Columbus, The Indians, and Human Progess
For this assignment, you will read one chapter from A Peoples History of the United States by Howard Zinn. You may choose which chapter you will be focusing on. You can find the A People’s History of the United States reading in Canvas. In a 35-page paper, analyze the chapter, and make an argument concerning which types of historiographical trends have influenced the writing. Pull evidence from the reading to support your argument. Evidence can be examined either from individual paragraphs, or you could summarize evidence from several paragraphs that follow a similar theme. Keep in mind, you will need to watch the Historiography lecture video above and take detailed notes, in order to gain an understanding of historiographical trends.
To give you an idea of how to analyze the chapter, consider the following questions (you do not have to answer all of the below questions. I have provided them to spark ideas for your analysis):
Is this a work of traditional, Marxist, revisionist, and/or post-revisionist history? Or is it a combination of several historiographical trends?
What evidence do you have that the authors work represents this type(s) of history?
What historical subjects does the author emphasize, (political, military, economic, class, gender, ethnic, social, etc.)?
How might the historical context of the time when the reading was written influence the author?
Who is the authors audience (who do you think they are writing for)?
What are the authors main arguments? How do these arguments relate to the historiographical trends?
What evidence does the author use to prove their arguments?
Does the author offer clear analysis of their evidence to show how it proves their arguments?
Does the author make any assumptions that are not backed up by specific evidence? Are there specific examples of bias on the part of the author in the reading? Cite specific examples as evidence. How does this bias relate to the school(s) of history the author is influenced by?
Structure of the paper
Below is a brief list of bullet points that detail what I am looking for in terms of the structure of the paper.
Summary of the chapter (2-3 sentences)
State the authors main arguments
State your argument (what type of history does the chapter represent)
Your first body paragraph(s), following the introduction, should be an overview of the main aspects of the different historiographical trends (traditional, Marxist history, revisionism, post-revisionism).
Follow your descriiption of the historiographical trends with multiple argumentative body paragraphs that analyze the chapter and show evidence of how the authors work is representative of the historiographical trends. Your argumentative body paragraphs should follow the below format:
Topic sentence Make a claim about a specific thing the author emphasizes, and how it relates to the historiographical trend(s) that they are influenced by.
Provide evidence from the reading Cite the evidence the author used to prove their arguments (at least 2 pieces of evidence). You can paraphrase the evidence (put it in your own words). You dont have to always provide direct quotes.
Analysis – Analyze the evidence and show how it relates the historiographical trends.
Bias (if applicable) Did the author seem to have a degree of bias when trying to prove their claim, explain how so?
Assumptions (if applicable) – Did the author make any assumptions in proving their claim; assumptions which they failed to back up with evidence.
Concluding sentence reaffirm the point made in the topic sentence
Briefly reaffirm the main aspects of your argument.
Significance why is it important to understand how authors are influenced by historiographical trends?
Within your paper, you will need to use MLA style in-text citation. You will do this any time you use information that you got from the text, even if you put the information in your own words. If in doubt, cite it. The only thing you would not cite is your own analysis and claims.
At the end of each sentence where you used information from the book, include the authors last name and the page where you found the information in parentheses (Zinn 24). Notice how I put the citation before the period at the end of the sentence. This is known as in-text citation.
Chapter 1 pg.20 to pg.44