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HIST 103

Prof. Zajicek
Fall 2016

Assignment 4

Read Hunt, Inventing Human Rights, chapters 1 and 2


Write two prcises, one for each chapter

A prcis is a structured summary of a text (an article, a book, a book chapter)

Head your prcis with a bibliography-style citation to the work you are reading (Chicago
style preferred; see http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html for
templates.)
Each prcis should be 300-500 words

In your prcis, discuss the following:

What is the texts subject? (Who/where/when/what)


What problem or puzzle does the author identify? What is the central question?
What is the central argument? (The answer to the question, the solution to the puzzle)
What is the author analyzing? (Is she analyzing the language used in texts? Is she looking
at government budgets? Guild records? Lawsuits? Etc.)
Lay out the basic logic of the argument: What does the author find? How does she prove
it?
What conclusions does the author arrive at? (If someone were to ask you, could you
explain the "so what" of the article?)

Specific issues to consider when reading Hunt, Inventing Human Rights, chapters 1 & 2:
What were epistolary novels? When were they popular? What kinds of people read
them?
According to Hunt, how epistolary novels affect the people who read them? Why does it
matter?

What was judicial torture? Where was it used? When did European countries begin to ban
it?
According to Hunt, how did European ideas about a persons body change between the
15th century and the 18th century? How did this contribute to the abolition of torture?

Example
prcis Paper (Summary of a Journal Article)
Example
Response
HIST 452
Spring 2015
Dr. Zajicek
Wood, Elizabeth. "Trial of the New Woman: Citizens-in-Training in the New Soviet Republic."
Gender & History 13, no. 3 (Nov. 2001): 524-545.

Ideally,
provide a full,
bibliographystyle citation to
the work you
are
summarizing.

What is the
article's
subject? (who/
where/when/
what)

This is an article about Bolshevik attitudes toward gender and citizenship in the early
Soviet Union (1920s). The Bolsheviks explicitly declared that men & women would have equal
rights in the new Soviet system. They put together propaganda events like mock trials in which
they educated the population about the new rights, new norms. But Wood finds that the scripts of
these events are actually quite ambiguous: although they say that they are advocating full
What problem
equality for women, they present women as not yet ready for full participation BECAUSE of
or puzzle does
their femaleness. "their representation in these dramatic works in fact served to undermine the the author
identify? What
Soviet assertion that women were fully equal citizens" (525).
is the central
Wood does not think that the Bolsheviks were purely cynical when they talked about
question?
What is her
emancipation and citizenship rights (527), but they clearly did not understand citizenship as an
central
either-or dichotomy. In fact, she argues, they had a tripartite system: those who were fully
argument?
excluded (lishentsy), those who were fully included (class-conscious proletarians) and those in
between: ordinary workers and peasants, "citizens-in-training" (528).
The core of her article (530-540) is an analysis of the language used in mock-trial scripts.
She
shows
how female characters are cast as the "dark," benighted females who need to be
What is the
brought into modern political consciousness by the (male) party. Even the heroines of the scripts
author
are not fully ready for citizenship: they aren't very self-controlled, they are still meddling,
analyzing? Is
analyzing the gossipy, and partial. They need to be put into line by the paternalist male judge. (530, 537). Once Lay out the
language used they are brought to consciousness they cease to be "babas" and become "humans" - they are no basic logic of
in texts? Is she longer referred to as delegatki, they become part of the gender neutral/male "rabotniki) (533).
the analysis or
looking at
argument They move from subordinating themselves to the family and begin subordinating themselves
government
what does she
budgets? Guild wholly to working for the good of society, the collective "we" of the state (539).
Wood concludes that in the USSR citizenship for everyone was conditional: it depended find?
records?
on one's psychology, one's "consciousness." Those with full proletarian consciousness were
Lawsuits? ...
"super-citizens" (comrades); those with alien consciousness were lishentsy, excluded; and those What
in between were just plain citizens (539). But the boundaries between these categories were not conclusions
does the author
fixed formally - they were subjective, they were determined by how you talked, acted, by how
educated you were - by your personal qualities This opened up opportunities for people to find arrive at? If
someone were
new justification for the exclusion of women on grounds that their femaleness made them
to ask you,
unsuitable for full citizenship, was a sign that they were not fully conscious (540).
could you
explain the "so
what" of the
article?