Précis Exercise – #2 Why should we trust anything we read in this writing? What, if anything, gives it legitimacy?

 Questions: 1) Why should we trust anything we read in this writing? What, if anything, gives it legitimacy? a. Who is/are the author(s)? Does the author have a Ph.D.? What is the author’s profession? Where is the author employed? b. Does the author tell you anything about the circumstances under which this article or chapter was researched and/or written? Was it as part of a doctoral dissertation? Was it completed with a grant from a major research foundation? Does the author refer to having a personal relationship to the topic? c. Where is this article or piece of writing published? What kind of publication is that — ie is it peer reviewed, popular, affiliated with a major scholarly organization, an academic publisher or self-published? 2) What is the author’s thesis statement? Can you determine it? Quote it verbatim (and give the page number) if possible. Your answer to this question should not be more than a sentence or two long. The author’s thesis statement should summarize the main argument of the entire article. If you believe the author is actually making two separate arguments, there may be two thesis statements. 3) What is the author’s main argument(s), in your own words? Your answer to this question should begin, “The author is arguing that …” Make sure you are specific in stating the claim of the argument(s), and not simply what the article is about. This answer need not be more than three sentences long (but could be just one). Your summary should encompass the main arguments of the entire article. 4) What do other contemporary scholars who have written on this topic believe? Does the author agree or disagree with them and in what ways? On what issues do they concur and where do they depart? Does the author present a legible summary of other scholars’ interpretations whether they’re in agreement or not? To answer this question, you will probably need to use the article footnotes. You don’t need to mention the author’s stand on every other scholar whom they cite, just the major ones on whose work the author is primarily building their argument(s) and thesis and/or whose interpretation (if anyone’s) is being the most strongly refuted. 5) What evidence (such as primary source material or archaeological remains) does the author use to support their arguments? Be specific — note and cite verbal, visual, and material evidence. 6) Do you find the author’s argument and use of evidence persuasive? Why or why not? 7) Do the article’s organization and author’s writing style and use of language contribute to or detract from your comprehension of the seminal issues? Can you follow the thesis through to the end of the piece? Does the writing pique or dull your interest in the topic? Bring these questions and your answers to class as a printed, double-spaced, paginated, and stapled document labeled with your name. Please use a legible font and font size 11 or 12 (eg Times New Roman 12 or Helvetica 11 or 12) and use 1 to 1.5” margins. Please print on both sides of each page, if possible. Please review and edit your responses carefully to make sure your text is free of typos and spelling and grammatical errors