What Circumstances Supported Innovation in the Medieval and Early Modern worlds

Innovation and Technology

HST318: Written Assignments

In your papers, you will be using the relevant evidence from this course (NOT from online sources unless approved!!!) to answer the following questions:

Written Assignment # 2: What circumstances/conditions supported innovation in the Medieval and Early Modern worlds (China, Islam, and Medieval and Renaissance Europe)? (limit three factors)

Your answer to the first question is your thesis. This thesis must be supported by the evidence from the course. You can argue for between one and three factors (resources [financial, human, or natural], openness, competition, cultural exchange, etc.) that contributed to the innovativeness of the period. To be useful in understanding innovation, each of your factors should be found in all four of the civilizations covered in this section. And please avoid using broad categories that can explain almost anything, such as “necessity.” Remember that you have to use the evidence that you have to argue for the factor(s) that you choose. So, the evidence should determine your factors, rather than you trying to impose your own beliefs on the data. Your goal is to understand the past, NOT to use it as resource to support what you already believe about the world. (see: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/588/01/ for help creating your thesis.) Note: Your thesis belongs in your introductory paragraph!!!

Your papers need to be submitted online to SafeAssignment (Please no pdfs!! Use either Word or Rich Text Format).

Formatting and Basic Requirements:

  • 5 – 7 pages
  • 12 pt. font (Times New Roman)
  • Double-spaced (and do not put an extra space between paragraphs! (that means turning off the 10pt or 8pt setting for paragraphs in Word.)
  • 1” margins
  • Left justify only
  • No subheadings
  • include page numbers (top right corner except on the first page)
  • include an outline (Please use one of the two templates that I provided). Please place at the beginning of your assignment (it does not count towards the length of the paper!).
  • include a “Works Cited” page (see “What your paper should look like”)
  • cover page not necessary

NO online sources (except ones provided in this course)!!!!!!! You can use additional sources to supplement your paper (not required) but they must be credible sources (books and/or scholarly journals). Books and journals that can be accessed online through ASULibraries are NOT online sources. If you decide to use an outside source it should only be to supplement your paper, not as a source to answer the questions. You have to read the assigned books! Online sources (especially Wikipedia!) are not allowed!! (Unless approved by me. You can use scholarly journals accessed through the library, but they are not required.)

Basic Writing Instructions (see: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/owlprint/724/ for help with writing paper)

  1. Introductions and Conclusions:


Purpose: To introduce the reader to the general topic and the subject of your paper


  • relevant background or contextual information
  • the topic of your paper
  • your thesis


Purpose: Summarize your paper

  • summarize your conclusions based on the content in the body of your paper
  • pose further questions or considerations of the topic.

For more help go here: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/owlprint/724/

  1. Quoting


  1. Plagiarism: Plagiarism: 1) copying the exact wording of someone else’s work as your own (unless quoted and cited); 2) make slight changes from the original and presenting as your own (even if you credit the source); 3) using someone else’s form, structure, or ideas as your own. If you are using someone else’s words you need to put them in quotation marks (even if you cite the source)!!!
  1. When do I use Quotes?

Use quotes only:

  • to show that an authority supports your position
  • you want to capture the wording in the original because it uses especially moving or historically significant language.
  • if the meaning would be lost or altered if paraphrased.
  • to present an argument or phrase that you would like to critique or comment on.

*see link on Blackboard “Quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing”


  1. How to use Quotes

Do not use free floating quotes as a substitute for sentences in your paper. Many students like to use quotes to write their own papers rather than using them as a supplement. Therefore to help students avoid this problem I’m requiring you to introduce your quotes. For example:


Correct: The Catholic Church did not share this new outlook, however, and opposed Descartes’ methods for “his systematic doubt, his embrace of Copernicus, and his claim the deterministic mechanism ruled in nature” (Gregory, 145).

Incorrect: The mechanism of evolution or the how was also explained by Ruse.  “When scientists today speak of ‘evolutionary theory’ they are usually referring to a theory explaining the mechanics of evolution, that is the ‘how’ of evolution” (Ruse, 255).

  1. Long Quotes

If you include a long quote in your paper (they are usually unnecessary so I don’t want to see more than one) you need to: 1) indent it; 2) single space it; 3) use no quotation marks; and 4) cite your source.


Government is the formation of an association of individuals, by mutual agreement, for mutual defence and advantage, to be governed by specific rules. And, when rightly formed, it embraces Pagans, Jews, Mahometans and Christians, within its fostering arms – prescribes no creed of faith for either of them – proscribes none of them for being heretics, promotes the man of talents and integrity, without inquiring after his religion – impartially protects all of them – punishes the man who works ill to his neighbor, let his faith and motives be what they may. Who, but tyrants, knaves and devils, can object to such government? (Leland, 476)

  1. How to cite sources:

***History majors: use either Chicago style or Turabian (A Manual for Writers). http://library.osu.edu/sites/guides/turabiangd.php (you will lose 5 points for every paper that you do not use Chicago style). As a history major you are required to know and use Chicago style.

