Write an essay of 1500-1800 words on the following prompt, taking care to offer a clear thesis and support it argumentatively with substantial information from videos and readings, carefully cited. You may not use sources beyond those assigned without prior approval from myself or Mr. Halter. Please make sure that any uploaded PDF or .doc/.docx file includes your name and is double-spaced. Unlike prior papers, style counts a little on this one.
A major argument about the last six decades of Africa’s history involves the nature of the challenges independent African nations face. Do you believe that African nations have escaped the legacy/legacies of colonial rule, whether defined as economic, political, social, cultural, or something else? If yes, who has achieved it and how have they done so? If not, why weren’t they able to? You must explain both what they may have needed to overcome (the earlier era) and the confrontation of those legacies (the post-independence era). As always, it is possible–perhaps even unavoidable–to follow a thesis that is between ‘yes’ and ‘no,’ but what’s crucial is your use of evidence and your understanding.
Upload your paper in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format by the time and date indicated. If you anticipate a difficulty arising in connection with health or responsibilities in the current crisis, contact us ASAP and we will do what we can. Please note that there is no room for grades of incomplete, as Professor Braun is away on research next year and cannot settle such work. Thus, we must assure all work is completed by the end of the final exam period, or it will be counted zero regardless of individual situations.
These are things that we focus heavily upon; there are a couple of new notes you should absolutely read (especially the principles of breadth).
Presence of a clear central thesis ideally in the first paragraph (usually at its end) – this is a big one, if only because it determines the success of many other parts of the essay’s organization. If it’s in paragraph two, though, I suspect we’ll find it.
A clear structure of argumentation that both makes your case, but also makes clear why other reasonable positions aren’t as sound (if applicable)
The Principles of Breadth: Because this is a cumulative final essay, it is expected to do some retrospective of the course material in the course of your answer. Therefore we look at:
The use of a range of assigned readings and course material (Shillington, Collins, and the various online readings and video as applicable); keep them primarily from Unit 5, but a paper that stays solely in Unit 5 will receive lower marks than one that ranges more widely for its information. Likewise, one that inhabits an earlier unit and barely touches on Unit 5 will also struggle to pass. The “50% plus one” rule is going to be impossible to reach on this one, but 7-9 sources is a good ballpark. 1-4 won’t cut it.
Geographical breadth. Use examples, but call out to more than just two or three, especially if your answer is “sort of” or “sometimes yes, sometimes no.” This does add complexity, but that’s good; show us you are thinking about the diversity of the continent’s histories! Use that full word count–it’s big for a reason. This is after all the final exam and your last chance to show us the full range of what you know. You don’t need to build a bunch of thorough cases, but illustrating your points with a variety of examples works really well.
Clear understanding of the context of those sources and examples you use
Effective analytical use of your sources to support your argument, not just quotation or ‘window dressing’
Responsible citation of those sources (regardless of format) both in-text and with a ‘works cited’ or bibliography page; those things do not count towards or against the word limit. Failure to cite sources where used (not just as quotes) is grounds for a failing mark.
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