Your task is to spend approximately 4-5 pages conducting a scholarly analysis of a primary source assigned for this class.
Select one (1) primary source from our class readings. By the due date for this assignment (October 21), you should have read ten (10) primary source documents, including some from the Cowans primary source reader (Early Modern Spain: A Documentary History), as well as others posted to Canvas, such as Ibn Khaldun, and documents posted to Canvas from the Medieval Iberia reader. If you would like to select a source that is on the syllabus for later in the Quarter (Weeks 6-10), you are free to do so. But you have ample material to work with looking solely at the primary sources assigned for Weeks 1-5.
Conduct a thorough, scholarly analysis of your chosen document. Your analysis should consider many, if not all, of the following questions:
What is the documentâ€™s date of composition? In what form has it come down to us? In other words, is the modern printed and translated edition you are working with a transcription of the original document, or was the document copied, redacted, and transmitted numerous times during the early modern or modern eras?
Who is the author (if known)? What might that tell us about the composition of the document?
What kind of source is the document? Is it a historical chronicle? Is it a surrender treaty? Is it a work of theology? Is it a record from a court case? Is it a work of poetry? It is not always wise to assign the label of just one genre to a pre-modern source, as pre-modern people did not think about genre in the same ways we do. Therefore, be flexible and capacious in ascribing a genre (or multiple genres) to your document. Your document could fit more than one genre, and if it does you should note that.
What do you believe the author of your document intended to do in composing this source? What was the objective, or aim? How does your document go about achieving that goal?
Who might the intended audience have been? How can you discern who the author hoped would read this source?
What can the content of your document reveal to modern scholars about the society in which it was produced? Along related lines, what are the pitfalls in relying too heavily on your chosen document? In other words, what are aspects of society that it might not be able to reveal to us?
In addition to analyzing the content and language of your document, you might also want to consider the silences of your document. Those, too, can be illuminating. Where is your document notably silent? What are aspects of its subject matter that it ignores or does not engage? What might those silences reveal to us as modern scholars?
Note: the list of questions I have included here is meant to guide you as you develop your analysis, but the list is not meant to be exhaustive or restrictive. You should certainly examine facets of your chosen document that are not covered in this list of questions, if you feel that your analysis would benefit from that.
Readings to choose from will be attached, choose one doc only