Essay Prompt: In this unit we explored the relationship between human societies and the environments they inhabit. We examined the ways in which values, desires, and modes of living (culture) determined how humans from very long ago through to more recent history used and thought about the natural resources around them. We explored how those ideas changed—or didn’t—as time marched on. And finally, we talked about how changes in the land forced changes in human culture as well. The songs listed below explore some of these themes. Browse through some of them (you will need to look up the music and lyrics). Choose one that you think reflects one or more of the major themes we’ve uncovered in our examination of history throughout this unit. Using a specific line or phrase from that song as an organizing idea, write a 3-4 page essay that contains a specific historical argument and fundamentally answers the following questions: Between the 16th century (or earlier) and the 20th century, why and how did human groups act in ways that led to significant environmental change? What is the connection between societal change and environmental change, or vice versa? “Mercy Mercy Me”—Marvin Gaye “Society”—Eddie Vedder “Big Yellow Taxi”—Joni Mitchell “Excuse Me Mr.”—Ben Harper “Before the Deluge”—Jackson Browne “License to Kill”—Bob Dylan “New World Water”—Mos Def “Fall on Me”—REM “Rape of the World”—Tracy Chapman “Pass it on Down”—Alabama “How Much is Enough?”—Bad Religion “The Disease of the Dancing Cats”—Bush “We Can Run”—The Grateful Dead “Wond’ring Again”—Jethro Tull “Don’t Give Up the Fight”—Public Enemy “Collapse (Post-Amerika)”—Rise Against Essay Directions: 1. All good essays begin with a strong introductory paragraph. Avoid using phrases like “Throughout time…” or “People have always…” as an opening. Instead, you need to show right off the bat that you have a clear understanding of the history under examination. So, a better way to begin an introductory paragraph is to employ a good, interesting hook as a way to engage your readers and draw them into the essay. Your hook should reflect the larger historical picture you will present in the body paragraphs of your paper, as well as the argument/thesis statement on which you will end your introductory paragraph. a. Your hook for this essay should come from the song lyric you have chosen. For instance, you might begin with “In the 1970 song Hungry Planet, musical group The Byrds sing_______” Make sure you choose a lyric to which you can connect several of the historical examples you discovered in lecture and/or readings. You might find a fantastic song lyric, but if you can only make it relate to one historical example then you won’t be fulfilling the requirements of the essay prompt which asks you to look at examples from over many years. After you give your hook, you should begin making connection between the lyric and the historical context for this unit. For example, you might write something like “The Bryds’ song reflects________ about the history of the ways in which humans have interacted with their environments over the last______years.” Finally, end the introductory paragraph with your thesis statement/argument. Remember that your thesis statement should be a specific answer to the question(s) in the essay prompt. Refer to the document in the Integrative Essay folder and the Library Research Assignment folder for more guidance in writing thesis statements for history papers. 2. Your essay must include well-organized body paragraphs that contain strong topic sentences. These paragraphs should provide specific evidence from the readings, lectures, and films (if any) from this unit that helps you prove your thesis statement. You will want to demonstrate that you both attended class and took lecture notes, and that you carefully did the assigned readings. You have an overwhelming amount of historical evidence to deal with here. I don’t expect you to cram it all into your essay. Rather, build your body paragraphs around a select group of historical details/case studies/moments in time that both cover the time period indicated in the essay prompt, and that help you prove your argument. a. If it makes sense to refer to the song you choose in the historical analysis you provide in the body paragraphs, you may certainly do so. b. Essays that don’t utilize enough or appropriate evidence will lose significant points. c. DO NOT DO OUTSIDE RESEARCH. d. Organize the body paragraphs in a logical manner. Generally, chronological order is the way to go and will help you make connections between historical developments or examples. 3. Your essay must include properly formatted footnotes to indicate where you borrowed information (either in paraphrase form or direct quotes). Keep in mind that it’s preferable to attempt to put information from a source into your own words, rather than litter your paper with a lot of direct quotes. Paraphrasing demonstrates that you have taken the time necessary to really “digest” the information. Inserting footnotes is quite easy. In Word, simply click on References. Then click on Insert Footnotes. This will take your cursor to the bottom of the page. Type your footnote citation there. Once you are done, click your cursor back into the text of the essay where you left off and resume writing. When you need to provide another footnote citation, simply go through the above steps again. You’ll see that, if done properly, the program automatically numbers your footnotes (both within the text and with the corresponding citation at the bottom of the page). Don’t try to number your footnotes yourself. If you find yourself doing this, you haven’t properly used the Word functions necessary to provide footnotes. If you find that you need to delete a citation, highlight the number in the text and hit backspace/delete—that will erase it from the bottom of the page as well. a. Use the Chicago-Style link in the library research assignments for models of footnote citations (these are the ones that will begin with the author’s first name and include the page number used). b. For footnoting lectures, I ask that you just include my name, the title of the lecture, and the date it was given. For films, the title of the film is enough. c. When referencing the song you chose, you may just provide the website address(es) you consulted.
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