Prof. David Campion

Ramsay MacDonald and Gandhi at the London Roundtable Conference, 1931 United World Photos



Throughout the semester students will regularly write short papers in response to the readings and sources. Each response paper should be about two pages, doubled-spaced, stapled, numbered, and use standard fonts and margins. Questions for the response papers will be given out by e-mail usually a week before the papers are due. The due dates for each paper are listed in the schedule of classes. There are five response papers due over the course of the semester.

This is the major assignment of the class. You will select a specific topic related to the general subject of Modern South Asia and write an essay based on primary and secondary source research.

1. Preparing an Annotated Bibliography

The first step in the research project is to select a topic and begin to locate relevant sources. By the middle of the semester you should have chosen your topic and identified the primary sources and most of the secondary sources that you will use. Having done this, you will submit a 1-2 page annotated bibliography listing the sources you have collected that you plan to use for your research paper. This assignment will not be graded. It is intended to help the instructor track your progress and, if necessary, assist you with any problems in identifying and obtaining sources or research materials.

In your annotated bibliography state the specific topic of your paper, along with the main historical question or questions that you want to ask as part of your argument. Then list separately the primary sources you plan to use followed by secondary books and articles, each with a brief, one-line description of its contents and usefulness to your research.

The annotated bibliography is due at the beginning of class on Friday, March 9.

2. The Perils of the Internet:

The enormous volume of information now on the Internet has been both a blessing and a curse to those doing historical research. Many websites, especially official sites of libraries and archives and those that reproduce historical documents, are excellent. However, since just about anyone can create his or her own website, there is little quality control over information placed on the Internet. Unlike most books and articles, websites can present information and views that are usually able to bypass the judgment of discerning publishers, editors, and peer reviewers. Consequently, many historical sites are amateurish, polemical, and factually unreliable. As you do your research, keep a healthy skepticism about information that comes from the web.

3. Sources and Citations:

Since this is an essay based on historical research, you must use footnotes. Do not use endnotes or parenthetic citations. You must also include a full bibliography at the end of the essay with primary and secondary sources listed separately. In your footnotes you should provide a full citation when you first refer to a source and then an abbreviated citation for every subsequent reference to that source. There are several different styles of footnoting and you may choose whichever one you want, but be consistent. You must account for all your sources, even quotations from one author embedded in the writing of another. If you have any questions about proper citation practices please speak with the instructor or consult the College's Academic Integrity Policy and The Chicago Manual of Style (17th Edition) for further guidance.

In addition to books, academic journals often contain the most recent research and developments within specialized fields of study. JSTOR and other electronic journal databases will prove useful in identifying scholarly articles relevant to your topic. Current and recent volumes of the following journals are maintained on the shelves in Watzek Library and may also prove useful in your research for this project:

American Historical Review
Contributions to Indian Sociology
Diaspora (Journal of Transnational Studies)
Foreign Affairs
India Briefing
India Today (old & new series)
Indian Economic and Social History Review
Journal of Asian Studies
Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History
Journal of Islamic Law and Culture
Journal of Modern History
Journal of Social History
Modern Asian Studies
Past & Present
Postcolonial Studies
South Asia Research

The Bibliography of Imperial, Colonial, and Commonwealth History since 1600, edited by Andrew Porter (Oxford University Press/Royal Historical Society, 2002) is also an excellent resource. It is kept in the reference section of Watzek Library.

4. The Essay:

Your essay should be 10-12 pages of text and it must have a title. All pages must be doubled-spaced, numbered, and must use standard fonts and margins. The narrative of your essay (the presentation of facts or historical chronology) should be structured around an argument or thesis. It is not enough merely to relate facts that are already known or retell a familiar historical tale. The most important objective of your essay is to present an original argument, theory, or analysis that is supported by a critical approach to your sources. Keep in mind that you are writing this essay mainly for yourself rather than for your instructor. Pick a topic in which you are truly interested and that you think is important for your own understanding of Modern South Asia.

Research for the essay should center on a few primary sources (original documents from the period that have not been interpreted or edited by other scholars) as well as drawing upon a variety of secondary sources (books or articles written about your subject). While the primary sources should be the focus of your argument, the secondary sources will help you get a sense of how your argument compares to those of other scholars. As you begin your research you might consult the Watzek Library History Research Guide. Additionally, your essay must conform to the following specifications:

All pages of text must be double-spaced using a standard font (the most common is Times New Roman, 12-point font size). Images and the bibliography do not count toward these page limits.
Pages must be numbered. If you include a separate title page (optional) this page should not be numbered. Page 1 is the first page of text.
Margins should be 1" at top and bottom and can be either 1" or 1.25" at left and right (the former will give you more space for text).
The bibliography should list primary and secondary sources separately. As you know, this distinction is not always clear so this may involve some judgment calls on your part.
Bibliography entries should be single-spaced and all lines after the first line of an entry must be indented 0.5"
Quotations longer than 3 lines or 30 words (whichever is longer) should be inserted as block quotations. The entire block quotation is single spaced and set in from the left margin 0.5" (the same as the indentation of a new paragraph). Block quotations do not need quotation marks.
All citations must be footnoted. All footnotes must be single-spaced and may be between 11- and 12-point font size. The first mention of a source requires a full citation while mention of that same source in subsequent footnotes should be given an abbreviated citation.
Section headings within the body of the essay, if these are used, should be in bold or italics so that they stand out from the text.

In writing and revising your essay you should consult the History Department Writing Guidelines and Grading Standards. Additionally, you might find a visit to the Lewis & Clark Writing Center and the following reference works helpful:

The Chicago Manual of Style (17th Edition)
Strunk & White, The Elements of Style
Wilson Follett, Modern American Usage: A Guide

Finally, be sure to edit and proofread your essay thoroughly before submitting it. Poor syntax or structure and excessive errors in spelling, punctuation, or grammar will lower your grade.

The research essay is due at the beginning of class on Friday, April 20.

The Harmandir Sahib or Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) in Amritsar, Punjab; completed 1604, rebuilt 1760s

Created by campion@lclark.edu | Updated January 2018