Short Papers

Four graded short papers on assigned topics, with due dates spaced at approximately two-week intervals, have been assigned for the quarter. Note that the papers as described here are separate from the Book Review, concerning which see the separate instruction page. Undergraduates are expected to write three (3) of the four (4); graduate students all four. In the one of the four paper assignments where undergraduates are not submitting their own essay, they nonetheless should be fully conversant with the material and provide comments on the papers that have been submitted. Undergraduates who choose to write all four of the papers will receive a bonus for doing so when grades are calculated at the end of the quarter.

The purpose of the papers is to help you understand and synthesize assigned materials connected with each question. Each paper should be the equivalent of approximately 4-5 pp. (double-spaced) and include any necessary notes to identify sources. Quotations should be identified with appropriate punctuation, and a specific reference provided as to the source. Clear and grammatically correct writing are important. Be sure to create back-up copies of all your papers, since it is your responsibility to avoid having the computer eat them.

The goal here is not simply an end product and a grade but facilitating an active learning process. Thus there three stages in the development of your papers during which each of you will interact with the instructor and your classmates using the electronic tools EPost and Peer Review to which you will be able to connect via your internet browser. An explanation of these tools is under a separate heading that you can reach from the introductory screen of the course syllabus.

Details regarding the question for each paper (including its specific wording) will be found under the relevant weekly assignment in the syllabus. The generic topics and due dates are as follows:

  1. Paper 1. Kievan society and economy. Draft posted by 5 PM on Wednesday, October 6. Discussion Friday, October 8.
  2. Paper 2. The Impact of the Mongols. Draft posted by 5 PM, Wednesday, November 3. Discussion Friday, November 5.
  3. Paper 3. Ivan IV. Draft posted by 5 PM, Wednesday, November 17. Discussion Friday, November 19.
  4. Paper 4. Modernization etc.. Draft posted by 5 PM, Wednesday, December 1. Discussion Friday, December 3.
  5. Each essay should contain:

    Grades will be based in the first instance on the clarity and persuasiveness of the argument. It is important that your essays be well-structured and written in correct English. Persuasiveness in part involves the degree to which you demonstrate you are familiar with specific relevant sources and can provide meaningful analysis of their evidence. Simply cataloguing facts normally does not create effective argument.