UCSB Hist 2c, S'06: World History, 1700-pres.
List of Events & Books
for Second Paper

by Professor Harold Marcuse
(prof's homepage, Course homepage, Sample papers)
page created 4/17/06, updated 6/19/06, superceded 3/26/08

March 26, 2008: New page for 2008
this page accessed 413 times in 2007 (server stats)

added June 19, 2006: Most frequently chosen topics
added May 19, 2006: Advice & Answers to Questions
added June 5, 2006: 5 Sample Papers Page
April 16-22,

April 23-29,

Apr. 30 - May 6, 2006
May 7-13,
May 14-20,
Possible & Recommended
outside link:
UCSB featured events
*, **, ***: recommended, more recommended, highly recommended events

Pairwise electronic paper submission site (anti-plagiarism detection program)(TA access)

The Assignment [from the syllabus]

  1. Event/book analysis. (At least 1000 words, ca. 4 pages)
    Attend several of the outside events listed on the course web site (or others approved by your TA). Write a paragraph or two summarizing one of them, including what the author’s intention(s) and arguments were. Do some background research on the author or topic, so that you can put it into (a historical) context. Use concepts and arguments from this course to analyze the film or talk, and try to relate the film/talk/performance to one or more of the topics of the course. What insights have you gained by applying what you have learned in this course?
    • Draft: 10%; due Tuesday May 23, 11am.
    • Rewrite: 10%; due June 6 in lecture. In this version you will incorporate suggestions made by your TA on your draft. In order to receive credit, you must attach the draft version to it! You should be able to present and discuss your essay in section.

Most frequently chosen topics (top 12 by date)
I note that the peak was 5 days before the draft was due on 5/23; 1st place was NOT an obvious topic.
topic / event (see details below)
# of papers
rank order
1. Shape of Water documentary by UCSB soc. prof. (paper)
2. Wangari Maathai, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize (2 papers)
3. Jane Fonda, presentation about memoir
4. Kurds: People in Search of Homeland (film) (paper)
5. John Lee, Ancient Armies (Plous award lecture)
6. Hostage (film about Greek-Albanian bus hijacking)
7. After Innocence (film about DNA evidence) (paper)
8. K. Crenshaw: Intersectionality of Race, Crime, Citizenship
9. Johnson's Living Room War (film)
10. Iran Panel discussion
11. Joy Leary, Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome
12. Mardi Gras—Made in China (film about women's labor)
3 events & 1 book had 2 papers each, leaving 90 single topics
132 total papers in top 11
7 books: Shama/Rough Crossings, Menzies/1421, Hochschild/King Leopold's Ghost, Buck/Good Earth (Oprah), Global Climate Change, Wiencek/Imperfect God: George Washington & Slaves, Ash/Magic Lantern
Viewed another way: The chosen topics peaked in the week May 11-18, or 12-5 days before the due date:
5/12: 26  |   5/12: 9  |  5/15: 15  |  5/16: 9  |  5/18: 27

April 16-22, 2006 (back to top)

