Proposal: Due October 4, 2001
Paper: Due November 1, 2001
This assignment is a major research paper
on a particular millenarian movement or personality. The objective
of this assignment is to explore the history of one millennial
group or figure, critically examine a set of primary sources related
their respective brand of millennialism, and construct an argument
regarding the role of millennial thought.
There are two parts to this assignment,
a proposal and a paper. In total, this assignment is worth 35%
of your final mark; 10% for the proposal and 25% for the paper.
I. THE PROPOSAL
A paper proposal outlines your chosen topic
and demonstrates why it is suitable for this assignment. Who are
you studying? How are they considered millennial? What kind of
work has been done on them before? What kind of primary sources
are you employing? Are your sources readily available or accessible?
What is your time frame? Are you going to focus on particular
themes? What kinds of questions are you going to ask and (hopefully)
Your proposal should also demonstrate a
preliminary understanding of what kind of approach to millennialism
you are taking; are you interested in the social, cultural, psychological
or intellectual dimension of millennialism? Discuss what you are
expecting to draw out about the nature of millennialism from the
sources you have found.
In addition to writing the proposal itself
(2 pages, double-spaced) you must include a separate bibliography
listing your primary sources (and location, if outside of the
University of Lethbridge library), and secondary sources (books,
articles, etc.). It is imperative to have identified your major
primary source by the time the proposal is due (see section on
primary sources). In your research to this point, you should also
have accumulated at least five secondary sources (not including
your texts) on your topic (and more would be better).
II. THE PAPER
As noted, the purpose of this assignment
is to explore the millennial thought of one person or group in
history. Your topic should fit within the general definition(s)
of millennialism that we have been using throughout the course,
and you should have a definable body of primary source material
to work from. Please keep your topic to a time period prior to
Your paper is partly a history of the person
or group, but more importantly it is an extended analysis of aspects
of the primary source material. Why are they considered millennial?
How do their views fit within the millennial tradition? Make sure
that your analysis is the primary focus of the paper.
You must develop a thesis, a clearly defined
argument, about the nature of millennialism for the particular
person / group you are studying. What role does millennialism
serve for them? How is your analysis of millennialism different
from other analyses of this particular group / person?
Your thesis is the backbone of the paper,
a connecting thread that links your entire work together. Quotes
and other evidence from primary and secondary sources are all
used to supported your main argument, as portrayed by your thesis
statement. Use your thesis to keep your paper focused and narrow,
instead of broad and general. Do not let your paper become one
long description of what a particular group or person "did";
analyze the millennial group or person by utilizing the primary
Your paper should be 8-10 pages in length
(double-spaced, one-inch margins) with appropriately cited foot
or endnotes and a bibliography attached. A style guide will be
available on the course website. Parenthetical or author-date
notations will not be accepted for this assignment.
Primary sources on a subject like millennialism
can be difficult to track down. Ideally you might be able to find
a single book, published or translated into English, that has
enough fodder for you to base your paper upon. It is easy to look
up particular authors on EUREKA, such as Jonathan Edwards, Emanuel
Swedenborg, and find their published writings that relate to millennialism.
Other groups sometimes published their own periodicals; these
are occasionally, but rarely, available.
Particularly difficult are sources that
require translation. Fortunately, the web has a remarkable amount
of primary sources, and important works, particularly in the medieval
and early modern periods, are being published on the internet
all of the time. Even the prophetic writings of more modern millennialists,
such as Ellen White, have been reproduced online. Finding these
sources requires a bit of patience and the ability to filter through
the non-academic and plain silly to find useful collections. A
good internet primary source will always include full publisher's
details about where or when the source was originally produced,
and sometimes they will maintain the original pagination.
Another way to approach primary sources
would be to examine contemporary newspaper accounts about millennial
groups. For example, William Miller's own writings are difficult
to track down, but you could examine the New York Times from the
right time period to examine public reaction to the Millerites.
If you have questions or difficulties with
sources, do not hesitate to contact the instructor. If you are
not sure that the group you are interested in research falls within
the definition of millennial, please ask beforehand!