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

by Prof. Marcuse
(prof's homepage, Course homepage, Sample papers)
page created Aug. 24, 2009, updated x/09

4 Sample Papers from 2008
3 Sample Papers from 2003
5 Sample Papers from 2006
Oct. 1-Oct.

May 4-10, 2008
May 11-16,
Possible & Recommended
outside link:
UCSB featured events
FAQ/Answers to Questions
*, **, ***: recommended, more recommended, highly recommended events

GauchoSpace site for electronic paper submission (pairwise anti-plagiarism detection program)

The Assignment [from the 2008 syllabus]

  1. Event/book analysis. (1000-1200 words, ca. 4 pages)
    Attend some 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 authorís intention(s) and arguments were. Do some background research on the author or topic, so that you can put it into (a historical) context. Depending on their detail and quality, 2-4 outside sources will be necessary. Use concepts and arguments from this course to analyze the film or presentation, and try to relate it to one or more of the topics of the course. What insights have you gained by applying what you have learned in this course? You should address counterarguments; however, this is not an editorial, but a balanced assessment.
    • Paper: 20%; due Tuesday May 20, 12:30pm in lecture.
    • Revised version: 5%; due Thursday June 5 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.

Sept. 28 - October 4, 2009 (back to top)

Oct. 5 - 11, 2009(back to top)

Oct. 12-18, 2009 (back to top)

Oct. 19-25, 2009 (back to top)

  • "How America Can Bring Arabs and Israelis Together Towards Peace and Coexistence"
    David Makovsky, Senior Fellow and Director of the Washington Institute's Project on
    Middle East Peace and co-author with Dennis Ross of the just-released book, Myths,
    Illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East and
    Ghaith al-Omari, previously Senior Advisor to former Prime Minister
    Mahmoud Abbas and currently Advocacy Director
    for the American Task Force on Palestine
    8:00 p.m. / Wednesday, October 21 / Free
    UCSB Campbell Hall

Oct. 26-31, 2009 (back to top)

Books (back to top)

  • Books that I mention in lecture are generally suitable for the paper--you should purchase them or check them out of the UCSB or Goleta/Santa Barbara public library (if available, of course). Such books must still be approved by me or your TA, however.
  • You may also suggest your own (just beware of using books you read for another course: you may run afoul of academic conduct rules)--definitely talk to or e-mail me to discusss this: marcuse@history.ucsb.edu.
  • Below are some suggestions:
  • Adam Hochschild, King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1998).
  • Steve Coll, The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century (New York: Penguin, 2008), 688 pages [no, I wouldn't expect you to read the whole thing!]($21 at amazon) (4/1/08 author interview with Terri Gross; Washington Post Book World transcript of on-line interview)
  • 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 (updated 5/6/08) [back to top]

I will include here my answers to e-mails that I've received about various events and topics.
For my answers the last time I taught this course, see my 2006 2c Events Page.

  1. Here I offer some generic advice on how to write this paper:
    • 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 the information? Is it reliable? To the extent that a range of possible 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, including Nietzsche's categories of doing history, EIEIO, a world-historical perspective) to make sense of and 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 numbers of illegal immigrants in the US today, while many sites merely present (widely varying) numbers, 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 blindly 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. E-mail sent May 16:
    • After visiting several discussion sections this week, I think the vast majority of you are well on the way to writing good papers. You have grasped the fact that the authors of events, even those that at first seem purely factual, actually have one or more theses/arguments underlying what they present. And I think/hope that you understand what I said in lecture yesterday, that applying some of the course concepts is NOT the main point of the paper, but merely a means to help you come up with a question to ask about what that author presented. For example: Are they missing or ignoring an important potential cause? If they are presenting a "monumental" history, what facts are they ignoring? Or what alternative explanations can account for the same developments? If they are taking a "Western" perspective, does looking at their event from a "World" point of view open up hitherto unseen causes or effects?
    • Once you have found such questions, I think at this point the main stumbling block is understanding what "research" is, and then what conducting research entails.
    • For example, I talked with a "Nueva Linda" (the film about Guatemala) group. After describing the film and event, here are some questions we came up with: What was the nature of the 1996 peace accord? Between whom was it made? What did it say about rural "squatters" on privately owned land? Did "peace" ever ensue from it, or was there always a level of violence between 1996 and the Nueva Linda massacre in 2004? What sparked that incident? Was it reported in the press at all? In the US? Mexico? Rest of the world?
    • Once you have such questions, you would turn to the internet, databases on the internet, and the library. Here I want to point out to some powerful internet databases that you can access through the UCSB library. (If you want to access them from off campus, you need to set up your browser as a proxy server--instructions are on the library website.)
    • These are the newspaper and news media databases for the Los Angeles Times, New York Times (both since the 1880s), and Lexis-Nexis Academic (with various international news sources, but not going back as far), and for academic articles Expanded Academic ASAP. For some questions, the Latin America Data Base, or the English-language China People's Daily (since 1946), or PAIS Public Affairs, as well as many others, may be relevant (ask at the reference desk, or browse the list, reading the descriptions in the right frame, to find pertinent ones). You go to:
      and scroll down, or click on the first letter of the database name (if you know it) to jump down.
    • Then you need to think of some keywords relevant to your topic to search for. If you come up with results that help to answer your question(s), those are your outside sources. By the way, if you are using newspaper articles as sources, it might be that several short articles from the same paper would count as "one" outside source.
    • Finally, regarding the "Wikipedia issue" and using web pages as sources, you need to evaluate the validity of the information you find there. There are many helpful guides on how to do this. The Berkeley library has one of the best. See:
    • Good luck--I hope you write informative and insightful papers, teaching us something new while learning!
    • Sincerely,
      Prof. Marcuse
    • PS. Several people have been e-mailing me asking about topics because they have not attended an event yet. My suggestion at this point would be to get a book in the current titles section of the UCen bookstore--straight ahead on the entry level, then to the right. The are many books on relevant current topics there, and you can browse to select one in your interest, length and price range. Once you figure out the overall argument of the book (reviews and jacket blurbs help with that), you can probably focus on one chapter or issue it raises. A book with notes in the back will guide you quickly to the "outside sources" you need for the paper.

