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Graduate Student Bibliography Project
The Graduate Student Bibliography Project is due by July 10, at 11:59 p.m. CST. Your assignment is to produce a 15-20 page annotated bibliography. You should read 5 or 6 books or lengthy articles on a common subject to be chosen by the student and approved by the instructor prior to starting the project.
In the bibliography, the student should dedicate approximately 3 pages to a consideration of each book. The bibliography should clearly detail the book’s thesis, the type of material that the author used, any special or unique claims made by the author, or anything else that explains why the book was written. The aim is to clearly spell out what is in the book and why it was written.
Note that these are not book reviews: the point is not opining about the work – though this will, of course, happen – but to explain what is in the book, how the book differs from others on the same subject, the sources used to produce the book, and the point the author is trying to make.
The books should be examined in the order in which they were written. It is perfectly acceptable when discussing a book to discuss how it differs from earlier works: later authors were almost certainly acquainted with them and presumably found them wanting. Some authors will cite earlier works – if they do, that sort of information should find its way into the bibliography. Likewise, some authors will discuss previous works positively or negatively. Again, this is fair game.
Students may choose their own subject but should clear their subject and book list with the instructor before beginning. If you have trouble finding books please ask the instructor. They might be able to help or suggest a more suitable subject.
Most of the major scientific figures – Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Galileo, etc. – have dozens of books devoted to them; likewise most of the major technological innovations: cars, computers, ships, planes, etc.
For most subjects you should be able to find a book from each decade, though this might not be possible for newer subjects – the internet, for example. Again, before beginning consult with the instructor.
The point of this is to get a feeling for how history has changed over the years: how historians go about their craft, how new sources change history, how authors respond to other authors, etc.