Writing History

In chapter 3 of Marius’ book, he writes about certain skills every writer should have. He discusses the importance of reading over the question giving when writing an essay, or on the syllabus, because in that prompt or description of the paper is what the professor or teacher is truly looking to find. Finding a concrete, specific topic is discussed, as many students today get caught up in topics which are too broad for a paper. Marius also discusses how students, when writing, need to exercise extreme caution with a source because a lot of the sources used, are not necessarily well checked sources. The example given is Wikipedia, which as most students know can be edited, or added onto by anyone at all. Therefore, although it is a good place because it has information on everything, do not rely on it as a source of evidence in a paper. Finally, Marius discusses the use of primary and secondary sources and the importance of making a pathway of all sources used, so that when the bibliography is made, one can trace their steps back to the beginning where they got the information and create a working bibliography or works cited page.

In  Natalie Zemon Davis, “The Rites of Violence: Religious Riot in Sixteenth-Century France”, the violence between the Catholics and the Protestans is discussed. It is stated that “Our sources will be contemporary Catholic and Protestant accounts of religious disturbance , from which we will do our best to sort out utter fabrication from likely fact.” (Davis pg. 55) The statement made above is very important for writers of history because as we have discussed in class, history cannot be written without bias, although every writer must do their best to eliminate their bias and write from an objective point of view. This is essentially what Davis is trying to do; to present the facts about the violence took place in the sixteenth century between the Protestants and the Catholics, without having emotions.


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