Environmental Determinism or Possibilism: Yersinia pestis effects on Late Antiquity and Medieval Populations in Creation of Modern Responses

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Required course materials The following books are required. The use of physical copies of required books is highly recommended; page numbers cited in written work must exactly match those of the instructor’s versions. E-BOOKS MAY BE USED ONLY IF THEIR CONTENTS AND PAGINATION STRICTLY MATCH THOSE OF THE REQUIRED PRINTED VERSIONS. If you cannot verify these, use conventional paper copies. It is your responsibility to acquire and read each book, in the required edition/translation, before the relevant deadline. You will need access to these materials for the entire semester.

► Aberth, John. The Black Death: The Great Mortality of 1348–1350: A Brief History with Documents, 2nd edition. Boston—New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2017. ISBN 978–1319048877. IMPORTANT: Only Aberth’s second edition with documents may be used for this course. No exceptions!
► Brown, Peter. The World of Late Antiquity. New York: W.W. Norton, 1989. ISBN 978–0393958034. Any published complete scholarly edition of this book may be used.
► Harper, Kyle. The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017. ISBN 978–0691192062.
► Harper, Kyle. Plagues upon the Earth: Diseases and the Course of Human History. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2021. ISBN 978–0691192123.

► Morgan, David. The Mongols, 2nd ed. Malden, MA—Oxford: Blackwell, 2007. ISBN 978–1405135399. IMPORTANT: Only the second edition may be used. IN ADDITION, SELECT ONE (1) OF THE FOLLOWING:
► Cantor, Norman H. In the Wake of the Plague: The Black Death and the World It Made. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001. ISBN 978–1476797748.

Approach & structure
Think historically! Think critically! Written work for this course must not be limited to a descriiption or summary of the main plot points. Rather, it must feature your own scholarly analysis, critique, and contextualization of the assigned “primary” sources. With regards to the latter, give a sense of time and place as appropriate. Limit your use of other scholars’ analysis and critique. Organize your written assignments thematically. USE ONLY THE SPECIFIED ASSIGNED READINGS. NEVER USE INTERNET SOURCES, INCLUDING WIKIPEDIA, UNLESS APPROVED BY THE INSTRUCTOR. ALL ASSIGNMENTS SHOULD FEATURE YOUR ORIGINAL THEMATIC ENGAGEMENT OF THE ASSIGNED “PRIMARY” SOURCES.

For each paper, your initial paragraph(s) must: (1) set the chronological and geographical scene; (2) introduce the main characters and authors/sources; and (3) articulate a clear thesis/statement of purpose. Papers must be effectively organized and grammatically correct. Generalizations must be balanced with specific details and evidence from the sources. Supply formal references in the required format. Required format □ All written assignments must be prepared in Microsoft Word or a 100%-compatible program and SUBMITTED ELECTRONICALLY VIA BLACKBOARD in standard .doc or .docx format. Do NOT upload papers in other formats, e.g. PDF and Rich Text. □ All pages MUST be numbered. Please use Word’s automatic page-numbering feature. □ Type your paper in 12-point Times New Roman font. Convert all footnote text to Times New Roman font. Note that Word may default to a different footnote font (!). Footnotes may be either 10- or 12-point. □ Set line spacing at double (2.0) or one-and-a-half (1.5). Single-spaced papers will not be graded. Do not insert extra spaces between paragraphs; do not use subheadings in short papers. □ 1” margins on all sides, neither larger nor smaller. □ Do NOT include a cover sheet.

□ Provide an appropriate scholarly title and center it just after the aforementioned name header on p. 1. □ Your introductory paragraph(s) must include a clear statement of purpose/thesis statement. □ Always use Word’s automatic footnote feature. Do NOT manually type superscriipted footnote numbers. Convert footnotes to the same font as the main body of text. Do not use endnotes. Footnotes and bibliography must conform to the Chicago system (see below). You must prepare your own footnote and bibliographical entries; never use an app, etc., to do this for you! □ Papers must end with a single-spaced master bibliography. Start on a new page and center the word Bibliography at the top. Then alphabetize all sources cited in your paper. Please insert an extra space between entries in the bibliography. □ LIMIT THE USE OF DIRECT QUOTATIONS; avoid block quotations altogether.
Chicago references REFERENCES MUST APPEAR AS FOOTNOTES AND MUST BE PREPARED ACCORDING TO THE CHICAGO SYSTEM. For Chicago examples, see the last section of the syllabus below and the PDF on Chicago citations. For all written work, prepare your own references in footnotes and the bibliography.

