Reading Response / Short Exercise Guidelines:

Weekly Discussion Posts

Please post a detailed question about the week's reading or a brief response to reading questions from the instructor or your peers to the appropriate OnCourse Forum by noon on the day of each class meeting. The point of this exercise is to help you come to class ready to talk, and to help me facilitate a conversation that addresses you interests. These will be evaluated and factored into your participation grade. The baseline grade for posting anything that shows you have been reading and thinking is a "B," and this generally helps most students. Failing to post can hurt you, however, so stay on top of this requirement.

To make your post, login to OnCourse and enter the J300 Course Site. Click on "Forums" in the left hand menu. Within Forums, click on the appropriate week - i.e. "Week 2: Why Study the History of Marriage." Click "Post New Thread" to add you question.

Short Exercises

1) Two Response Papers on Weeks of Your Choice

Over the term, you must write 2 short (3-4 page) papers addressing a question about the weekly readings. You may take a position in response to one of the reading questions supplied, or answer a question of your own devise. In either event, please identify the question in the heading of your paper. Your paper should take a clear position in response to the question, and your argument should be identifiable through a well formulated thesis statement in the first paragraph of the paper, and supported by evidence from the readings. Please bold face your thesis statement. Papers should demonstrate attentive reading of the week's assignment, taking into account not only material that supports your argument, but also material that might serve as counter-evidence. For guidelines on constructing a strong thesis please see the Writing Tutorial Services page on developing a thesis statement.

Please post your paper to the appropriate weekly forum in OnCourse by 7am on the day of the relevant class meeting, and bring a hard copy with you to class. Because the point of these papers is to foster in-class discussion and to get feedback from your peers as well as from the instructor, late papers will not be accepted.

See below for Appearance and Citation Guidelines.

2) Finding and Evaluating Sources Due February 2

You will need to track down three kinds of sources for this assignment: an academic monograph, a scholarly article, and a primary source. At least one of these documents should be a source used by historian Kathleen Brown or Laurel Ulrich in this week's reading. The idea is to ask yourself how these writers know what they tell you, and to follow up on intriguing details. Pick something that sounds interesting or useful to you and look at what they say about it in their footnotes. From there, look for it on-line, using the resources on the J300 Marriage and the Nation library site. [Note: Celestina Wroth is updating this page; if it is not available through the OnCourse menu, use my J400 page:] You may also use IUCAT, Google, Googlebooks, or Google Scholar, but at least take a look at the resources available through the specialized site. Once you have located a source from Ulrich or Brown's notes, you are at liberty to either keep mining their notes, or look for items directly relevant to your research project.

You will need to:

  1. Locate the monograph in the library and bring it to class.
  2. Post a bibliography of all the items you located and where you found them to the OnCourse forum. Note difficulties or dead ends so that we can address them in our library session.
  3. Write a 3 page evaluation of one of the sources you located, and (if relevant) of Ulrich or Brown's use of it. The questions your evaluation should take up will depend on the kind of source.

Primary Source questions:

Secondary Source questions:

Use the guidelines for "How to Read a Source" on the J300/J400 Resource Page. Your paper should identify the author's specific questions, arguments, methods and sources and explain how these fit into a larger scholarly conversation. What "big" questions is he/she addressing? Do others agree?

If you are discussing a monograph, you should look up and refer to one or two scholarly reviews of the book. See the Library Resource page (or my J400 Resource Page for information on how to find these.

Appearance and Citation Guidelines:

Please include the following information at the beginning of your papers:
Name and Date
The question you are trying to answer.

The paper should have an informative title; “Colonial Marriage” is too vague. Please highlight your thesis statement, and the sentences that call attention to your most important pieces of evidence. The paper should be double spaced and 3-4 pages long in a reasonable font. When you post to OnCourse, please use your title as the topic heading. Please paste the text of the paper into the on-line description box, and attach it as either an MSWord document, or in Rich Text Format (RTF if you are using a different word processing program. I expect appropriate citation of all borrowed ideas and evidence. I am not fussy about the citation format for short papers, so long as citations are clear and consistent. If you would like further guidance, please see the section on the Chicago Style Guide on the J300/J400 resource page.