Proposal with reviews (due Jan. 27)
- What should I write about?
How do I find books about that topic?
- Think about Germany--what's interesting about it? Look though the
syllabus, textbook, and course web site (see esp. the Links
section and CourseLinks page)
for ideas. The course website also has sample book essays from the
- Suggestions: occupation, Marshall Plan, Berlin blockade, refugees
from the east, 1953 uprising, Berlin Wall, Spiegel Affair, student
movement, RAF terrorism, Stasi, immigration policy, daily life, opposition
in East Germany, biographies of famous or "ordinary" (post-1945) Germans.
What kind of books are suitable? I would prefer that you select
academic works of history, and not anthologies or fiction, although
I may make exceptions. Most memoirs, diaries and biographies
are fine as well.
What should my proposal look like? The purpose of the proposal
is to find a suitable book on your topic of interest. It has
- When you find something that piques your interest, check for bibliographical
references (textbook footnotes or bibliography pp. 385ff, Hilton bibliography).
- Searching the web or amazon for keywords, and following the "recommendations"
and "also bought" links can lead you to the most current titles.
- Go to the library and browse the shelves--the DD256.5-DD259 is the
main relevant call numbers.
- If you have trouble finding a topic, or a book for a topic, please
come to talk to me—sooner, not later!
four main elements:
- a descriptive title that indicates the main theme you are
- a short description and explanation of your topic, including
an explicit list of questions that you hope the book will address.
- Full bibliographic information on this and perhaps other
books that you think may be suitable, including library call number
or other information on the availability of the book.
- Published reviews of the book.
- You should attach printouts or photocopies of 2 or 3 reviews of
your proposed book, at least one of which should be from a scholarly
journal (which may be available on the internet; the others can be
from other internet sources).
- For each review you must give full bibliographic information--also
about the websites!
- For books published since 1987, reviews in scholarly journals are
often listed in the Expanded Academic Articles database, accessible
from the UCSB domain, through the library's
homepage (Research, Article Databases, E). However, the actual
review text is often not available on-line, so you will have to get
that journal from the stacks and photocopy the review.
- If you need help finding reviews, ask a reference librarian for
help, or see me.
Book summary and essay draft (due Feb. 17) (back
- Once your proposal has been approved, you should
- Read the book and write a 1-2 page summary description of
it. Note that this should be a separate section from the book essay
itself, although in the end this summary can be integrated into your
final book essay. (Make a sub-heading for it in your draft.)
- Write a short introduction about the question(s) your essay
addresses, perhaps how you found or why you chose this particular
book, and how your book addresses those questions (what sources does
it use?). This is the place for a thesis statement.
- In the main body of your essay you should discuss how the
book addresses and answers your question.
Final essay (due March 10 [March 3 for web option]) (back to top)
- Content/Grading. When I grade, I look for five things.
- First, a thesis statement tells me the goal of the
paper, what it is trying to argue or explain.
- Second, I look for an argument supporting that thesis.
- Third, I look for concrete evidence—specific cases
or examples—used to support that argument. A paper with any two
of these three is a "C;" all three elements earn a "B."
- Fourth, I look to see whether counterevidence is
discussed—whether you refute evidence that supports a thesis different
or contradictory to your own. If elements one, two and three are
also present, this would bring a paper into the "A" range.
- Finally, I look to see whether a paper is carefully
written and proofread, and has clear organization or perhaps
even stylistic grace. This can lift a paper up to a "+"
or, with two or more typos/errors per page, drop it down to a "–."
- Length. Your book essay should be at least 1800 words—6-7
double-spaced, typed pages, with 1½x1x1x1 margins and 12 point, proportional
Number the pages! By hand is ok if you are word-processor challenged.
Otherwise one point off!
- Due dates. Late submissions will be penalized one point per
day, beginning at 11am. I do this because students entering late disrupt
the class and distract me.
- Grading. The book essay counts for 20% of your final
grade (30% with the proposal and draft). It is worth taking seriously!
Any submitted work that is not proofread or does not have numbered pages
will be reduced by one point.
- This course fulfills the general education writing requirement.
If you do not submit all parts of the book essay assignment, you cannot
receive credit for this course (i.e., you will fail).
- Plagiarism—presenting someone else's work as your own, or deliberately
failing to credit or attribute the work of others on whom you draw (including
materials found on the web)—is a serious academic offense, punishable
by dismissal from the university. It hurts the one who commits it most
of all, by cheating them out of an education. I will report offenses
to the appropriate university authorities for disciplinary action.