Your research assignment for the semester is a short (4) page paper. You will be choosing from a short list of primary sources from the links below and analyzing that source through the context of what you have learned in lecture and readings this semester.

It might help you to think thematically as you read through these sources and find one that is interesting to you. You should approach the source as a starting point: for example, one of the options is Harold MacMillan’s "Winds of Change" speech. You could re-examine the speech, and discuss what MacMillan forecast would happen in Africa and what actually happened, for example. Your options for analysis are VERY open, so you can pick a source and ideas that are compelling. (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)


As you go through the source options, pick one that is interesting to you. Your task for the assignment is to create a topic and an argument around the source that you choose. What this means is that you have a lot of freedom to talk about what you find interesting in relation to your chosen primary source from the options above.

Say, for example, that you chose the Mau Mau Warrior Oath document.

Step 1) Read the document.

Step 2) Think about the document and analyze it based on what you learned in class.

Step 3) Construct an argument around the document.

For the Mau Mau, as an example, I have had students write about how the Oath reflected the dire circumstances that the Mau Mau found themselves in, and they went through, line by line, and explained how the Oath showed economic and social resistance to colonialism. They argued that they Oath’s text showed specific connections to the plight of the Mau Mau Rebels, and gave several examples, backing them up with evidence from lecture. They then argued that these social and economic problems were common in colonies, and that the Mau Mau were an example of a broader trend of anti-colonialism. This was a pretty straightforward argument, and I would encourage anyone confused to approach the assignment like this: be direct, like this student was. Your argument will be presented as a thesis statement, which is just a succinct way of writing out the gist of the paper and what exactly it is the paper is arguing. For a short paper like this, it’s best to lead early on with your thesis statement so the reader knows what they should be prepared to learn about. By the end of the second paragraph I ought to know your thesis statement and be able to point it out easily.

Step 4) Read back through your notes and build up your argument with evidence. This is a short paper assignment, I am not expecting you to do much research, as such, here. Instead, I want to focus on direct analysis of primary sources, which is why the paper is constructed like this.

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