  • "Is Mexico Going Socialist?," Town Forum lecture,
    April 20, 7:30 p.m., First Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall
    UC Santa Barbara political scientist Kathleen Bruhn will examine the 2006 Mexican presidential election and highlight important trends in contemporary Latin American politics.
    UCSB Featured event; $8, pre-registration required
  • TALK: Re-membering Revolution: Recent Trends in Cuban Drama
    Yael Prizant (Theater, UCLA)
    Thursday, April 20 / 6:00 PM / Old Gym, 101C [might be a rather academic talk...]
    In the last century, on several continents, there have been various political transformations that have been described as “revolutions.” What exactly does a revolution entail? What is a revolutionary? What are the long term effects of revolutions on personal and political relationships? This talk investigates shifting historical definitions and the principal effects of revolutions as perceived by several Cuban/Cuban-American playwrights. The work of these Cuban playwrights boldly instigates further discussion about revolutions and their enduring ramifications in order to envision a future, a time after or beyond radical transformations.
    Sponsored by the IHC’s Performance Studies Research Focus Group
  • **SCREENING: Dying to Tell the Story with Q&A with Amy Eldon
    Thursday, April 20 / 6:00 PM Isla Vista Theater
    Dying to Tell the Story, is a Turner Original documentary about journalists who risk their lives in an effort to share the stories and images of those who need a voice. Introduced and followed by discussion with Amy Eldon.
    In conjunction with the University Art Museum exhibit Journey: Dan Eldon’s Images of War and Peace.
    • Student question, 4/21: "I saw the documentary Journey about Dan Eldon and I wanted to know if you had any ideas as to what I could write about in my paper. Thanks!"
      Answer: I didn't see this documentary, but I did visit the exhibition (and saw the short 1997 CNN documentary running there). Here are some ideas that occurred to me for the 2c 2nd paper:
      • The most obvious topics would be to examine the longer-term history of Somalia and develop a thesis about the origins of famine in Africa, the reasons for war-lord domination and destruction, the appropriateness of foreign intervention (or lack thereof), etc.
      • Looking at how war photographs influence public opinion about a given war in ways that written descriptions do not. From my own work I know that the photographs of the Nazi concentration camps taken in 1945 had and still have far more impact that the many descriptions before and after. Take a contemporary example (the 4 private US security contractors whose charred corpses were strung up on a bridge in Falluja in March 2004, or the tortured prisoners at Abu Ghraib come immediately to mind) and investigate how or to what extent they influenced the course of events.
      • Photographers Robert Capa and Larry Burrows, who were killed while taking war photographs, are mentioned in the exhibition (and wasn't that the topic of the documentary?). Investigate their or Eldon's biographies: What evidence is there that they were aware of the risk to their lives but felt it important to take the pictures they did anyway? Did they refuse some assignments because of danger? Did they keep journals in which they reflected on this? If they felt a sense of obligation, where did it come from? Why did they develop it?
      • Eldon's photographs of Mogadishu in 1992 and 1993 (on the back wall of the exhibition) are very powerful. Investigate the history of the UN intervention there. The murder of 24 UN peacekeepers prompted the UN to "crack down" in June 1993, killing 70 Somalis in an attempt to assassinate a warlord they held responsible, which in turn sparked the riot in which Eldon was stoned and stomped to death. Why did the UN get involved? How did this affect UN (and US--think "Blackhawk down"--the Philadelphia Inquirer series is on-line) policy afterwards? (think: Rwanda). A paper on the benefits and horrors prompted by UN interventions would be great.
      • Explore an issue raised by images in the exhibition: well-fed photographers with expensive equipment taking pictures of starving children--is that ethical?; the looted cultural museum in Mogadishu--what is there today?, the two armed marines in bikinis on a beach in Somalia--how are intervention soldiers seen by natives?
      • Eldon's food-aid trip to Malawi with US teenagers, some of whom hadn't been outside of the US (shown in the CNN film): what effects does "third world" travel (as in the peace corps--its history could be a topic) have on "first world" people?
      • Personal connection: I saw a film "Out of Africa" about a German family that escaped the Holocaust by immigrating to rural South Africa. It was from the perspective of the daughter who grew up in African culture. Eldon also grew up in Kenya, where his father still lives. What role did that experience play in his unique ability to connect to the local populace in Somalia?

April 23-29, 2006 (back to top)

  • *PERFORMANCE: Claudia Stevens, "An Evening with Madame F"
    Monday, April 24 / 8:00 PM / Hatlen Theatre
    Inaugural Event for UCSB Holocaust Remembrance Week and Commemoration of Yom Ha’Shoah
    An Evening with Madame F explores the haunting dilemma faced by Fania Fenelon and other Jewish musicians confined to the concentration camps during World War II. By playing for their captors, Fania and other members of an all-female orchestra in the Auschwitz death camp earned a better chance at survival, but were also accused of treason by fellow prisoners. Written and directed by pianist/singer/actress Claudia Stevens, this critically-acclaimed musical and dramatic performance has been has been the centerpiece of Holocaust observances in more than 100 communities across the country.
    • Fania Fenelon, Playing for Time, 1980 movie starring Vanessa Redgrave (imdb; NY Times)($3 from amazon)(1976 book: UCSB Arts: ML429.F436 A33); 1985 play by Arthur Miller
    • Ends with F.F. singing the Marseillaise in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
  • **"The Shape of Water," documentary by UCSB professors (Shape of Water website)
    Wednesday, April 26, 6pm MultiCultural Center Theater
    This is a powerful film that weaves poignant stories and compelling footage of five women in Senegal, Brazil, India, and Jerusalem. Produced and directed by first-time filmmaker Kum-Kum Bhavnani, UCSB professor of sociology, and narrated by Susan Sarandon. The five featured women:
    • spearhead rainforest preservation (women working as rubber-tappers in the Brazilian rainforest)
    • sustain a vast co-operative of rural women (India: SEWA: the largest trades union in the world with 700,000 members)
    • promote an end to female genital cutting (FGC) (Senegal: communities abandoning FGC)
    • strengthen opposition to the Israeli occupation of Palestine (Women in Black in Jerusalem)
    • maintain a farm, Navdanya (in the foothills of the Himalayas) to further economic independence and biodiversity by preserving women’s role as seed keepers.
    • prize-winning sample paper by Lauren P.
  • ***2004 Nobel MathaiPeace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai
    (Sustainable Development, Democracy and Peace)
    Friday, April 28 / 7 pm / Campbell Hall
    Kenyan Wangari Maathai, the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and the first African woman to receive the honor, is internationally recognized for her persistent struggle for democracy, human rights and environmental justice. For nearly thirty years, Maathai has mobilized poor women to plant 30 million trees through her organization the Pan African Green Belt Network.
    General public $15 / UCSB students $10

