Nipissing University

HISTORY 2055-- Ancient Civilizations (2005-6)


First Paper


A comparison between

Christian’s Maps of Times and

Wright’s A Short History of Progress


This paper will be due on November 4.   It is worth 25% of your course grade.


The paper should be 8-10 pages in length (assuming double-spaced printing).   It must be properly footnoted and have a bibliography.   For other requirements, see the handout Policies Regarding Essays.


This first assignment is a demanding one.   It requires you to read challenging texts, think deeply, formulate a clear analysis, and write well.  Given the challenges, now is the time to start reading the two required books.


Your assignment is to compare and contrast Christian’s book and Wright’s book with this question in mind:   according to each author, what is the significance of the ancient period of human history?   Once you have ascertained this, you will answer the further questions, which author’s analysis is more useful, and why?  The thesis of your paper will be your answer to the last set of questions.


Such questions seldom have one right answer.   There will certainly be more than one productive way of approaching this question; I can imagine that some students will say, “they are both right in some ways,” or “I found neither book useful.”  Whatever position you take, however, you will have to have an accurate and thoughtful understanding of what the books actually say, an ability to convey it to your own reader, and a clear argument for the thesis you put forward.


You are certainly free and encouraged to read other books, and reviews of the two texts may prove useful.   However, don’t rely on other people’s summaries, and be sure you cite all quotations and borrowed insights properly.