General Overview: This research project will start with the student examining a recent news story (reported within the last year) that reveals new information about the historical past, OR a recent news story that contributes to the longer dialogue/history of the relationship between Africa, the Americas, and Europe. The goal of this essay should be to emphasize the idea that history is a continually developing story that evolves with new information, discoveries, and/or changes in political, social, and or economic conditions. Important note; the news story should be directly tied to an event that this course covers (pre-Columbian era to the end of the Civil War).

Examples: The recent discovery of a sunken slave ship off the coast of South Africa with slaves from the east coast of Africa; The discovery of the time capsule found in a building in Boston; The issues of epidemic diseases such as Ebola, and the way epidemic diseases affected communities in the past.

Research Objectives & Questions to be Discussed in Your Essay:

  • What is the topic of the news story, and what does the reporter highlight as the current historical significance?
  • What is the historical context of the news story? What does it specifically relate to?
  • How does the news story either add new information, expand, and/or change what we know about the historical past?
  • In your assessment, should this story/discovery/research fundamentally change the way in which we teach history of this event/period?
  • Overall, using your news story as an example, how do recent events and discoveries illustrate that history is a dynamic and evolving study?
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