("Research Option" Paper 2)


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These topics may be completed in a team of two or three students, drawing together a range of primary sources.


Chose one of the following topics:

1. Read Murchison's 1842 "President's Anniversary Address: Glacial Theory." Explain fully his point of view and argue in its favor, drawing upon the relevant primary documents and authorities from the previous two decades or so.


2. Some individuals or groups today argue that historical explanations or theories based on historical data are inherently weak because no one actually witnessed the events in question. On the basis of the evidence, argue that we can have at least as much confidence in "believing" in glaciation as in any other theory about the Earth, and certainly more confidence in glaciation than any other explanation concerning "drift" or other facts considered in the debate in the first half of the 19th Century.


3. New ideas often emerge slowly out of the fog of battle rather than in a blinding, collective moment of epiphany for all concerned. Is this true, or was Agassiz a lightning bolt of truth?


4. Agassiz has often been credited with having been the "father" of the glacial theory, and this attribution has equally often been criticized as inaccurate. Reviewing as much of the primary material as you can from the period 1835-1845, argue why either "side" might be correct in its assessment.

Prepare and submit for review one week before a in-class debate or presentation:

1. A written paper:

2. A 5-minute presentation (not read) with relevant visuals and limited text.

Evaluation will be based on :

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