History Text Analysis


HIST 100: Western Civilization – Pre-Modern

Dr. Kristin Heineman / Spring 2020

TEXT ANALYSIS ASSIGNMENT I The following information should be used in preparing your out-of-class writing assignment

for this course. Requirements and topics appear below, along with some tips about writing

history papers.

Assignment Requirements and Deadlines Students are required to write one (1) paper, called a text analysis, based on assigned readings

for this course. As noted on the syllabus, this assignment is worth 20% of your final grade in

the class. If you already submitted Text Analysis 1, then you are not required to write Text

Analysis 2. If you did not submit Text analysis 1, then you must submit Text analysis 2. If

you submit both Text Analysis 1 and 2, then the lower of the two grades will be dropped.

As noted on the syllabus Course Schedule, Text Analysis 1 is due on Friday March 6th. Text

Analysis 2 is due on April 17th. You may not submit Text Analysis 1 after the deadline has

passed. The Text Analysis paper should be submitted online through Canvas by 11:59pm on

the day it is due. If you would like detailed feedback and editing, please submit a hard copy

in class the day it is due (this is not required). Students requesting an extension on the due

date for the paper must present acceptable written documents of illness, emergency or

University-sponsored events. You still have to provide this, even if we discussed it via email

or verbally.

The topics for Text Analysis 1 appear below. The format, grading criteria, lateness policy,

and other instruction will be the same for both assignments.

Format and Presentation Requirements: Your Text Analysis should meet the following requirements:

4 pages of text (i.e. 1,200-1,500 words), typewritten or word processed

Double spaced with standard font (Times New Roman, size 12)

Standard margins (1 inch top and bottom, left and right sides)

A separate title page should include the following information: your name, HIST 100, Text

Analysis I (or II), some sort of fancy-schmancy title.

If you use sources other than those assigned for this class in completing this assignment, you

will need to provide a list of those sources (Bibliography) on a separate page at the end of

your paper. Additional research is, however, not required.

Your paper will include an Introduction in which you will outline your argument in a thesis

statement. Be sure to mention the author and the text you plan to analyze. Your thesis

statement should NOT be in the form of a question – turn your questions into assertions. A

thesis statement is generally the last sentence of your first paragraph.

Each body paragraph (you will probably have at least 3-4) should start with a topic sentence

(the main point of the paragraph) and be supported with direct evidence from the text either


in “quotations” or summarized. Either way, the evidence must be cited (as noted below). Be

sure to have AT LEAST ONE piece of evidence for each claim.

Finish your paper with a conclusion. Don’t add new information here, just summarize your

main points.

Sources for the Text Analysis: This writing assignment requires you to analyze the primary source documents assigned for

the course, as found under the “Primary Resource” tab in the on-line textbook. It does NOT

require additional research or the use of readings other than those assigned for the class. If

you decide to consult readings or sources other than those assigned for the class, please be

sure to cite them fully and accurately, according to the citation requirements indicated below.

Citation Requirements You will be expected to use parenthetical citation in your Text Analysis. The purpose of these

citations is to indicate to your readers where you found specific information that you have

included in your paper, whether from the assigned readings or textbook. As long as you are

using those sources, your citation need only include the author’s name and the section number

of text on which the information appears. For example:

According to Plato, Socrates told the jury that he knew he had no wisdom, small

or great, (Plato, 4.1).

The Epic of Gilgamesh “depicts a world ruled by polytheistic gods and their

demands of humanity,” (Margolf and Heineman, Early Near East and Egypt).

If you use material from sources other than these, including sources on the Internet, you will

need to provide additional information about those sources. A style sheet with examples of

citation will be posted on Canvas. If the style sheet does not indicate how to cite a particular

type of source that you used, you are expected to consult the writing guides listed below

and/or ask me or the TA.

Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism As noted on the syllabus, academic dishonesty or plagiarism of any kind for this assignment

may result in a grade of ‘F’ for the course or other penalties deemed appropriate by me. For

further information about the definition of plagiarism, see the General Catalog, pp. 8-9, found

here: http://www.catalog.colostate.edu/Content/files/2012/FrontPDF/1.6POLICIES.pdf

Grading Criteria Please see the Rubric posted on Canvas for details. The major areas of assessment include:

the clarity and degree of critical analysis of your argument, the use of evidence, ability to

interpret and analyze the evidence, organization of ideas, correct and complete references,

and writing style.

Questions? We are both happy to answer any questions you may have about this assignment prior to the

due date, so please come see us or email us!!!



Additional Resources for Help in Writing Your Paper: Hacker, Diana. A Pocket Style Manual (Shelf Reserve Morgan Library)

-see also the related website at www.dianahacker.com/pocket

-contains chapters on grammar, punctuation, and clarity in writing

Strunk, William and White, E.B. The Elements of Style (Shelf Reserve Morgan Library)

-contains chapters on usage and composition, as well as examples of many common

writing errors – and how to avoid them!

CSU Writing Center: Room 6, Eddy Hall; website at http://writing.colostate.edu/wcenter/

-if you seek help at the Writing Center, be sure to bring this handout with you!

Topics for Text Analysis 1 – Choose ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:

1. What glimpses do we get from Homer’s Iliad of the respective roles of men in society?

How do those differ from the roles of women in Greek society? What values would these

poems have taught young children? Use Homer’s Iliad in Primary Resources, Chapter


2. According to Plato’s Socrates in The Apology of Socrates, what accusations have been

levied against him, and why? In refuting these accusations, what does Socrates reveal

about his fundamental intellectual belief and methods? Why do you think many of

Socrates’ contemporaries found his views so threatening? Use Plato’s Apology in

Primary Resources, Chapter 3.

3. What does Caesar’s description, in The Gallic War, reveal about the technology of war at

the time? How did Caesar use this technology to his advantage? What does Caesar’s

portrait of Vercingetorix suggest about Roman attitudes toward non-Romans? Although

Caesar wrote The Gallic War to describe his own deeds, he uses “he” (the third person)

instead of “I” (the first person) in telling his story. Why do you think he made this

choice? Does his use of the third person give you more confidence, or less, in the truth of

his account? In writing this account, how do you think Caesar intended to shape his

public image and why? Use Caesar, Gallic War in Primary Resources, Chapter 5.

4. According to Tacitus, why do the Germans fight with their families close by? What does

this reveal about Germanic society? What does the excerpt tell us about German and

Roman society? How does Rome view the “other”? What are the most important

features of Germanic society and what aspects does Tacitus admire and why? Use

Tacitus On Germanic Tribes in Primary Resources, Chapter 6.



Some Rules for Successful Writing Assignments:

1. Spell out time references: “seventh century” instead of “7th century.”

2. Hyphenate time references correctly, according to their use in the sentence: “The Trojan

War is thought to have occurred in the twelfth-century BC.” (adjective). “In the twelfth

century, war was a constant threat to society.” (noun).

3. When using brief quotations, remember to use quotation marks to indicate clearly when

you are reproducing someone else’s words verbatim:

As Spielvogel notes, “Women were citizens who could participate in most religious

cults and festivals,” (Spielvogel, 84).

4. Remember to cite specific material that you paraphrase – the ideas came from someone

else, even if you expressed or summarized in your own words!

5. Avoid slang, jargon and contractions (can’t, don’t, haven’t)

6. Remember to make the subjects and verbs agree in number, as well as nouns and

pronouns: “Scholars could circulate their ideas in print” rather than “A scholar could

circulate their ideas in print.”

7. Avoid run-on sentences, comma splices, and paragraphs that go on for 2-3 pages! (In

other words, think carefully about sentence structure, punctuation and paragraph


8. Avoid overuse of the passive voice (The cat was chased by the dog) in favor of the active

voice (the dog chased the cat). Active voice is more direct, more vivid and allows you to

use more verbs.

9. Remember to use the past tense where appropriate in writing about the past (which is



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