Smith USask History 384 Assignments and Grading

Seminar Participation Grading Scale

 Excellent (9-10)

  • Contributes extensively and shows deep understanding of the issues raised in the readings. Listens to other students’ points and integrates them into wider discussion. Asks thoughtful questions and makes insightful comments. Situates discussion within broader historical context. Strong understanding of historical methodologies and approaches.

Very Good (8-9)

  • Contributes frequently and shows strong understanding of issues raised in the readings. Listens to other students’ points and integrates them into wider discussion. Asks thoughtful questions and makes insightful comments. Situates discussion within broader historical context. Good understanding of historical methodologies and approaches.

Good (7-8)

  • Contributes occasionally and shows good understanding of issues raised in the readings. Listens to other students’ points and integrates them into wider discussion. Asks good questions and makes good points. Often situates discussion within broader historical context. Good understanding of historical methodologies and approaches.

Average (6-7)

  • Contributes occasionally and shows average understanding of issues raised in the readings. Listens to other students’ points and tries to integrate them into wider discussion. Asks good questions and makes good points. Sometimes situates discussion within broader historical context. Some understanding of historical methodologies and approaches.

Weak (5-6)

  • Contributes occasionally, but does not always show an understanding of issues raised in the readings. Does not always follow other students’ points or try to integrate them into wider discussion. Questions and comments focus on basic rather than in-depth issues in readings. Only occasionally shows awareness of broader historical context, methodologies or approaches.

Very Weak (4-5)

  • Contributes infrequently or arrives late. Seldom shows understanding of issues raised in readings or follows the wider discussion. Questions and comments focus on basic rather than in-depth issues in readings. Rarely shows awareness of broader historical context, methodologies or approaches.

Poor (1-4)

  • Contributes rarely or not at all, or arrives late. Does not show good understanding of issues raised in readings or follow the wider discussion. Questions or comments focus on basic rather than in-depth issues in readings, or derail conversation. Does not show awareness of broader historical context, methodologies or approaches.

Absent (0)

Blog Assignment                  Staggered Due Dates

For this assignment, you will be responsible for writing a blog post for a private course blog on Textual Communities. Authors of excellent blog posts will have the opportunity to publish their work on The Recipes Project (http://recipes.hypotheses.org). Your blog post should be about 500 words long and, wherever possible, have an image. For some good examples of scholarly blog posts (including ones written by students!), see Wonders and Marvels (http://wondersandmarvels.com). Be aware of your tone—keep in mind that you are writing for a general audience who will have a short attention span. But also be thorough in your analysis and scholarship, since that audience could include several scholars who work on recipes. Any footnotes should be provided in the text itself, either by referring to the name of the manuscript or by using MLA notes; works used should be listed at the end of the post.

Blog participation is comprised of commenting on at least five posts on the course blog or The Recipes Project blog, but at least some of your comments should be on student posts. The same criteria used in assessing seminar participation will be used here, except the scale will be 1 (good question or comment that furthers discussion), 0.5 (average question or comment that does not further discussion) and 0 (no comment or just something along the lines of ‘interesting’ or ‘good’).

I’ve included below some suggestions for possible blog posts, though others might occur to you. A sign-up sheet will be provided for due dates. Please let me know at least a couple weeks before your deadline what your topic will be so that you don’t overlap with another student in terms of content. For some of the topics (eg. making a recipe; or, one person analyzes aqua mirabilis, while another looks at a remedy for consumption), you might work with a partner on the recipe, but write up separate posts on the experience.

Some Suggestions for the Blog Posts

Analyze a remedy in detail: process, ingredients, uses, efficacy, donor, relation to collection

Patterns of contributors in the text (social status and gender)?

Analyze a group of related remedies for underlying rationale

Changes over time?

Make one of the cookery recipes and analyze the process.

Sources of household knowledge.

Discuss the creation of the collection.

What do the types of remedies tell us?

How was the collection used?

What do the types of cookery recipes tell us?

Consider the ways in which the collection is gendered.

What do the types of household recipes tell us?

Gender and remedies?

Structure of the book?

Gender and domestic knowledge?

Domestic caregiving?

Medical knowledge?

Cookery trends?

Types of ingredients in remedies/a remedy? Significance?

Types of ingredients in recipes/a recipe? Significance?

Domestic education and recipe books?

Status and location of the St. John family?

Argument Assignment                    Due December 12

Your blog post may relate directly to your argument assignment, although your major assignment should obviously focus on gender issues. For this assignment, choose a topic on gender issues in early modern Europe, which does not have to be related to the recipe project. Please talk to me to discuss your assignments as you’ll find it helpful in locating sources and debates of interest.

1)      Write a 6 page (12 Times New Roman font, 2.54 cm margins on all sides) historiography paper. For this you should either analyse the state of the field for a particular issue, a particular methodology, or a specific debate. You must make a clear argument, not just describe or summarise. Since women’s and gender history is heavily theory-based, there are lots of possibilities for interesting discussions.

2)      Write a 6 page (12 Times New Roman font, 2.54 cm margins on all sides) primary source analysis. Some secondary reading should be done, but the main focus should be on your reading of the primary source. You must make a clear argument, not just summarise the contents. There are lots of fascinating primary sources!

3)      Choose one of the blog topics and expand it into an 8 page research essay (12 Times New Roman font, 2.54 cm margins). The greater length is because you will have already completed assignments on this topic. Do not just describe your findings, but establish an argument about the significance and meaning of what you are discussing. For several of these questions (eg. domestic education or cookery trends), your topic will result in a broader research paper – but you should nonetheless make significant use of the St. John Book for evidence: how does it represent or go against the wider trends and what does that mean?