April 30 - May 6, 2006 (back to top)

  • John Lee (UCSB History prof.), "Beyond the Battlefield: New Perspectives on the History of Warfare."
    Monday, May 1, 4pm in the IHC Conference Room, 6020 HSSB.
    [postponed due to power outage; rescheduled for May 12]
    Prof. Lee's lecture is his acknowledgement for winning the Plous Award, given to the best young professor at UCSB. He specializes in ancient Greek history.
  • *Jane Fonda, My Life So Far
    Monday, May 1 / 8 pm / Campbell Hall
    Jane Fonda's incredibly rich life has seen her in numerous roles, as an Academy Award-winning actress, controversial activist, best-selling aerobics instructor and generous philanthropist. Her presentation, like her recent memoir of the same name, will reveal intimate details and universal truths that she hopes can provide a lens through which others can see their lives and how they can live them a little differently.
    General public $10 / UCSB students $8
  • Immigration 101
    Tuesday, May 2, Noon to 1:30 p.m
    ., Harbor Room, University Center
    A review of the current economic and demographic information regarding undocumented immigration to the U.S., along with an overview of the legislation being considered by Congress. The current immigration debate will also be placed in the context of immigration history in the United States. Discussion will be led by Carl Gutiérrez-Jones, Director of the Center for Chicano Studies. Presented by the UCSB Immigration Working Group.
  • Ashanti Alston
    Tuesday, May 2, 6 PM
    , MultiCultural Center Lounge, Free
    Ashanti Alston, a former political prisoner and longtime community organizer who now works with Estación Libre (an autonomous organization of people of color in solidarity with the Zapatistas), speaks about issues of student organizing and community building in a post-9/11, post-Patriot Act environment. Alston also draws on his own history as a former-Black
    Panther to parallel the struggles of African American and the Latin communities in and outside of the U.S. Co-sponsored by Acción Zapatista de Santa Barbara, El Congreso, Protesta y Apoyo Zapatista.
    My answer to an April 30 e-mail about how a paper based on this presentation might look:
    Without having heard it, I can only guess at what you might write about. Certainly Alston's own biography would be part of the paper, as would some background on organizations such as Estación Libre, and beyond that perhaps about the Zapatistas in Chiapas. If he talks more about student organizing, then something about student-led reform movements might be appropriate.
    Then there would be a tie-in to the course and world history theme. Indigenous independence movements, international solidarity of oppressed groups, and how students have tried to organize to change their societies are some that spring to my mind based on the event announcement. But others are possible and may occur to you based on the presentation itself.
  • Professor Toyin Falola, University of Texas, Austin, "A Welfare State: Discourses and Practices of Modernization in Southwestern Nigeria, 1940-1960"
    Wednesday, May 3, 2006, IV Theater 2, 12:30-1:45pm
    "I will attempt is to see the texts generated after the Second World War as economic and political manifestoes that speak to us about emerging notions of citizenship, the "nation", and the agenda of progress. This can be characterized as an elite project, but one that attained a consensus as a nationality project. I will raise three issues, all under-privileged in the literature: how the Yoruba "race" was constructed; how the idea of "progress" became a meta-narrative; and culture was linked with politics."
  • El Norte: a Film Screening and Moderated Discussion
    Wednesday, May 3, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
    , Multicultural Center Theater
    The film will be followed by a discussion moderated by Maria Herrera-Sobek, Luis Leal Professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies. Presented by the UCSB Immigration Working Group.
  • *Mark Schuller, "Killing with Kindness? Presentation and Discussion
    Thursday, May 4, 5 PM, Free MultiCultural Center Lounge
    This informal presentation, followed by a discussion, focuses on the effects of international assistance, in particular aide from the U.S., on Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere. A graduate student in Sociology at UCSB, Mark Schuller has spent the last two years in Haiti, working with women's non-governmental organizations.

