exact phrasing in your introduction if you wish.)
- The remainder of the essay should use evidence from class readings and class notes to prove the thesis. Use specific historical evidence to prove your thesis—not personal opinion or general statements. If you find yourself using statements like, “I think _____,” or “I believe ______,” then you have likely strayed from the historical evidence into opinion. A historical essay is about what you can prove, not what you believe.
- This essay is open book and open note, but not open-internet or open-neighbor. Your work should be your own. The only sources you should consult are class readings and class notes. Resist the temptation to use Google and Wikipedia! Class materials contain more than enough evidence to answer the question. Essays that draw on material not provided in class or in the readings will receive a significant grade reduction.
- Do not quote from the textbook or paraphrase it closely. You should, of course, read and consult the textbook, but your essay should be entirely in your own words. The reason for this stipulation is because over the years I have read too many essays that are just a long string of quotes. I want to encourage you to write in a more readable style and avoid just relying on quotes instead of analyzing information and putting it into your own narrative.
- Style and Format
- Essays should be between 800 and 1000 words, double spaced. This works out to about three pages, depending on margins and font. Your writing should be grammatically correct and carefully proofread. Follow the guidelines from Dr. Carter’s Writing Guide.
- Because you are only using class materials as evidence for your essay, and because you should not include any direct quotations from the textbook, you do not need to include citations. So you can safely ignore all of the material in the Writing Guide that deals with citations for this essay.
- The final essay is worth 100 points.
- Here are some general guidelines I use when grading essays:
- An “A” essay (90–95 points) should have a specific argument and be loaded with specific examples. It should demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the issue at hand, as well as creativity and analysis. Please note that only exceptional essays will receive a grade higher than 95 points.
- A “B” essay (80–89 points) should have an argument and some examples to back it up. The examples will probably be fairly predictable, and there may not be too many of them.
- A “C” essay (70–79 points) will have a very weak argument or no argument at all. Or it might have a decent argument but not enough specific examples to support it. It will show little sophisticated thinking or analysis.
- A “D” essay (60–69 points) does not fulfill the basic requirements of an exam essay. It may not answer the question, or it may have no argument or evidence.
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