Note: A pdf of this assignment sheet is available here, under Readings and Handouts.
In an upcoming class period, we will discuss how Europeans interacted with Amerindians during the colonial period. The purpose of this assignment is for you to become an “expert” in one of the specific sources so that you can contribute to the larger discussion. It is also a chance for you to develop the fundamental skill of historians: interpreting primary sources through a written argument.
Read all of the sources in the Captivity Narratives source packet posted under Readings and Handouts.
Choose one of the primary sources to use for this assignment:
Paul LeJeune, Report
Mary Rowlandson, The Sovereignty and Goodness of God
Mary Jemison, Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Mary Jemison
Write an analysis of the source in several paragraphs, following the format below.
Note: these questions are based on the “How to Read A Primary Source” handout available on the course website and discussed in class, but the assignment will be graded based on the specific questions below.
After stating which passage you are using, identify the primary source, including author, place, and time of writing. This paragraph should also discuss the genre of the source (that is, the original format, purpose and/or audience ) and the author’s point-of-view (that is, which “team” they are on, what happened to them; their involvement was, etc.). Also, put the source in its historical context by briefly describing the events or developments that are the “background” of the source. Note: all quotations and paraphrases must be cited (see below).
Summarize the source in a paragraph by restating the main points the source makes, using your own words. This paragraph should contain no quotations.
Analyze the author’s goals and intentions by answering the following question in a paragraph or so each.
Each paragraph should have a strong thesis statement that answers the questions below. In these paragraphs, you should quote specific words or phrases from the passage and explain how they support your argument. Note: all quotations or paraphrases must be cited with a title and page number placed in parentheses.
What things do the authors praise and/or criticize about the Amerindians they encounter? What specific goals were the authors trying to achieve and how did the details they included further those goals?
Analyze the historical context by writing a paragraph with a strong thesis statement that answers the question, “What does this source show us about relations between Europeans and Amerindians in the colonial period?” There are many ways to answer this question, and you should not try to cover them all. You might consider some of the following: Can you describe the “shape” or “boundary” of cooperation and conflict? What things were not a problem and what were? How did the circumstances or “mission” of the Europeans shape their relationship with Amerindians? Can you use this primary source to glimpse the Amerindians’ attitudes or point of view? How does your chosen primary source compare to the other primary sources in the packet? This section should connect the passage to larger historical developments, and it should use material from classroom discussions and course reading materials. No outside research is required. Note: all quotations and paraphrases must be cited (see below).
The sections will be graded as follows:
Analyze goals 40
Historical context 30
The paper will be graded on how well you use evidence from the passage to support your analysis of the text, and how well you place it in the broader context of the materials covered in the course.
Nuts and bolts
The paper will be 700-1000 words in length (2-3 typed pgs) It should be typed, double-spaced, 12-point, normal font, normal margins.
Audience: assume that you are writing for a formal audience of educated non-specialists; that is, people who have taken a class like this one before, and have heard of most of the people and events, but may not know all the details.
Citations are required for all quotations or use of specific information from an outside source. Citations can take a variety of formats. Chicago or Turabian style footnotes are usual for history writing. For this paper, you may also use parenthetical citations. At the end of the sentence or quotation, write ([author’s name or title of source], [#]); for example, (Rowlandson, 2). For the course textbook, write (Henretta, [#]). For class notes, write (Class Lecture, [Date]).
These are the instructions I was given. I also took the liberty of attaching my class notes so you can use them for citation purposes also. Thank you.