May 7 - May 13, 2006 (back to top)

  • *Kevin McKiernan, "The Kurds—A People in Search of Their Homeland"
    Tuesday, May 9 / 8 pm / Campbell Hall
    Santa Barbara-based Kevin McKiernan, a photo journalist for more than thirty years, wrote and directed the award-winning PBS documentary Good Kurds, Bad Kurds. His eye-opening illustrated lecture based on his just released book will explore the plight of the Kurds, the largest ethnic group in the world without their own state.
    General public $10 / UCSB students $8
  • After Innocence with filmmaker Jessica Sanders and exoneree Herman Atkins
    Thursday, May 11 / 7:30 pm / Campbell Hall
    Both riveting and disturbing —Village Voice
    This Sundance Festival Jury Prize-winning documentary tells the dramatic and compelling story of seven innocent men wrongfully imprisoned for decades and then released after DNA evidence proved their innocence. (2005, 95 min.)
    Co-presented with the UCSB Center on Police Practices and Community

    General public $6 / UCSB students $5
  • *John Lee (UCSB History prof.), "Beyond the Battlefield: New Perspectives on the History of Warfare."
    Friday, May 12, 4:00 p.m. in HSSB 1174. [originally scheduled for May 1]
    Prof. Lee's lecture is his acknowledgement for winning the Plous Award, given to the best young professor at UCSB. He specializes in ancient Greek history.
  • Video presentation on the recent "French Youth Riots" (at 4:00pm) and panel "Frenchness and the African Diaspora: Post-Colonial Strategies of Containment in Contemporary France."
    Friday May 12, at 4:00-7:00pm (South Hall 2635)
    The panel will be introduced and moderated by Peter Bloom (Department of Film Studies, UCSB). Charles Tshimanga-Kashama (University of Nevada-Reno) will talk on "Globalization, the African Diaspora, and Popular Music: Challenging the Concept of Identity in Contemporary France." Didier Gondola(Purdue University) will speak on: "Colonization, Indigenization, and the Othering of black and beur Youth in France."
    This panel is sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, the Departments of Black Studies, French and Italian, Film Studies, and History, and UCSB Graduate Division.
  • Nancy Cleeland, "The hows and whys of the 'labor beat'."
    Friday, May 12, 7 p.m.
    in the Flying A Studios Room, University Center.
    This Pulitzer-Prize winning labor reporter for the Los Angeles Times covered the 2002 West Coast dock strike, the epic Southern California grocery conflict in 2003, and the politics of the labor movement, both state and national.
    NOTE: this is the opening keynote lecture for a graduate student conference on global labor issues running all day Saturday in the HSSB. Any one of the panels would be highly suitable for this hist 2c paper assignment:
    9:15-11:15 am (HSSB 4020): Work and Power in a Global Economy
    (HSSB 4041): American Communities and American Citizenship
    12:30 pm-2:15 pm: Politics and the Corporation in Postwar America (HSSB 1231)
    Engendering the World of Work (HSSB 4041)
    Collars, Color, and Class (HSSB 4020)
    2:30-4:15 pm: The Agribusiness Agenda (HSSB 4020)
    Clients and their Care in the New Service Economy (HSSB 4041)
    For more information on the papers presented in the panels, contact Prof. Marcuse.

May 14 - May 21, 2006 (back to top)

  • SCREENING: Network: The Antiquities Trade, directed by Andreas Apostolidis
    Monday, May 15 / 5:00 PM, History Department, HSSB 4020
    NETWORK, an eye-opening documentary by Andreas Apostolidis, focuses on the illicit trade of Greek antiquities and how it mirrors the deeper crisis facing our shared global cultural heritage. The film takes viewers from locations in Greece, Southern Italy, and Turkey, straight through to the auction floor at Christie’s. It also highlights important cases such as the Euphronios krater, Corinth Museum theft, the Getty Museum, and the Robin Symes and Giacomo Medici prosecutions.
    Sponsored by: Interdisciplinary Archaeology Research Focus Group
  • Hostage with filmmaker Constantine Giannaris
    Monday, May 15 / 7:30 pm / Campbell Hall (2004, 105 min.)
    Compelling, chilling and immediate -- Variety
    Inspired by the real-life story of a bus hijacking in Greece, Hostage explores the sensitive issue of Greek-Albanian relations through the story of a young man who takes over an intercity bus headed toward the Albanian border. The tension builds to a harrowing conclusion.
    Co-presented with the James & Sarah Argyropoulos Endowment in Hellenic Studies at UCSB in association with the Consulate General of Greece in Los Angeles

