RN 242/ HI 306

Final Project Guidelines

Each student is to engage in a final research project that allows for individual exploration of themes relevant to the class. The purpose of the project is to demonstrate comprehension of the material we have been studying and to extend that understanding in new directions. I am willing to consider a range of "traditional" and "creative" projects, including (but not limited to):

• a ten- to twelve-page research paper (see guidelines below)

• creative writing (drama; fiction; poetry)

• artistic representation(s)

• magazine/news feature article

• film project

• graphic novel(la)

• powerpoint presentation

• website

• review essay (of two or more books—fiction or nonfiction—or films)

Creative projects require a research component just as the paper does—using a minimum of six independent sources—and must be accompanied by a bibliography of sources and a one- to two-page explanation linking the work produced with your research. To get you started, you might want to consult my guide to internet resources here. For help in evaluating web sites that you track down yourself, see the following Cornell University site: Criteria and Tools for Evaluating Web Sites. You will also need to get yourself to the library. Of the minimum six sources required for all projects, at least four of them should be print materials. Please note that journals count as print materials even if you access them through JSTOR or Project Muse. Yes, you can find many print sources on line through library links or google books. Please don't limit yourself to those materials however. The most recent journal articles won't yet be available on line, and google books similarly restricts your access to the most recent scholarship. Use the internet wisely to start, not limit your research.

Deadline, extensions, and late projects

Projects are due in class on Tuesday, April 27th. Extensions will be granted only in cases of extreme necessity.  In any case, requests for extensions must be made by 1:00 PM Friday, April 23th at the latest.  I will need to see the work you have completed and will need you to explain why you need an extension and how that will impact on the rest of your coursework and exams. 

Projects that are late without an approved extension will lose one partial letter grade for each day they are late.

If you need to contact me about your project, you can call me at 358-0186 or e-mail me at dklepper@bu.edu

If you choose to write a research paper, please make sure to follow the paper guidelines below.

Choosing a Research Topic

There are an infinite number of possible topics for your research project, and I encourage you to think broadly and creatively within the parameters of “magic, religion, and science.” I have collected here some ideas, and if any of them interest you, you should pursue and adapt them as you please. You may also expand upon a topic introduced in the syllabus, or build upon something introduced in Dales or Kieckhefer. If you have a vague inkling of something you’d like to pursue but aren’t sure where to take it, or if you need any other kind of direction or assistance, come talk to me.

You must submit a one page proposal for my approval. Tell me what you plan to research, why the subject interests you, and your ideas about how you might begin. Proposals are due Thursday, March 25.

Possible Topics (in no particular order):

1. Magic and miracle in literature
2. Interplay of magic, science, and religion in healing
3. Cult of saints, miracles, and magic
4. magic/science/religion in non-European perspective (Mesoamerican calendar, indigenous epistomologies or technologies, etc.)
5. Jews and the transmission of Arabic science in Europe
6. Traditions of esotericism
7. Anthropological perspectives on magic/science/religion
8. Jewish magic in Antiquity or the Middle Ages or Early Modern Period
9. Witchcraft in medieval or early modern Europe
10. Authority and Magic in Medieval Europe
11. Popular magic in medieval or early modern Europe
12. The inquisition
13. Astrology in Elizabethan England
14. The "decline" of magic in the early modern period
15. Medieval Books of Secrets
16. The Royal Society (England 17th c.)
17. Medieval botany/herbals
18. The rise of secret societies in the early modern period
19. Isaac Casaubon and the debunking of the hermetic corpus
20. Navigation and the Sciences
21. Horology (calendars/ time keeping)
22. Medieval Scientific Instruments
23. Art and technology in renaissance science
24. A biographical study of any figure you've encountered (or will encounter) in our reading
25. Further study of almost anything we've touched upon in class

Research Paper Guidelines

If you choose to write a research paper, please follow these guidelines:

Your paper should be ten to twelve pages, double-spaced with the usual margins (1” at top and bottom, 1.25” left and right.)  Please remember to include page numbers.  You must cite in a footnote or endnote all sources which you quote or paraphrase, as well as works to which you refer or from which you have culled information.  Please follow Chicago Style citation format (Humanities Style) as described in the resources listed below.  Parenthetic citations with a “Works Cited” page will not be accepted.

In addition to footnotes or endnotes, your paper should also contain a bibliography including not only those works you cited directly, but also anything else you used for background in the course of your research (including encyclopedia entries, general histories, and so forth). The bibliography page does not count as one of your pages of text.  Again, please follow Chicago Style.

Please note that this should be a well-edited ten to twelve pages.  If you find you are coming up short on length, do not try to fluff out what is already there!  Come see me, and I will undoubtedly be able to help you direct your attention to any number of issues in need of further exploration or explanation.  Please remember that a good paper must forward a thesis.  Students may want to consult the history department's helpful Writing Guide.

Spelling, grammar and writing quality count as well as content.

And Finally, please review my plagiarism policy by selecting the link on our course syllabus.

Style and Citation Resources

For a summary of Chicago Manual of Style, see this University of Wisconsin site: http://www.wisc.edu/writing/Handbook/DocChicago.html. For citing Internet sources in a modified Chicago Style, see the following website: http://www.bedfordstmartins.com/online/cite7.html.