How did new technology during the iron age help the development of Great Zimbabwe? Compared to other settlements in the 11th-15th century, what made Great Zimbabwe different? In a good or bad way?

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M10A History of Africa to 1800 Final Paper Guidelines
General Format: 2000 to 3000 words, not including footnotes, appendices, bibliography. Please
use Chicago Manual of Style Humanities for your citations. For good models, consult academic
history journal articles/academic monograph book chapters.
The final paper is an opportunity for you to more deeply explore a topic or theme in African
history. After identifying a topic or theme, you will select and read at least five studies of that
topic that are not listed in the course syllabus.

Suggested Outline:

Section 1: Introduction (1 paragraph)
Opening “Hook” Start off the paper in an interesting way with an illustrative anecdote or
quote from your research that will both draw in your reader and give a sense of your topic.
Avoid opening with clichés (“Throughout history…”) or announcements (“In this paper, I
will…”), etc.
State your research question and thesis. Your arguments need NOT be
mind-blowing, they just need to be sustained by the analysis of the paper so don’t over-reach.
You may include one big argument and various sub-arguments to match your sections.

Section 2: Background + Historiography (1-2 paragraphs)
Situate your topic within its context. Discuss the “Who, What, Where and When” of your
Specify specific people, empires and states. Avoid describing “Africa” or even regions in
general. While you need to provide some historical context, do NOT engage in a long
regurgitation of the narrative.

Section 3: Body Paragraphs (3-5 paragraphs)
How you organize your paper will depend on your topic. There are MANY options. Here
are a few options for organization:
1. Literature Review: How have different scholars answered your research question?
Organize your paper according to your sources. You can describe each source and
compare their approaches and arguments. Show how your chosen sources build on each
2. Chronologically: Describe change over time on a specific subject.
3. Comparative: First, introduce your topics of comparison individually. Secondly, provide
analysis of the relationship between your chosen topics.
4. Thematically: Each paragraph responds directly to your thesis focusing on distinct pieces
of evidence or perspectives.
Again, these are just a few simple suggestions. There are many options. Your paragraphs
must be analytical. They should not regurgitate information. Each paragraph should have a topic
sentence that makes a point. A reader should be able to get the gist of your paper by only reading
your intro, topic sentences, and conclusion.
As a rule, do NOT quote lengthy passages. When in doubt, paraphrase and cite. Finally,
be mindful NOT to plagiarize. When you quote directly, obviously cite. When you paraphrase,
you need to cite. Lean on the side of over-citing, rather than under-citing. Generally, if a whole
paragraph pulls from a single source (and you have no direct quotations), you can include one
citation at the end of the paragraph, not after each sentence.
Before your concluding paragraph, you might want to have a paragraph acknowledging
evidence or perspectives that you did not include in your research paper. If, after writing your
paper, you realize that your research question might be better answered in a different way, just
state this. For example you can say: “While I have argued X, my research question could also be
answered through examining Y or Z, which might suggest a different conclusion.” You are
encouraged to be exploratory in your paper, not to have all of the answers. You can also note
questions of further lines of inquiry that are relevant to your topic but that you did not have space
to describe in detail.

Section 4: Conclusion (1 paragraph)
Do not simply repeat what you stated in the Introduction: leave the reader with something
profound to take away from your paper. Here are some questions that might help shape your
Conclusion: What is the impact of your topic on a related present-day issue? What evidence
would have shaped your argument differently and in what way (i.e. what sources were
unavailable to you or to anyone that might shed a different light to your topic?)

General Grading Guidelines:
Your paper will be graded based on:
1) Clear research question and argument (25%)
2) Sufficient historical information (25 %)
3) Effective and analytical use of sources and evidence (25 %)
Quality of sources (Do you draw upon enough sources? Are you using academic sources? Or
are your citing a few encyclopedia entries and a Wikipedia article?)
4) Writing mechanics, organization, correct citations (25%)

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