    General public $6 / UCSB students $5
  • TALK: The Poet's Duty in Time of War, by Sojourner Kincaid Rolle
    Tuesday, May 16 / 12:00 PM, McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB
    In early 2003, a White House symposium was planned to discuss the role of writers in American society and those invited prepared to comment on the about to be launched war in Iraq. Claiming it was "inappropriate to turn a literary event into a political forum", Mrs. Bush canceled the symposium. What is the work of poets during wartime? Is it to write the obituaries for the newspapers or the eulogies for the mourning church? Memorials for the park dedication and inscriptions for the obelisks and headstones?
    Sojourner Kincaid Rolle, poet, freelance writer, playwright, is the author of Common Ancestry (Mille Grazie, 1999). Her work is included in the anthologies, The Geography of Home (Heyday Press, 1999) and The Poetry of Peace (Capra Press, 2002). Rolle's current project is a memoir, The Promise, inspired by William Stafford, a 20th century poet who spent World War II in a camp for conscientious objectors. Rolle is the Community Outreach Coordinator for the UCSB Center for Black Studies.
  • Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome, discussion by Joy DeGruy Leary
    Tuesday, May 16, 6:30 PM
    / MultiCultural Center Lounge
    A theory developed by Dr. Leary, Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome is an explanation of the adaptive survival behaviors in African American Communities throughout the United States and the Diaspora. This discussion aims to address some of these behaviors. Among other works, Dr. Leary has published Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome - America's Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing, in addition to leading numerous workshops and lecturing on race around the world.
  • **"IRAN: The Next War?": PANEL DISCUSSION
    Tues, May 16, 7:00 pm
    , IV Theater II
    Organized by Reza Aslan, author of No God But God
    Panelists: Dr. Juan Campo, Religious Studies;
    Dr. Richard Falk, Global Studies
    Mateo Farzaneh, History Ph.D. Candidate
    Moderated by Dr. Lisa Hajjar, Law and Society
  • **Film: WALKOUT (1968 East LA high schools), with special guest Sal Castro
    May 17, 2006, 7:00 p.m., IV Theatre, Free Admission
    This event brings to campus the great teacher and community activist Sal Castro, along with the film he helped to inspire. Walkout is the stirring true story of the Chicana/o students of East LA, who in 1968 staged several dramatic walkouts in their high schools to protest academic prejudice and dire school conditions. Along the way, the students learn profound lessons about embracing their own identity and standing up for what they believe. Walkout is a vivid reminder that people can change the world.
  • TALK: Race, Crime, and Citizenship, by Kimberle' Williams Crenshaw (Law, Columbia University/UCLA)
    Thursday May 18, 5:00 PM, MultiCultural Center Theater
    The system of imprisonment has huge consequences, not only for those incarcerated and their families, but for the society as a whole. Incarceration has been seen as a perverse economic system: the "prison-industrial complex", but it is also a threat to democracy. A relic of slavery, a system of racial despotism, a deeply gendered institution, the criminal "justice" system is also the nation's most comprehensive apparatus for disenfranchising the poor and nonwhite population of the United States.
    Kimberle' Williams Crenshaw is Professor of Law at Columbia University and at the UCLA Law School. A pioneering voice in Critical Race Theory, she has written widely on civil rights, race and racism, and black feminism. Crenshaw's talk is the keynote address in the New Racial Studies Project's Race, Crime, And Justice symposium that will take place on the UCSB campus on May 18 and 19, 2006 http://www.newracialstudies.ucsb.edu

    Sponsors: New Racial Studies Project; MultiCultural Center; Melvin Oliver, Dean, Social Sciences; Eileen Boris, Hull Chair in Women's Studies, Citizenship and Democracy in the 21st Century Research Focus Group, IHC
  • *TALK: "Lyndon Johnson's Living-Room War: The Johnson Administration, TV News, and Vietnam," by Chester Pach (History, Ohio University)
    Thursday, May 18 / 7:00 PM, McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB
    Chester Pach, Associate Professor of History at Ohio University, will speak on the role played by the US news media in the Vietnam War, the subject of his forthcoming book The First Television War: TV News, the White House, and Vietnam. A specialist on the relationship between television news and presidential policymaking, his books include Arming the Free World: The Origins of the United States Military Assistance Program, 1945-1950 (1991). He was a Fulbright professor at the University of Otago in New Zealand and winner of the Stuart L. Bernath Article Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR).
  • **Human Rights Watch International Film Festival
    Friday, May 19 / 7:30 pm / Lobero Theatre
    Saturday, May 20 / 10 am-9:15 pm / Victoria Hall Theater
    The most morally engaged, socially far-reaching annual film series...offers a different kind of global tour, conducted without the usual rose-colored glasses and tourist distractions. —The New York Times
    For the first time in Santa Barbara, the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival is a program of 8 intelligent, inspiring and indispensable feature films and documentaries from around the globe, articulating many of the human, environmental and geo-political stories of our times.
    For details see the Human Rights Watch Film Festival page.
    $6 individual tickets (advance sale: A&L box office
    • NOTE: if you are planning on using one of these films for your topic, since it is so close to the paper draft due date, I recommend that you research the film in advance, starting with the link on the festival page, but also googling for reviews etc.
    • **State of Fear—The Truth About Terrorism, with filmmaker Peter Kinoy and other guests
      Friday, May 19 / 7:30 pm / Lobero Theatre
      "One of the most remarkable explorations of recent history ever conducted" —Salon.com.
      The acclaimed 2005 documentary State of Fear juxtaposes the spectacular beauty of Peru with disturbing revelations about the terrorism, violence, abuses of civil authority and social breakdown that racked the Andean nation for several decades. (Pamela Yates, Paco de Onís & Peter Kinoy, 2005, 94 min.)
    • **Mardi Gras—Made in China
      Saturday, May 20 / 10 am
      / Victoria Hall Theater
      Focusing on the lives of four young Chinese women working in the largest Mardi Gras bead factory in the world, this film tracks the bead trail from Asia to Bourbon Street, poignantly exposing the inequities of globalization. (David Redmon, 2004, 72 min.)

