History 310: Topic Statement Assignment
Due: Monday, April 10, 2012
The purpose of this assignment is to get you to focus (as much as you are able at this stage) on certain key aspects of the topic you are considering for your paper. The proposal should be about 200 words, and address the following:
- The proposed topic area. Examples might be: "I am planning to examine the influence of the spiritual Franciscans on Marsilius of Padua’s thinking" or "I propose to investigate the political conditions in the northern Italian communes that contributed to stability or to instability." Be as specific as possible, and suggest ways the paper might go as you consider narrowing it down to something manageable; e.g.: "I anticipate that I will eventually limit the focus of the research to Florence and Milan" or "My main focus will be on the events leading up to the exile of Dante."
- Historiography. What are historians already saying about this topic? What major debates might you encounter, and who are the key players?
- Your own contribution. What perspective can you bring to the literature that will be original?
- Resources. What primary sources are available? Can you either find them here in the library or obtain them through interlibrary loan, in languages you can read?
- Relevance. Why does it matter? Another term for this point is the "so-what question."
- Finally, attach a preliminary, working bibliography. This need be no more than a few items, but it should combine primary and secondary sources.
Laurel Carrington firstname.lastname@example.org
Most recent update: March 29, 2012