Non-history majors: For sources from a book or journal article use author’s last name and page number. e.g. (Smith, 98). For material from course cite as (HST318: The Roman Empire). For material from one of the documentaries include the source and name of the particular documentary you’re referencing. For example: (Nova: Building the Great Cathedrals)

  1. When to cite sources:

For basic information that is considered general knowledge you don’t need to cite your source(s). For example, if you’re giving a general overview of the Egyptian Empire [when? Where? Who?] you don’t need to cite your source. But for everything else you do! You not only need to give the author credit, but you also need to let your reader know where you got the information so that they can check it out for themselves. For more information see: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/589/02/

Example where a citation not needed:

Driven by his humanist values, Copernicus felt that a model of an irrational, inconstant universe had led to the deterioration of the state of astronomy, and he set out in his work to restore astronomy to the “pure” science of the ancients.

Example where a citation is needed:

But in the exploration of natural objects, Cook argues that they were very interested, or passionate, in such endeavors.  Those who were the most interested in nature often had the most to gain or lose (Cook, 45).

Citing material from the course:

For videos: Include the title of the video and the program that hosted it. For example: (NOVA: The Emperor’s Ghost Army) or (The History Channel: Engineering an Empire: Rome).

For Power Point outlines: (HST318: Egyptian Engineering) or (HST318: Greece)

  1. Works Cited Page:

You will need to have a works cited page, even though in most cases you will have only one source. In listing your source(s) include: author, title, publisher, and date of publication.


Headrick, Daniel R. Technology: A World History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

  1. Writing to a general audience:

Papers should always be written to a general audience, unless otherwise stated. Do not write the paper to me!! Don’t discuss your assignment! Pretend that you’re writing your paper for publication for a popular magazine with a general audience that knows nothing about your assignment or topic. So you need to include basic information (time, place, who, etc.).

  1. Writing Papers: Common Grammatical Problems:
  1. Numbers: When writing a formal paper all numbers below 100 need to be typed out. For example: The house had only four windows.
  2. Then and than:
  1. then is used to indicate something following something else in time. (this then that)
  2. than indicates a comparison (this is better than that).

“1 a—used as a function word to indicate the second member or the member taken as the point of departure in a comparison expressive of inequality ; used with comparative adjectives and comparative adverbs <older than I am><easier said than done> b—used as a function word to indicate difference of kind, manner, or identity ; used especially with some adjectives and adverbs that express diversity <anywhere else than at home>2: rather than —usually used only after prefer, preferable, and preferably3: other than4: when 1b —used especially after scarcely and hardly” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

  1. Possessives: To show possession an apostrophe and “s” are used.

Example: Fred’s car; Tom’s cat (not Toms)

Exception: Its (shows possession). “It’s” (means “it is”).

  1. Titles: For books, journal titles, and newspaper titles use italics. For articles and chapter titles use quotation marks.


Natural Science in Western History (book)

Slavic Review (journal)

The New York Times (newspaper)

“Learning in the Middle Ages” (chapter title)

Writing resources:













How your papers will be graded:


The essays will be graded on the quality of the answer (a well written response based on evidence from the document that shows that you understand the material). An “A” paper is a paper that is excellent and demonstrates that the student went above and beyond. A “C” paper is an average paper that meets the requirements but doesn’t go beyond that. (see Grading Rubric below) **************You will lose additional points on your second paper if you do not incorporate feedback from your first paper*********************


  1. Thesis (10%)
    • A paper: A clear thesis that includes between one and three factors and is well supported by the evidence.
    • B paper: A clear thesis that includes between one and three factors that is supported by the evidence.
    • C paper: Acceptable thesis but not clear or not consistently supported by evidence.
  2. Outline/organization (10%):
  • Well organized (sequentially according to the time periods or by your three factors)
  • Includes all assigned time periods and/or places (Please use dates!)
  • formatting that makes the outline easy to understand and read, and useful for organizing the paper
  1. Argument (30%)
    • A paper: Your argument is strong (logical and coherent). Student uses evidence from the course effectively to support the thesis (uses specific examples and connects them to thesis). Demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of all the required course material.
    • B paper:  Your argument is persuasive, but not always logically supported by the evidence presented. Student understands the basic concepts and ideas from the course material.
    • C paper: Your argument is sufficient but not strong. The evidence presented is not always sufficient or is irrelevant. Student understands most of the basic concepts and ideas from the course material.
  2. Content (30%)
    • A paper: Includes evidence from all of the required periods. Uses and demonstrates a high level of comprehension of the history covered in the course!!! Includes relevant contextual information (dates, places, etc.) to help readers understand the topic.
    • B paper: Includes evidence from most of the required periods. Uses and demonstrates a high level of comprehension of the history covered in the course!!! Includes relevant contextual information (dates, places, etc.) to help readers understand the topic.
    • C paper: Includes evidence from most of the required periods. Uses and demonstrates a basic understanding of the history covering in the course!!! Missing some relevant contextual information (dates, places, etc.) to help readers understand the topic.
  3. Writing (20%)
    • Followed the instructions on formatting!! (see below)
    • Introduction and conclusion (see worksheet on introductions and conclusions)
    • Clear and concise.
    • Well organized and flows from one topic to the next.
    • Grammatical and spelling mistakes should be minor and minimal.
    • Using quotes correctly and only when necessary (5 points!)
    • You must cite your sources! And you need to include the page number, not the date the book was published!!!! Example: (Ames, 22) See below for details.