Books (back to top)

These are rather "random" suggestions--recent books that I've seen or heard reviewed in the media, as well as some that I've found while trying to answer student requests.
Suggestions are welcome--e-mail me: marcuse@history.ucsb.edu.

  • A student asked in a 4/16 e-mail: "I was wondering if, for paper two, I could read the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx? If not, any other suggestions?"
    • My answer: "I am actually thinking of something (book, presentation) that addresses a contemporary issue more directly. Schama, CrossingsOf course, there are lots of people and groups who still draw on the Manifesto, for example: <http://www.marxist.net/marx/m2frame.htm?today.htm>"
    • Or, from a recent snippet of an interview I heard on the radio:
      Sharon Smith, Subterranean Fire: A History of Working-Class Radicalism in the United States (Haymarket Books, 2006), 320 pages ($10 at amazon)
      "brings working-class history to light and reveals its lessons for today"
  • Simon Schama, Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution (Ecco, 2006), 448 pages.
  • I mentioned Gavin Menzies' book 1421: The Year China Discovered America as a topic possibility in lecture. Menzies, 1421I want to note that an appropriate research question for this book would NOT be "Did the Chinese 'discover' the Americas in 1421? (that is far to broad to settle with primary research), BUT RATHER something very limited, like examining ONE of Menzies' claims, like: "Were the remains of a Chinese junk discovered in the Sacramento river?" That latter question is something that you can investigate in the scope of a 4-page paper, whereas the former is the subject of countless long reviews by experts in the field, who pick apart many of Menzies' arguments one by one.
  • Student e-mail: "I was wondering if I could write my second paper on Timothy Garton Ash's "The Magic Lantern." As stated in the editorial reviews, "The Magic Lantern" is one of those rare books that define a historic moment, written by a brilliant witness who was also a participant in epochal events. In this book, Ash creates a stunningly evocative portrait of the revolutions that swept Communism from Eastern Europe in 1989 and whose after-effects will resonate for years to come. As for my topic of interest, I wanted to write about the negatives of communism in Eastern Europe as a result of poverty, repression, lack of privacy, and communists' obsession with destroying the past."
    • Prof's answer: This would be an ok book, but it doesn't address the questions you're interested in. There are many other books that focus on the negatives of communism, but this one really has to do with the process of how the revolutions emerged in 5 (I think) countries. If you want other suggestions we should meet.

Advice and Answers to Questions (added 5/19/06) [back to top]

Points 2-11 below are answers to e-mails that I've received about various events and topics.

