Day I: What is a Primary Source? A primary source is anything built, produced, written, painted, carved, narrated, or even left behind as refuse. It is the stuff that people used to live their lives, to write about their lives

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Day I: What is a Primary Source?

A primary source is anything built, produced, written, painted, carved, narrated, or even left behind as refuse. It is the stuff that people used to live their lives, to write about their lives, and to record everyday happenings. Historians use these resources to help understand and interpret how people lived in the past.

Group Work: Complete Project I: Primary Sources and Interpretations in The World History Workbook. (WHB)

Homework: Code of the Hammurabi and analysis. Analyzing using the information at hand and does not include personal opinion. Avoid personal bias like good and bad. A reasonable analysis looks for significance, consequence, and cause in the context of the source.

Day II: How to make an Argument using Historical Sources.

An argument is opinion that is supported with evidence. Without supporting evidence, the argument becomes assertion, which is something you believe to be true but lack factual proof that it is so. Remember to carefully choose support. Bias is not support, it is assertion. Therefore, saying that Native Americans were uncivilized is a bias and not an argument. Furthermore, arguments, in this context, cannot be subjective. This means that you cannot use faith or belief to make the argument. Only use facts.

Group Work: Project III (WHW)

Day III: Understanding Secondary Sources

A secondary source is a published interpretation of history, often containing primary sources. Your text book is a secondary source.

Within the framework of secondary sources, there are two primary forms of interpretation that discuss patterns.

  • Causality is the relationship between cause and effect. What caused an event, transition, or development?

  • Determinism is the outcome based on events leading up to a pivotal moment in history. This is based on a series of facts that together dictate outcome. For example, WWI was unavoidable because of nationalism, imperialism, and capitalism.

Within determinism, there are two common forms of determinism: economic and historical fiction.

  • Economic Determinism is an interpretation that looks for economic conditions to trigger behavior changes. For our purpose, the argument presented by Karl Marx, who created the concept of economic determinism, will be the central argument. We will concentrate on Marx because the AP exam concentrates on Marx and not because we endorse Marx’s argument over another. Students will couch their analysis in terms of capital and labor (ruling class, producing class) for purposes of historical analysis and test preparation.

  • Historical Fiction is another form of determinism which we will consider. This is a modern form which grew out of popular literature, television, and cinema. The genesis is in the nineteenth century and developed to promote concepts of national greatness, but persists today in literary, television, and cinema forms. This format was visited over the summer in Wolf Hall, and will be revisited in our Second Sunday movie series. Masterpiece Classic on PBS is famous for producing high quality pieces of this sort. Downton Abbey is another example. The official term for this is Men and Battles. When considering this form, students must understand that the work is intended to glorify a person or nation and thus the interpretation suffers bias. That is not to say that the bias eliminates the analysis, but that the analysis uses facts to support a point of view. Students must learn to recognize the point of view and make a counter argument based on a broader analysis of contextual history. There are many examples of this. Creasy’s Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World and Shakespeare’s Richard III are told from abjustify the victory. The facts are accurate. The question here becomes that of the modern historian, which shifts focus from point of view to holistic understanding of the situation which gave rise to the event and then the consequences of that event. In short, students must learn to democratize the information during synthesis of facts. Tell the whole story and not just one side. This is the modern definition of history which concentrates on objectivity and globalization. The successful student will learn to identify all points of view and to synthesize that information into a holistic view of events and outcomes.

Group Work: Project IV (WHW)

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