Hidden History Project:This project is meant to encourage you to do two things all historians must learn how to do: search out the hidden history of our world and bring it to light through a well written and documented paper. For this project, you are encouraged to find some aspect of history that is not well publicized and bring it to light. You can pick whichever topic you would prefer to work on, but I would highly encourage you to pick something interesting to you. If your hobby is animals, you could look at the use of horses in the Roman Empire, if you are a farmer you could look at how crops emerged and transformed societies, if you like stamps, or architecture, or art, or science, or medicine, or whatever else in the world, you can look at that aspect of ancient history for your project. The only stipulation is that you can’t pick something famous and well known. You can’t write about the Pyramids or Julius Caesar, unless you focus on a little known event or situation involving that famous item or event or person. For example, a general biography of Caesar won’t work, but a look at how he interacted with his family could be very interesting. What you are trying to do is find something not well known and become the owner, if you will, of that piece of history.
You might find this refreshing or infuriating, but at the beginning I want to give you as little direction as possible. I want you to think about what you would like to learn most about, what intrigues you or what you think will challenge you the most, and then find an interesting project idea based on that. The basic paper should be roughly 3 to 4 pages long, but it can be longer if need be. While I am looking to see your writing skills come through in this assignment, you are welcome to present your project in alternate formats besides simply through the written word. If your project includes some other creative way of demonstrating what you learned through your project, you will not be required to then write 3 to 4 pages as well. All projects must have at least one full page of writing, however, describing your project and what was gained from it. If you are thinking you might do something more visual like this, let me know what you are thinking when you submit the website assignment.
I really, really, really want this project to be something you are invested in and when the semester is over that you are proud of the work you’ve done. Therefore, please don’t pick a topic based on what will get you the best grade or what you think the instructor will like best or what sounds easiest. Make this your very own project and you will enjoy doing it and do well with it.
Your paper will be graded as followed:
5 points: Topic sentence, underlined
15 points: professionalism of the paper- few if any spelling errors, follows directions, readable, etc.
15 points: citation page, listing at least 10 sources (you can use the five websites that you found in the
beginning of the semester, even if you don’t actually site all of them in your final paper and you can use whatever citation method you prefer).
65 points: content
Perhaps the most important thing a historian can do is to pause and think about what he or she wants to learn or has learned along the journey. Often times it is during a time of reflection that the greatest insights are gained. I would like you to write three reflection pieces, a short one at the beginning of the semester that is part of the introduction post, and then one page long reflections after Units Two and Four. While you can include anything you want to in this, you should include a strength you’ve discovered, one area you feel you can still improve on, and one major insight that has come to you at that point in the semester. This is an assignment for you to put what you’ve done and what you have learned into perspective. The first reflection is part of the introduction post and counts for verifying attendance. The reflections are worth 10 points each for a total of 30 points.
Final: The purpose of this is to sum up both your individual assignments as well as the course content you studied in the book. It should be roughly 3 to 4 pages long, double spaced. It is worth 100 points, broken down as such:
5 points: Topic sentence, underlined
10 points: professionalism of the paper- few if any spelling errors, follows directions, readable, etc.
10 points: Bibliography with at least 5 sources (you can include the textbook for the course)
75 points: Content – did you answer the final essay fully and thoughtfully
Main Question: In what major ways did the ancient Mediterranean world change during the scope of this course and in what ways did the ancient Mediterranean world remain the same?
To help you focus your response: One of the main themes Historians look at when studying the past is change over time. This theme is very prevalent in this course. The area encompassing the ancient Mediterranean world was very different in 480AD than it had been in 6000BC, 3000BC, 1000BC, 480BC, 0, 314AD, or even 410AD. There were major changes in the economy, warfare, governments, gender roles, hierarchies, religion, clothing, food, national boundaries, education and just about everything else. For the final, pick four themes, areas, people, or events (one from each unit) that highlight the changes during this time. You can mix and match any of these. For example, you could choose a region from the ancient Near East, a theme from the Greeks, a person from the Hellenistic Era, or some events in the Roman Empire. Or, you could pick different people for all four units, or different events for all four, etc. Write about the things that are of most interest to you, the things you know most about and/or the things you think most help answer this question.
Advice: I heavily encourage you (meaning you will lose a lot of points if you don’t) to include information from your hidden history project and even your other historical analysis papers if applicable to strengthen your discussion. The overall theme of the essay should be one of highlighting change over time. I want to see that you have a firm understanding of this concept. The final should be around 3 to 4 pages. You should include an opening paragraph, including a topic sentence that is underlined, and a concluding paragraph. You should include at least 5 sources in a Bibliography. One of the sources can be the textbook, and you can use some from your hidden history project if applicable. They can all be web-based if you want, and you can use whichever citation style you are familiar with. Each topic for the four units should therefore be roughly one half to one page long. Try to connect the four the best you can to get you to your conclusion. As you are putting your final essay together feel free to email me with questions. I am happy to briefly look over rough drafts as well. Let me know if you have any questions on your final essay!