  1. I didn't have time at the end of yesterday's lecture to present the following points I'd prepared, so here they are, with the advice from Tuesday's lecture as well:
    • Main Goals of 2nd paper assignment are to learn and develop skills in:
      • Research: Get to the bottom of "the facts"--collect information, assess its validity. Who created it? Is it reliable? The the extent that a range of truth is possible, is this purported information inside or outside of that range?
      • Analysis and Interpretation of Data. Use theory--concepts and framework from the course (paradigms, EIEIO, a world-historical perspective) to derive meaning from your research.
      • Present your results clearly and convincingly in writing.
    • Four pieces of advice to produce a good paper:
      1. Keep your topic focused. It should be narrow enough to be manageable in 4 pages! Don't overdo the event description--it is just a lead-in to your paper, not the main thing. It should merely show where you got the idea to do this topic.
      2. DO NOT EDITORIALIZE! You are NOT trying to "prove" that a certain position or strategy is "right," you are trying to weigh the "truth value " of a factual question.
      3. Different topics will require different approaches. Some topics (about which little is known) will need more background information, while other (more controversial) issues will require detailed assessment of information. For example, on the immigration analogy that I presented in lecture, while many sites merely present (widely varying) numbers of illegal immigrants in the US today, the FAIR organization discusses at length where the data comes from and how it is used to create those estimates. POINT: don't just cite a number and trust that source, but examine various sources and argue which one has the most plausible estimate.
      4. Keep your questions narrow and focused on factual issues that you can resolve.
        • Example 1: do NOT ask "Is illegal immigration good or bad?" NOR "What is the best solution to the high rate of illegal immigration?" BUT "Does illegal immigration reduce wages for high school dropouts? For skilled workers? You might ask: What net effect does it have on the standards of living of various groups in the US? But that may already be beyond the scope of the paper--if you are really examining various primary data on that question.
        • Example 2: do NOT ask whether raising taxes is good or bad, BUT (for example) how much will raising taxes cost in lost production, in administrative overhead, over what period of time.
  2. A lot of people have asked about the film "After Innocence." For example:
    "Last week I attended the documentary by Jessica Sanders, "After Innocence", and I have been pretty stuck when it comes to relating it to the course. I don't know how familiar you are with the film, but the one connection I have made with the course is to relate the statement Sanders is making against the Justice System to the ideas presented by enlightenment thinkers like Rousseau. This connection seems like it might be a stretch though. I was wondering if you could offer any suggestions about how to link the course to this documentary more closely."
    Here is a synthesis of my answers:
    • First, I'm thinking that if you don't have questions yourself and can't see relevant connections, this probably isn't a good event to choose. As your questions indicate, this is not the most obvious topic, nor the easiest. And it may be difficult to find the right resources to do research on it. This paper is not an insignificant portion of your grade (10+10%), so it would be advisable to pick a topic that isn't difficult from the get-go. The human rights film festival this weekend has some really excellent topics. See the updated events page. With that said, let me offer some ideas. Not having seen the film, I'm at somewhat of a disadvantage, but I'll try.
    • One set of questions has to do with our legal system (in the US), and beyond that to standards of evidence developed in other countries as well. We developed a trial by jury system with a standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt" in order to ensure that innocent people do not get convicted.
      When did this come about? Where? Why? Who was for it, who against? What system(s) came before? What abuses did it solve? These are factual questions that you can research for an "informational" type paper. You might deal with only one (if they can find enough material) or several of such questions.
    • Another set of questions has to do with how our state deals with people it has unintentionally harmed. What power does "the state" have to impose punishments on individuals? Where did it come from? What recourses are built into our system (appeals, for example)? Were they always there? What about compensation for incorrectly convicted and imprisoned victims? What programs are there (if any)? Why or why not? What efforts to create programs? Who is creating them? Who is against them? Why?
      Again, one of these questions might be enough, or several.
      A well-research case study might also be appropriate.
    • Relate to course: How do states interact with their citizens? How is the balance of power (checks on the power of the state) maintained? Indoctrination, physical force? Do economic considerations play a role--a greater role than questions of justice? Why do people mobilize for and against causes? There are many more possibilities as well.
      Also, many questions about the role of science in objectifying questions of guilt or innocence might be appropriate--whatever curiosity the film sparked in you? Why did you/they choose that film from all of the events? Why did the filmmaker(s) make it? What questions or issues were they trying to deal with by making it? Thinking about this should yield other possibilities.
    • see sample paper
  3. The Kurds—A People in Search of Their Homeland
    • Not having seen the film, it's hard for me to comment, but...
      Ideas of "nations" having a right to or belonging on certain territories emerge during a certain period of history for certain reasons (19th century, coincident with the rise of popular participation in gov't and interactions between states). How does the Kurdish case compare with that? Why did they not yet manage to get "their" state? What stands in the way of them doing that?
    • see sample paper
  4. I went to see Jane Fonda for the event, and I don't know if you went but her main themes had feminist and individualist undertones. I was wondering how I could apply that to a world scale and to the course as a whole, or if I should try to go to another event.
    • Next week we'll be covering various movements that ultimately led to women gaining political and economic rights in various societies.
      Could such strategies work in all societies?
      How might they need to be modified?
      How do individual peOple and Elite women (Fonda would probably be more an example of the latter, even in the 1970s) play a role in such movements?
      What obstacles challenge them? How do they overcome those?
      How do they vary from cultural region to region?
      Is there an example of an Asian or African "Jane Fonda"? What is analogous, what is not?
      Those would be some of the questions.
  5. I recently watched the movie "Everything is Illuminated", about a guy searching for his family's roots in Ukraine, for another class. It deals with atrocities committed against the Jews by the Nazis, specifically in one village. I was wondering if I could do some research into the story/village of the film for the second paper.