NEVER use an app or computer program, etc., to generate this information. All direct quotations MUST be cited. Moreover, specific ideas from sources put into your own words MUST be referenced. Limit direct quotations and especially block quotations (i.e. direct quotations exceeding three typed lines). It is usually more effective to paraphrase—to rephrase in your own words—the idea and then state the significance/relevance to your argument. Failure to cite your sources properly constitutes plagiarism. PAPERS COMPLETELY LACKING REFERENCES AUTOMATICALLY EARN ZERO CREDIT. On average, formal history papers tend to have three to six references for every full page of text. As a rule, do not lump references together at the end of a paragraph. Remember: you must prepare your own footnote and bibliographical entries; never use an app, etc., to do this for you! Important reminders

❖ Organize papers by theme/subject. Avoid lengthy descriiption and/or plot summary.
❖ Always balance generalizations with specific evidence and details. Bald assumptions and impressions are insufficient for academic work. Thus, you must always refer to specific information from the sources in order to justify your assertions. UNSUBSTANTIATED AND/OR UNDOCUMENTED CLAIMS EARN NO CREDIT. You must analyze the contemporary evidence, clearly identifying its significance and relevance. A stream of consciousness is not enough; your paper must make a focused, articulate, and convincing argument centered on the assigned topic.
❖ Essays devoid of formal references and/or which are plagiarized will earn no credit. Plagiarized papers may incur additional penalties in accordance with strict university policies.
❖ PROOFREADING IS ESSENTIAL! You must use formal English prose appropriate to academic writing. Avoid colloquialisms! Your paper must be articulate, convincing, and based on historical evidence.
❖ The partial draft must consist of AT LEAST SEVEN (7) FULL PAGES OF MAIN TEXT (including properlyformatted footnotes). In addition, you must attach a COMPLETE, PROPERLY-FORMATTED BIBLIOGRAPHY. Longer drafts are encouraged!

❖ Partial drafts must contain a tentative title, introductory paragraphs, and thesis statement.
❖ Your draft should be as polished as possible. Consistently sloppy and/or incomplete drafts will not be graded.
Final Paper Topic Proposed Title: Environmental Determinism or Possibilism: Yersinia pestis effects on Late Antiquity and Medieval Populations in Creation of Modern Responses
Research Problem: This paper intends to persuade that populations from Late Antiquity to the Medieval period responded to Yersinia Pestis in context to other contributing factors to minimize the “maximalist interpretation.” The goal of this paper is to historicize scholarly works to interpret and critique primary accounts. The paper will challenge notions of a great environmental disaster (such as plague) that solely caused particular societal, political, economic outcomes in order to complicate the periods and how the event shaped (Commented Not only “shaped”, but wording needs to be stronger here: environment absolutely determines human history, identities, etc. scholarship). modernity. An interdisciplinary approach is necessary to ascertain outcomes.

This paper first sets out to find a correlation Definitions: Environmental Determinists are sociologists, historians, and theorists who believe the environment has shaped human outcomes; therefore, humanity and modernity would be directly shaped by a plague. Environmental Possibilist are sociologists, historians, and theorists who believe that the environment has shaped human outcomes less significantly than other geographic, and temporal events on humanity and modernity.

Hi STUDENT, You’re definitely on the right track here. However, your proposed topic research needs to be clarified. I think that you’re proposing to investigate environmental determinism and possibilism in the context of two bubonic plague outbreaks. And, in this regard, you’ll contextualize and critique the assigned “primary” sources and modern scholarship. Is that right, if so, consider the topic approved?
I have attached a Bibliography that needs to be cleaned up and I have also attached a “thinking page” where I have begun the project (feel free to adjust as needed).

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