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Post 1: Full Details (75 Points)

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Post 1 is a text-based, relatively traditional blog post. The post should be 1000-1500 words long. Use of images and engaging writing style are encouraged.

Topics should be selected from the Potential Topics list and confirmed during consultation with Prof. Bennett. Your topic for Post 1 and topic for Post 2 should explore the same civilization (i.e., 2 posts on Mesopotamia).

The draft for Post 1 is due 26 February. It will be submitted on Hello World Civ

  • Your draft should include in-line, hyperlinked citations AND a references list. (See Citing on the Blog)
  • Your draft should include any images you plan to use + citations for those images (also in Citing on the Blog).
    • Images must be Creative Commons, Public Domain, or Fair Use.
  • Following submission of the draft, you'll receive feedback and a tentative grade from Prof. Bennett. You'll also receive comments from peers.

To submit your draft:

  1. Create your post on Hello World Civ.
  2. Save it as "Draft" while the post is in progress.
  3. When it's ready to be viewed and commented on, change the post to "Needs Review."
  4. DO NOT publish the post until closer to 19 March. 

The final version of the post is due 19 March. It will be published on Hello World Civ.

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Empathy for others (especially past peoples).

Research skills. 

Thesis statements. 

Topic sentences. 

Using evidence.

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Description of the topic

Descriptive material should be found throughout the post and should be used to support your overall argument.

Don’t tell us everything. 

Tell us the most important and interesting things.

Be specific.

Thesis Statement

A thesis is a clear, straightforward statement of what you want your readers to takeaway from the blog post. It should be included in the introductory paragraph.

Your thesis should begin to answer the question: “Why is this topic important to history?”

Your answer to this question should be a single, focused point. Again, don’t tell us everything. Tell us the most important and interesting (to you) thing.

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Topic's Importance to History

A topic's importance to history first and foremost deals with the role of the topic in its own time and place.

It is important to focus on the past before we discuss present relevance because:

  1. Focusing on the past builds empathy by helping us understand the lives and actions of people very different from ourselves.
  2. Looking at the role of a place, person, event, or idea in the past helps us deepen our knowledge and understand the complexity of a situation.
  3. A lot of time has passed since the civilizations we study! It’s incredibly difficult to determine the impact of something on the present!

How can we judge a topic’s importance to history? There are lots of ways to judge a subject’s historical significance, but the following questions should help you get started:

  • What caused an event, a person’s actions, or the development of an idea? (Previous events, gender, class, race, politics, religion, economics, and personal relationships could all be factors.)
  • What impact did an event, person’s actions, or idea have on a specific time and place? (What changed during or after the event, person’s life, or advent of the idea? What stayed the same?)
  • Did the person, event, idea, place, or artifact have a symbolic role in society? What function did that symbolism serve? (This is a good one for thinking about religious and political sites, rituals and rites in society, or revolutionary leaders.)
  • How is the trend, person, event, idea, place or artifact typical of daily life in a society? (This lets you speak to common experience in society.)
  • How is the trend, person, event, idea, place, or artifact unusual for a particular society? (There are always outliers and extraordinary people in society - what makes them unusual?)

A topic’s relevance to the present is, of course, an element to consider. Athenian democracy is important partly because it (arguably) lays the foundation for contemporary democracies. Confucius’s teachings are important partly because they are still followed by so many people. 

The goal of this course, though, is to remind us that not everything is about us... So. We'll focus first on the past before we turn to the present.