Write an interpretive essay of the last decade of the Cold War and its legacies. Write for a broad audience. You must use multiple sources from class (you are required to base your arguments on the assigned class readings/materials, and analyze them in your essay, including, but not limited to, the Cold War collection, The Cave Man, and The Official Story) and engage with arguments made by 2 historians in your essay from articles published in the Journal of Cold War Studies, which can be accessed electronically through the King Library website (be sure to peruse the contents of this journal early and to use articles, not reviews). You may substitute scholarly monographs or other scholarly articles (for example, a title of a book mentioned in lecture); be sure to rely on books published with reputable presses and articles published in reputable historical journals; use recent books and articles that use the latest evidence. When in doubt about one of these sources, check with Dr. Norris or your GA! Your task is to make an argument about the Cold War during its last decade, to use the required class readings as evidence to back up that argument, and wrestle with interpretations other historians have made. You may also use primary sources referenced in class and the syllabus but not assigned fully (for example, the film The Missing Picture or the 1981 “Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party since the Founding of the People’s Republic of China”). You should give some consideration in your essay to the ultimate meanings of the Cold War and its global elements. Some provocative (but useful) questions to think about include: is the Cold War over? How in the end should we understand this conflict historically, particularly its global dimensions?
Rationale: This essay asks you to do history by sifting through multiple forms of primary evidence, making historical arguments out of them, dealing with differences in interpretation, and writing historical narratives. It asks you to demonstrate that you have done the work for class, thought about the various sources you have encountered, and started to demonstrate an ability to interpret them. Finally, it asks you to build on your work done in your first three essays (when you complete this paper, you will have written interpretive papers on the early Cold War, the Cold War from 1953 to 1970, the Cold War in the 1970s, and the end of the Cold War).
Grading: The Grading Standards of the History Department will be used to evaluate your essays. Please see the syllabus for details. See also the rubric below that will be used to grade every essay.
Grading Rubric: what will you be evaluated on?
Argument. Does the essay contain an argument? Is the argument clear and convincing? Is it followed through and expanded upon throughout the essay? Does the argument provide a convincing interpretation about the Cold War and its legacies as covered in class? [2 points]
Evidence. Does the essay contain required class sources? Are they effectively used to support the argument throughout? Does the essay contain a range of evidence or only documents that conveniently support a shaky argument? Does the essay use The Cave Man and The Official Story effectively? Does the evidence used demonstrate a mastery of the assigned readings for class? [7 points]
Scholarship. Does the essay contain 2 articles from The Journal of Cold War Studies (or other reputable scholarly sources) and the arguments presented by historians in them? Does the essay engage effectively with these arguments as a way to strengthen the argument? [3 points]
Writing. Is the paper well written and free of grammatical errors? Is it free of factual errors? Are there good transitions between paragraphs that explain to readers what these connections are and where you are headed with your argument? What points are emphasized in each paragraph? Do they emphasize the right thing? Do they employ good evidence that helps to make your point? [3 points]