There is no set question for this task so it is not quite like a standard essay but in most respects it is very similar. You need to make logical arguments, you need to structure your writing, and you need to comply with the usual scholarly conventions. It is a discursive response/discursive essay (a discussion in other words) so you have more freedom than would be the case if there was a central question. What I am asking you to do is to carefully read the documents for the week you have selected analyse them and discuss them in relation to their historical context. The historical context comes mainly from the lecture pods and the class discussion. The weekly reading will usually also be very helpful for understanding the context. (But bear in mind the weekly reading may be focussed on a particular dimension of the context. Contact me if it causes confusion rather than clarification. It shouldnt be necessary to do extra reading for this task, but of course you are welcome to if you want to deepen your understanding. Whatever sources you use you should cite of course (with the exception of class discussion). One way to think of it is that you are being asked to work with documents as an historian would. Below are seven questions you should keep in mind and ask of each document as you come to it. Remember these documents are written for a particular audience at a particular time. They are not written for you so you need to step into the shoes of the intended audience to understand the document. But you also have the benefit of hindsight which you can bring to bear. You know what happened next! The authors of them didnt know they had hopes and expectations, they probably hoped or expected the document would have a certain impact. 1) What are the documents? (Include their relationship with each other.) 2) Whose are the voices (who are speaking) and what is the significance of these people or groups in terms of the documents themselves and the historical context? 3) What is the context in which the documents were produced (and what are the issues)? 4) Who is the intended audience and what are the writers objectives in producing them? 5) Why are these documents significant for historians? 7) What insights (understanding) do you get from the documents? Finally, I am not requiring you to specifically respond to each of these questions in your response. They are intended mainly as guides for you in your thinking about the documents and the associated issues. If you wish you could provide a paragraph responding to each of the questions but you might prefer to approach the task more freely, embedding your consideration of these questions in a more general discussion.
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