Please bring your book to class on Monday and Tuesday.
- Monday 22: read Chapters 1 and 2 [readings are due the day shown. So in this case, these chapters should be finished before class on Monday.] Take notes, yes, particularly regarding the big ideas.
- Tuesday 23:
- Wednesday 24:
- Thursday – no class
- Friday 26: Chapter 3
TASK: Taking just one or two of the thematic issues we have discussed in class, write a 3-4 page essay that integrates the research you have completed into a single argument about your ancient city.
Over the semester we have pursued several lines of inquiry concerning the development of cities and civilizations. Among them are:
- The impact of geography upon the development of civilizations. The Greek polis, for example, in contrast to the empires of Mesopotamia, may be the consequence of the local topography that prohibited the expansion of state authority or the creation of large professional armies.
- How foundational myths help create a shared historical consciousness and establish order for civilizations. The first five books of the Bible (Torah), for example, lay out the cosmogony, cosmology, history, and law of the ancient Hebrews as distinct from other peoples of the Near East.
Over the past two months you have conducted some research of your own on a single city of the ancient world. It’s time to use some of the big ideas that we have pursued over the course of the semester to make sense of the information you have uncovered about your city. You have already written a first draft of a thesis, so you should have at least a governing idea for organizing your essay.
Here’s a relatively easy (and sane) way to produce a good 3-page paper in a week or two.
- Start with crafting a good THESIS. Make sure you have some hard research that supports your argument.
- ORGANIZE your thoughts. You do not have to write out a complex organizational chart or outline for your papers (though sometimes, especially on longer projects, that helps). In this case, write down four or five major points you want to make regarding your city. Remember that you are trying to ‘prove’ your argument, so they should have something to do with the thesis you wrote.
- On a piece of paper (or separate doc.) WRITE out the four or five main points in complete sentences. Rework the sentences to be as clear and precise as possible. These will be the topic sentences of your main points in the paper.
- Go through your research notes. Find one-to-three facts about your city that exemplify the main points your wrote in stage3 above. Write them down under the topic sentences on your work paper/doc. The substance of your essay is taking shape.
- Now write clearly about the research facts that you isolated. Articulate a single idea for each paragraph and add supportive information (proof) and historical detail to exemplify your point. Use clear and simple prose.
- EDIT/PROOF READ!!!!!! Besides crafting a good thesis, this may be the most important step of writing a good paper. Read through each paragraph and make sure the writing is clear and that your sentences actually say what you want them to say.
- LET THE PAPER REST FOR A DAY OR TWO. Give your head a break. Return to your essay after a day or two, read through carefully, and make changes where necessary for greater clarity. [Most people, even professionally, never give themselves enough time to do this, and it seriously diminishes the quality of the work they submit.]
— You should now have a 3-4 page essay that both presents an interpretive point about the historical development of an ancient city AND incorporates your own research —
NOTE: sometimes it helps to read your paper aloud so you can actually hear if your sentences make sense.