University of Wisconsin–Madison

Historical Arguments and Wikipedia Paragraphs in Byzantine History

Professor Leonora Neville, History 313: Introduction to Byzantine History and Civilization

Goals for Student Learning

Historical Content:

  • The basic outline of the events of the medieval Byzantine Empire
  • Major cultural and political figures and events

Historical Method:

  • What sources of information survive from the Byzantine Empire
  • How we can use medieval sources to figure out what happened
  • How the agendas of modern historians affect their presentation of the past
  • How to conduct investigative research in primary sources and secondary scholarship

Practical Skills:

  • Analytical reading
  • Analytical writing
  • Research
  • Expository writing

Assessment

16%      Discussion Participation. Assessed three times using the Participation Grading Criteria (5%, 5%, 6%)

24%      Three Quizzes (8% each)

30%      Two Historical Argument Papers based on primary source readings (15% each), graded using the Historical Argument Grading Criteria

30%      Wikipedia Article Project, graded using the Objective Narrative Grading Criteria

Wikipedia Article Project:

One well-researched, entirely substantiated and accurate paragraph pertaining to a Byzantine topic to be posted on Wikipedia. This is an exercise in objective narrative exposition, broken down into the following phases:

4%        Article Review: a review of an article in Wikipedia on a Byzantine topic using the Objective Narrative Grading Criteria. Due in Section Week 4

4%        Topic Choice & Critique: a proposal for a paragraph you plan to write/rewrite explaining the problems with the existing one. Due in Section Week 6

4%        Annotated Secondary Source Bibliography: Due in Section Week 7

4%        Annotated Primary Source Bibliography: Due in Section Week 9

6%        First Draft: Due in Section Week 11

8%        Final Draft: Due in Section Week 15

Objective Narrative Grading Criteria

Characteristics of an A paragraph:

·       It is completely accurate.

·       It is completely objective.

·       All statements are verifiable and verified.

·       All statements are supported by citations to recent scholarship.

·       All pertinent primary sources are referenced.

·       It has perfect English grammar and usage.

·       It has a well-organized structure.

·       It is elegantly written and interesting.

·       It has no proofreading errors.

·       It has correct format for citations for all sources


Historical Argument Paper Grading Criteria

Characteristics of an A paper:

·       It has a clear, well-articulated thesis in the first paragraph.

·       The argument of the paper supports the thesis well and thoroughly.

·       It amply fulfills the instructions of the paper assignment.

·       It displays careful reading of the source material.

·       It displays considered thought about the material.

·       All claims are supported by citations and explanations of the textual evidence.

·       It has excellent English grammar and usage.

·       It has a well-organized structure.

·       It has no proofreading errors.

·       It has correct citations for all sources.