One task of historians is moving from a diversity of sources to a compelling narrative of historical events. You will frame your primary source collection with a 1500-2000 word contextual essay that presents your synthesis of how the sources you analyze fit together. Taken together, what do these sources reveal, and what is their larger historical significance?
Remember to cite all sources using Chicago style. For information on how to insert footnotes, see this site.
Examples of Contextual Essays
Note: these don’t follow the exact length/content requirements of your project. They’re intended to be models of how other historians writing for a broad audience have approached explaining historical context and interpreting a topic on the web.
- Adams, Ellen, et al., “American Empire,” Ellen Adams and Amy Kohout, eds., in The American Yawp, eds. Joseph Locke and Ben Wright (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2018). http://www.americanyawp.com/text/19-american-empire/
- Jiménez, Maya. “Early Scientific Exploration in Latin America,” in Smarthistory, January 4, 2018. https://smarthistory.org/exploration-latin-america/