When was the document created? Does this help to explain any aspects of the document? Does the document reveal anything about women and/or women’s activism in the period?

Assignment: Document Analysis

In this assignment you will closely analyse a primary source document in an attempt to understand the period in which it first appeared and the attitudes toward women and women’s activism expressed in the document.

Primary sources are the raw materials historians use to understand and interpret the past.

The primary sources we will examine in this course and in this assignment are texts and images (letters, newspaper articles, journal entries, political cartoons, advertisements, etc.) produced by people in the past.

These afford us unique evidence of and perspectives on the past.

Use the document provided. Examine it carefully, and write a short paper (typed, double-spaced) analysing the content of the document. When you read (or look at) the document consider the following:

1. Who is the author? How does this influence the perspective expressed by the document? What does the document reveal about the author?

2. When was the document created? Does this help to explain any aspects of the document? Does the document reveal anything about women and/or women’s activism in the period?

3. What was the original purpose of the document? Do you feel that the producer of the document accomplished his/her purpose? Why or why not?

4. What does the document reveal about attitudes toward women at the time it was written? Try to explain the reasons for those attitudes.

Do not be concerned if the document addresses a time period or subject that we haven’t fully explored in the course.

What is most important is how sensitive you are to the historical evidence and how well you probe the document for a glimpse of the past.

If you make a conjecture and support it with evidence from the document and the conjecture, as a result, makes sense, you will be given credit for this (even if the conjecture turns out to be false).

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