HIST 3630-01, Fall 2011
Final Exam

Due Date: This is a take home exam. You should return it to my office (Crouch 409) or the department office (Crouch 210) by Friday, Dec. 13. you may also email it to me at tcorse@tnstate.edu.

Structure: This is an essay exam. You will choose one of the following essays, writing 3.5-5 pages (800-1100 words).

Topic Areas and Readings: The list of essays includes both comprehensive questions and questions that focus only on the second part of the semester. Therefore, any and all topics and readings from the entire semester could be included, depending on which question you choose and how you choose to answer it. Please ask me if you need any clarification about the scope of the questions.

Writing the Essays: You will chose one of the essays listed below and will produce a 3.5-5 page essay (800-1100 words). In doing an essay, there are certain things you should remember. A good essay will first of all answer the question. Make sure you do address all parts of the question. A good essay is both specific and general: specific in its examples, general in its use of major themes. Finally, a good essay has a definite structure: an introduction, a body with an organization and argument, and a conclusion. So, in doing your essay, you should:

  1. State you main ideas clearly.
  2. Give your essay structure. I'd suggest preparing an outline as you study.
  3. Give specific examples to back up your main ideas.


  1. We have discussed a number of "scientific revolutions," including the best known, the Copernican-Newtonian period that is most often referred to as the Scientific Revolution. Others include the 11th and 12th century renaissance, the Agricultural and Urban revolutions of the late stone age (the Neolithic Age, to be precise), Classical Greece, and the Darwinian-Einsteinian period of the late 19th and early 20th century. Discuss two of these (or some other comparable revolution in scientific thinking - you may wish to consult me about this), comparing how they changed the way scholars and ordinary people thought about nature, and their impact on daily life. You can of course argue that the impact was minimal, but you would have to back that up.
  2. Examine the Darwin to Einstein period of scientific development. What do you regard as the greatest impact the new ideas of this period have on society, broadly, and why? You should at a minimum discuss those two individuals, though you may include others. Obviously, this would appear to a smaller chunk of question #1, however I would expect greater development and detail if you are looking only at this period. You may wish to consider politics, culture, social structure (class, race and gender), as well as the way scholars and ordinary people think about the way the world works.
  3. Consider how technology and scientific ideas determine the way we experience time and space. How far away Knoxville is depends on whether you are on foot, horseback, in a car, or on an airplane, or whether you measure the distance in miles or in light-years.  Examine at least two developments in science and technology or science that changed our daily experience of time and space. Discuss and compare those changes. Be sure to give specific examples.
  4. Discuss how the needs of society broadly, or a particular social class (such as educated elites), shape the development of science and technology. This is potentially a huge question, and the opportunities for vague flights of fancy are many, so pick one or two themes (such as the desire for power, the profit motive, practical problem solving, etc.) to focus on, and use concrete examples from at least two distinct time periods (Neolithic, Classic, Medieval, Renaissance, Scientific Revolution, Enlightenment, 19th Century, 20th Century).
  5. Consider Kuhn and Popper's different models of scientific change. Compare how well Darwin and Einstein fit or do not fit these two models of scientific progress.