    • It might be hard to get much more information on just that village, but putting the historical event into the larger context of how the Nazis were able to implement genocide in the Ukraine, or what it means for a family member to search for roots, might be some aspects that you could follow-up on more easily. Have you tried to do some background research already? Maybe the teacher of that course could help you get started (I'm not familiar with the film, although it is very much in my research interest!).
    • NOTE: Events, films or books from another class may only be used for this assignment IF any writing done for the other class is substantially different from what you would be doing for this one. If the other class also requires additional research on that event/film/book, it is definitely NOT acceptable.
  6. Professor, im a little lost as to my second paper topic. Conincidently, i have read about Wangari Maathai and actually attend her discussion a few weeks ago unknowning it actually corresponded to this class. I think i could do a good job with it,im just not sure [how well] I could relate it to our course..Do you have any ideas? Also i think the Talk on Race, Crime, and Citizenship, by Kimberle' Williams Crenshaw (Law, Columbia University/UCLA) would be really interesting to look into and obviously coresponds well with the Equiano piece. Which do you think would produce a 'better' paper?
    • I think both topics could result in an excellent paper. The question might be: which one is easier for YOU to do and understand background research on, and which can YOU better analyze using frameworks from the course. Since you went to the first one on your own, I'd guess that you might have more personal interest in and connection to it.
    • see sample paper 1, sample paper 2
  7. I have a couple of questions regarding the second paper. Does the paper need to be about a specific event or book? You mentioned as an example in class a paper on immigration. There is no specific event that was attended but the topic is very relevant to today and also can be easily tied into the world history perspective. Could another topic that may not have a specific event but is still relevant be ok to use for this paper?
    • Well, your topic should have some kind of "prompt" or lead-in. If it is not a campus event, it could be an article or editorial in a newspaper or journal. The proposed legislation and May 1 protests supplied lots of those.
      Please note that this is NOT an opportunity to editorialize, but to do research and provide a historical and theoretical perspective on what is going on.
  8. I was just wondering if I could do my essay on the Armenian Genocide. Why the United States has not recognized it and resulting actions that have followed the entire tragedy.
    • The topic itself is fine, but I'm not sure you'll be able to research a question like US "recognition" adequately. In fact, our ambassador at the time (Morgenthau Sr.) was one of the main sources of information about what was going on. You have to come up with a manageable question that you can research. Try formulating some and discuss them with me or your TA. For example, look at a single village or indcident, and find out exactly what sources report about it. A lot has been written about Musa Dagh.
  9. I am writing to ask you whether or not it is okay to do a write up about this topic: The Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I plan to use the text the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Charles Smith, to analyze and interpret the significance of colonial powers, and the ideas of nationalism, to creating an independent state in such a disputed territory. I plan to relate this topic to the course through an evaluation of colonialism, its impacts, and moreover the power of the "West" next to that of the"Arab" east. I also can support my claims by using the U.N. Resolution 242 provided in the reader. I can tie in with world history by showing how states become important when they are backed by equally strong or stronger states, and how those at the other end (the Palestinians) are drastically affected and subjugated.
    • The idea of this paper isn't to 'prove a point,' but to investigate the truth or background of a claim or claims. The tie-ins you suggest are all fine, but what you are suggesting is WAY too broad. For a short paper like this you will have to come up with a much more limited, focused question to investigate. Try formulating some possibilities.
  10. I attended one of the lectures this past weekend regarding Labor (Saturday, May 13). As I read the material and go through notes, I am having a hard time relating the presentations to the class in a historical context unless I make assumptions.
    I saw two presentations, African American Women and their Labor and Sexually Harassments against Female Migrant workers. Would it be okay to explain and then talk about the the women's suffrage movement and their rights, the changes when industrialization decreased and women became wage earners to support the family?
    When you explained it in lecture on Tuesday, it made sense but now as I am sitting down and doing this, my event does not have any direct relations with what we're studying unless I take it into a broader context.
    • Many of the topics may only relate to the course in a broader context, but that does not mean that your whole paper should be about the broader issue. First pick a narrow question to investigate and "get to the bottom of it," then briefly show its relevance in the broader context of world history (as a case study of something, for example--as you suggest).
      Without having heard the talks myself I could only guess at some of the statements made by the speakers. You should pick one (or at most a few) of them and investigate, research them.
      For example: How many migrant women are harassed? By whom? Why? *How do we know?* What effects does it have? (keeping their wages low? fewer migrant women competing for jobs? keeping men's wages from dropping? ...) How do we know?
      Do you see how specific the actual research can be?
  11. I went to the "Beyond the Battlefield: New Perspectives on the History of Warfare" lecture given by John Lee, and I am having a difficult time connecting this topic to concepts from class. I am alsolittle confused about what the paper is about. After summarizing the lecture in one or two paragraphs, am I supposed to research the Greek army and Cyrus/Artaxerxer, and then tie in course concepts by talking about other examples like perhaps Napoleon's army?? I am determined to write my paper on this lecture because I don't have much time and there was a star by it, so I know an essay about this can be done.
    • The summary of the event is not the important part, it is only the introduction to your topic, the prompt that got you asking a certain question. Say just enough to develop that question.
      It might indeed be something like what you suggest: What role did the daily routines of soldiers' lives determine the success (or failure) of Napoleon's campaigns? How did he feed and house his huge armies? Did their mission to "liberate" peoples of central Europe from monarchical rule and introduce enlightened democracy benefit or suffer from how his soldiers behaved? (Think about the source about Egypt from the midterm!)
      Could also be about other wars ...
      I hope this helps.

prepared for web by Harold Marcuse, April. 18, 2006, last updated: see header
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