Description of Assignments

There are two major major assignments in this course - extensive reading and participation with reading responses, and a long integrated project on a chosen topic, much of which will be accomplished in groups.

This reading and participation portion of the grade will require both inclass discussion and writing. In addition to required attendance and participation, students will be required to write at least 3000 words in response to the readings; which of the readings that students wish to respond to and the format those responses will take will be up to the individual.  You may write daily responses of short length, highlighting your favorite questions from the reading (15 such responses at 200 words each would be fine), or you may write a couple of shorter more developed essays combining a number of readings or any combination of writings thereof.  If students wish to engage in online discussion, there will be a discussion forum for the readings as well - all submissions to this forum will count towards this 3000 word requirement.  Due to the increasing intensity of group work after Spring Break, students should expect to complete the majority (at least 2000 words) of this writing prior to that time, although some of the responses can be writings in response to the assignments of their classmates.

Beyond the reading and responses, the remainder of the work for this class revolves around a single group project, broken into several smaller assignments that will progress throughout the semester. Each group will be made up of three or four students (depending on the size of the course) and will choose a topic for the focus of their work. Examples might include: “The Fall of Rome," “The Modern Mediterranean,“ "Orientalism," “Faith and the Mediterannean," or many other options (see the bibliographies on the website for some samples).

Once the group has picked a topic, several assignments will follow developing materials for that specific theme. First, prior to spring break, the group will develop a comprehensive annotated bibliography surrounding their particular topic containing a minimum of 18 items, although a good bibliography will probably have more. The bibliography will lay the groundwork for the remainder of the semester. Using the gathered material, groups will divide the readings and sub-topics between the members of the group and each member will prepare two individual assignments based on the bibliography: a video presentation or lecture for the class of around 20 minutes in length, and a historiographic essay (10-12 pages) discussing questions pertinent to their portion of the reading.  Each group will then have a presentation day in which the rest of the students will watch their video presentations and read any supplementary readings the group would like to assign.  The group will be responsible for leading discussion on their day.  The historiographic essays will be due one week after the presentation of material in class.

The final paper, a reflective essay written jointly with the other members of the group, will be 20-25 pages and will be due at the end of the semester.  This essay should attempt to provide a comprehensive view of the various paths, topics, and debates present in the groups' bibliographies.  The goal of this essay is integration and coherence of as many points of view as possible.  If appropriate, the historiographic essays prepared prior should be used as the basis for this final essay, although the final essay should also strive for uniformity of tone rather than reading like a collection of excerpts from the prior essays.  Part of my grading of this essay will be based on how successful the group is in integrating their various points of view and ideas into a coherent whole, ie: how well they function as a group.

I will discuss the details of all of these assignments in class. We will also discuss in class methods for preparing the bibliographies, presentations and papers. Finally, further information and some examples for these assignments are available on the website.

Grading Chart:

Assignment: Percentage: Due Date:
Class Attendance and Participation 20%
Reading Responses 15% By Spring Break
Annotated Bibliography (by group) 15% March 9
Assignments for Discussion Leading Weeks [included in below] March 30
Video Presentation and Class Discussion
15% Various
Historiography Essay
15% One Week After Presenting
Final Historiography Paper (by group) 20% May 7


Last modified: Friday, January 6, 2012, 10:40 AM