Answers to Questions (updated 5/16/08) [back to top]

Here are some e-mails that I've received about various events and topics, with my answers.
For my answers the last time I taught this course, see my 2006 2c Events Page.

  1. Hi Prof. Marcuse ... during lecture about two weeks ago you mentioned an event called "9/11" photos and it was suppose to be happening tomorrow at 8AM. Unfortunately, when I looked at the event calendar on the course website there is no event by that name or time I was wondering if I have made a mistake because I was very much interested going that event. Please email me back and let me know if it is still an event that I can attend and the location.
    • Prof's Answer: That would be Monday at 8 *p*m., and it is in Campbell Hall. See:
      Anyway, I mentioned it because although I'm sure it will be a fascinating event, I don't think it is especially suitable for this assignment, and I don't want a whole lot of people trying to use it. With that said, just about any event would be possible, and I can think of several topics this event might raise.
      Such as: how a historical record of an event is created, who limits access to information, who gains access to information and how, the role of journalism in shaping what we know about current events, the role of photography in documenting events and in selectively documenting them ...
      However, it may not be easy to do productive research on any of those questions.
      So, yes, you can attend this event, I just don't encourage it because I'm not sure what the research angle might be.
  2. I'm in your History 2C course, and I wanted to ask your approval on an upcoming event for the second paper assignment.
    It looks to be just the sort of thing that would work.
    David Horowitz will be speaking on contemporary political issues facing the country and college campuses. He will specifically address the advertisement the David Horowitz Freedom Center took out in the Daily Nexus.
    Speech topic: "The Jihad against America and Israel"
    Here's a link to the event on Facebook.
    • Prof's answer: That would be an ok event, x, and I'll add it to the Events page.
      Since Horowitz is so controversial (several institutions have worked to check the research behind his recent book The Professors), there will probably be several research angles that you can take to examine the claims he makes.
      In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I have examined Horowitz's work myself, since he holds an essay my grandfather wrote responsible for what he sees as the persecution of the political right wing. (If you're interested, google Horowitz Marcuse and you'll find what I came up with.) I won't be grading your paper though, so that shouldn't matter.
      Thanks for the event.
  3. I attended the event entitled "Iron Curtain Polyphonies" and I know you did as well so I was wondering if you could clarify a few of my questions in regard to the event. Looking through my notes as well as the event description, I believe what Dr. Molden was trying to illustrate that a global/collective memory of the cold war does not exist throughout Europe and the US. I know he used the idea of different periodizations to shows that Europeans "arranged" the timeline of the war differently. Also I wanted to ask about what kind of research I should look for. After hearing your research tips on Tuesday, I am still confused. I originally thought I should look for information illustrating the differences American and European perspectives of the cold war. Or should I stick to that and look more closely with in the regional lines of Europe? As you can see I am a little confused about the overall research part of the paper. I'm just not sure where to start. Your help is greatly appreciated.
    • It sounds like you understood one of Molden's main points--I was worried that many students would be utterly confused.
      Yes, comparing the periodizations by the US vs. Europe would be one approach. A way to do that might be to take a specific Cold War event, like the Cuban Missile Crisis (he said it was crucial for US memory) or the 1968 Prague Spring (crucial to European Cold War memory), and compare how they were remembered. If you're limited to English-language sources, you could look for some articles in newspapers or newsmagazines on a major "round year" anniversary (20, 25 or 30 years later) of either event, some in the US (Time, New York Times), and some Europe (Economist, London Times), and compare them. If, for instance the NYT had a big story 20 years after Oct. 1962, and the LT doesn't, but the LT did a big thing 20 years after Aug. 1968 while the NYT didn't, that evidence would suggest that those memories were indeed different in the 1980s. But maybe by 1992/98 (after the Cold War) both events were worthy of note in both countries--that would indicate a convergence.
      This is just one idea that occurs to me about how to do research on that thesis, since the newspaper databases are available online (through the UCSB library website on campus). I have no idea what you'll find, but even a null result is a result (neither event was remembered at all in the 80s or 90s)--you would have to say where you looked and for what, and that there wasn't anything.
      Does this make sense?
  4. For those who attended the film Screamers, you can access most parts of Samantha Powers' book America and the Age of Genocide on amazon (searchable) and google books.
  5. I talked with a "Massacre at Nueva Linda" (the film about Guatemala) group in a discussion section. After describing the film and event, here are some questions we came up with: What was the nature of the 1996 peace accord? Between whom was it made? What did it say about rural "squatters" on privately owned land? Did "peace" ever ensue from it, or was there always a level of violence between 1996 and the Nueva Linda massacre in 2004? What sparked that incident? Was it reported in the press at all? In the US? Mexico? Rest of the world? (to: Nueva Linda event description; sample paper on Nueva Linda)

prepared for web by Harold Marcuse, March 26, 2008, last updated: see header
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