Presentations are designed to accomplish the following:

  • introduce the topic to be discussed by
    • providing a brief sketch of the historical episode or period involved, and
    • summarizing the historiographical issues involved;
  • introduce the guest speaker, if any;
  • facilitate discussion among the class members
  • give the presenter an opportunity to refine her/his ideas from the feedback provided during the class discussion

Presenters should have done substantial research on the topic before class, to the point that they can consider themselves resources for other class members. Presenters should also speak with the guest speaker ahead of time, to get introductory background material and to get a better idea of what they will talk about. However, the introductory presentation should be short--no more than ten minutes.

For presentation assignment dates, see the other page.

Historiographic Essay

The essay should be a write-up of the presentation topic in the form of a paper, 5-7 pages typed, with proper documentation in both the body of the paper and in a bibliography. (See Rampolla for guidelines.) The paper should analyze the historiographic issues involved and provide the student's perspective on the issue as well. The paper should demonstrate scholarly research beyond the minimum class readings.

Essays will be posted on this website for other students to read and critique. For this reason, students must turn in an electronic version of the essay. Use a simple format for your paper that can be translated into HTML For example, do not use the footnoting feature of your word processing program--it usually does not survive the reformatting process. Indeed, if you can write the paper in HTML using a web editor, so much the better. See Submitting Electronic Files for guidelines.

Essays will be due one week after the class in which the student's presentation takes place.


Each student must submit a critique of another student's essay. That critique should take the form of a posting to the class discussion list. The critique should be around 150-300 words (i.e., about half a page to a page). It should address the strengths and weaknesses of the essay, providing praise and constructive criticism as appropriate.