4)      Develop a Pinterest exhibition on a topic of your choice about women or gender. This format lends itself well to material history, such as art, costume, or domestic interiors. For this, you should provide text along the way to guide the viewer, much as a museum does. You will need to develop an overarching argument: what is the point of your exhibition? What is the main message that you want the viewer to have for the exhibition and for each item? What is the story that you want these items to tell?

Each item should also provide information about the source, creator, date—and make sure that you only use items within the Creative Commons, or from libraries/museums/etc. that allow you to use their images freely.) As with a museum, the text should be clear and concise. You should also have done background reading that should be reflected in your interpretation. Submit all of the text in a word document with appropriate footnoting for each section of discussion and a bibliography (6 pages, 12 Times New Roman font, 2.54 cm margins. You need to apply for a Pinterest invitation, so don’t leave this too long. Or, you could do this assignment on the U of S wiki site if you are uncomfortable with the Pinterest terms of use. For this, you will need to see me about learning to use the wiki site.

5)      There are also two alternatives to following the assignment breakdown listed on the syllabus (one blog post and one argument assignment). A) Complete four blog posts (500 words each), as per the blogging instructions listed above. B) Your argument assignment could be 8 pages long. The greater length for this project is because it is easier to write one long piece on a topic than to write two smaller pieces on different topics.

Transcriptions                     

The grade for the assignment will be based on the full portfolio, although feedback will be provided at an early stage. Late penalties will be deducted for any missed deadlines along the way. See the documents ‘Semidiplomatic Transcription Conventions’ and ‘Textual Communities Conventions’. These are the rules that must be followed while transcribing.

Part 1: Due September 17

  • Ungraded practice assignment due. This is to ensure that you are developing key skills.
  • As part of the transcription, you will tag key terms and define any particularly unusual words.  (The OED online through the university library catalogue will be very useful!)
  • Set up your account at http://textualcommunities.usask.ca:8080/. An invitation will be emailed to you. Please pay particular attention to the copyright agreement.

Part 2: Due October 22

  • Complete transcriptions of at least two folio sides (ie. what we’d consider 2 pages, not sheets) from your assigned section of Johanna St John’s Book.
  • Copy your transcription, complete with xtml, into a word document. At the end of two recipes, indicate what terms you would tag in them. For this, you should keep in mind what terms researchers would likely want to find in a search and why. This will entail you identifying standardized spellings and terms. Note that your tags may not necessarily be words that appear in the text. Tagging is useful in helping you to think about the research process, as well as how to structure data.
  • At the end of the transcription, define any unusual words. Defining helps you to understand what is in the text.
  • Update TC discussion board with any common misspellings and unusual words that you found in the source. Keep updating the discussion thread throughout the transcription process. You will also find it useful to check there to see if other students have already identified a common issue.

Part 3: Due November 13

  • Complete transcription portfolio.
  • Copy your transcription into a word document. Tag key terms for five recipes, as per part 2. Justify your choices. Think about why researchers would or would not find them useful in a database.

Part 4: Due November 28

  • Check the transcription of another student’s work to ensure that it is faithful to the text (cleaning data).
  • Submit list of your corrections, additions or deletions of tagging, or alternative readings. Justify your choices. Also provide a paragraph summary of the process, such as what were some of the problems you noticed when cleaning data and how the section compared with your own.

Written Work Instructions

See definition of plagiarism on syllabus. Good grammar will be important to your grade. All assignments and e-mails must be written in formal English; text abbreviations, lack of punctuation, inappropriate capitalization or lower case usage, and emoticons are unacceptable.

Unless otherwise specified, footnotes and bibliographical entries must follow the stylistic conventions of the department of history (ie. Chicago Style, as per Rampolla) and should reflect accurately the works consulted in preparing the paper. Please note that marks will be taken off for grammatical, spelling and formatting errors. Assignments without proper documentation will remain unmarked, accruing late penalties, until the essay has its sources included. Remember, too, that given the public nature of the blog, the transcription site, and Pinterest. Google and other search engines can access these sources: the scholars whom you cite (or fail to cite) may very well come across your assignment! References should also be provided for any images used. Write each essay in your own words, avoiding lengthy quotations and close paraphrasing.

For grammar and writing style, consult Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing History.  (There are several copies in the library.)   See also the sections on footnotes (by Christopher Friedrichs) and essay writing located at: http://www.usask.ca/history/undergrad_research.shtml . Another good guide on writing history essays is: http://academic.bowdoin.edu/WritingGuides/ .

Marks will be deducted for failure to use the correct footnote/bibliography style and for poor grammar or incorrect formatting of assignments.

 Grading System

All assignments (written and class participation) are assessed according to the University of Saskatchewan grading system (http://students.usask.ca/current/academics/grades/grading-system.php).

Grading of all written work will focus on logical flow, format, and content. You will be assessed on the following:

  • Depth of understanding of the topic;
  • Analysis of ideas and texts;
  • Research;
  • Clarity of writing style;
  • Use of evidence;
  • Appropriateness of topic for assignment chosen;
  • Layout and craftsmanship.

Grading of transcriptions and transcription proofreading will focus on accuracy, usefulness of tagging/glossing, and adherence to transcription conventions.

Excellent (5)      No errors.

Very Good (4)    Very few errors.

Needs Work (3) Several minor errors, but generally acceptable.

Weak (2)             Several minor errors or one major error, changing the document’s meaning.

Poor (1)               Only partially completed or more than one major error.

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