Analyzing Holt and McCrone through Scott’s Theory (Essay Sample)
The purpose of a response paper is to respond to the readings, not summarize them. This is an important distinction. Your success in this course depends in large part in your understanding this distinction.
For all of the response papers, you need to have a strong argument, also known as a thesis. This means that in the first few sentences you need to explicitly state what your are going to argue. The rest of the response paper should be used proving your argument with evidence from the readings.
For these assignments, you may use parenthetical citations. For example, “Intercollegiate football was maintained and reformed in the early 1900s because many university professors and administrators… saw it as a cultural ritual that, besides training young men … would publicize universities.” (Ingrassia, 3)
The Scott article is an example of a theoretical discussion of how we write history. In other words, she is arguing that as historians work they should construct their argument in certain ways.
The Holt & McCrone readings are more standard piece of history which do not overtly address the theoretical underpinnings of their writing. Even though their theoretical bases are not discussed explicitly, by definition, the authors have theories of history. They have a sense of what is important, of what is not important, of what should be included and what should be excluded.
Perhaps the most important thing you can take away from this course is the understanding that history books are not revealed truth, but arguments about the past. These arguments are not infallibly true, but are subject to constant criticism and re-evaluation by readers, including but not limited to other historians. This is not to say that there is no truth, just that even with the agreed upon facts, how historians come to understand the past is a human endeavor and therefore flawed. Our job as readers is to understand that and approach every piece of writing critically.
So, your assignment is to write a short essays which uses the theory discussed in Scott to evaluate Holt & McCrone. This should be 500-600 words long. Please include a word count at the end of your piece.