Senior Seminar
Discussion Questions 1
Why Study or Write History?

Assignment: Read Gilderhus, pp. 1-12 and the essay on the nature of History. Also read the three primary sources. 
Answer the following questions  in writing, and be prepared to discuss your answers in class. Your answers will be collected and graded.

1. What is History? Summarize and explain at least three definitions of the term. Do these different meanings
    of the term History contradict each other? What does this situation reveal about how Historians think
    about their discipline?

2. Why study History? How and why do historians seek to make sense of human experience.  List and
    summarize at least five reasons for studying History, rank them in order of importance, and justify your ranking.
    (Use the essay posted on the course web site.)

3. Identify and discuss the kinds of questions historians ask to study the past.  How and why do these questions change?

4. What are primary sources?  What are secondary sources?  Give two examples of each and discuss their characteristics.
    Why should a historian be careful using secondary sources?

5.  Examine these three primary sources (an account of Lincoln's assassination, a memoir of the Scope's trial, and an anti-Japanese
     poster from World War II).  What specific questions should an historian ask about each of these sources?

6. Summarize Gilderhus' three-stage model for historical research and writing. Why might novice historians find such a model
    useful?



This Page is Maintained by Robert W. Brown;
Last Update: 25.VII.2007.

Return to the HST451 Homepage