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Essay will require active historical imaginations! Using only course materials and citing your evidence with footnotes, write 4 – 5 pages on one of the following topics. Note that you do not need to adopt a formal essay format for this assignment; instead, creativity is encouraged! But you should still adhere closely to the evidence in the readings, be attentive to historical context (that is, the circumstances that help to explain historical phenomena and change), and edit carefully for word choice, well-structured sentences, etc.
Imagine if Christopher Columbus and Thomas Hobbes could correspond with one another. What might they say to one another about their differing views of earthly and divine rule?
Let’s imagine that a single fourteenth-century Japanese cartographer had drawn both the map of Hineno Village (fig. 12, “Maps Are Strange”) and the map of Inoue Estate (fig. 13). Recreate a correspondence between this medieval cartographer and the early modern cartographer who drew the Nihonzu, or national map of Japan, from circa 1640 (fig. 16). You are welcome also to reference the other early modern maps: Kubikigu ezu (Map of Kubiki) from circa 1596 (fig. 14) and Echizen no kuni ezu (Map of Echizen Province, c. 1606) (fig. 15). What might the medieval and early modern cartographer say to one another about their differing views of political space?


To cite quotations or information from the readings or lectures, please use footnotes. The footnotes will suffice; you do not need a bibliography or works cited page. Your word processor will have an Insert Footnote function (it might be under a menu titled “References” or “Insert”). Bring your cursor to the space just after the last punctuation in the relevant sentence, click Insert Footnote, and your word processor will create a superscriipt number there and bring you to the space at the bottom of the page to write up the footnote.[1]

For our footnotes in this class, we’ll use Chicago Style citation format. Below are examples that you may use as a model, adjusting the page numbers as needed.

Carol Delaney, “Columbus’s Ultimate Goal: Jerusalem,” Comparative Studies in Society and History, Vol. 48, No. 2 (Apr., 2006), 270.

Christopher Columbus’s Book of Prophecies (c. 1502), excerpt. [No page number because none provided]

Michel de Montaigne, “That a Man Is Soberly to Judge of the Divine Ordinances,” in Essays (1580).

Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (1651), excerpts, 2.

Mary Elizabeth Berry, “Maps Are Strange,” in Japan in Print: Information and Nation in the Early Modern Period ( 2007), 54.

Alexander Haskell, “Lecture: A Solution to the Global Crisis in Europe: Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan(1651).” [no page number needed for a lecture]

After your first full citation of a text or a lecture, you may use a shortened version for all subsequent references to that text or lecture. Here are some examples:

Delaney, “Columbus’s Ultimate Goal: Jerusalem,” 271.

Christopher Columbus’s Book of Prophecies.

Montaigne, “That a Man Is Soberly to Judge of the Divine Ordinances.”

Hobbes, Leviathan, excerpts, 3.

Berry, “Maps Are Strange,” 56.

Haskell, “Lecture: A Solution to the Global Crisis in Europe.”

Please use 12-point font and double space.

Your essay does not need a cover page or a works cited page or bibliography. Please make sure to indicate your name, section number, and the date at the top of the first page.

Give your essay a title that begins to do the work of communicating to a reader what the paper is about or what it will say.


In this essay, you’re not tied to all the conventions of a formal analytical essay. But please make sure to rely closely on the readings and lectures, to engage with the themes of the course, and to make points that a reader can follow.

Please use only the materials from this class. You have all the material you need to say interesting things about the subject.

Writing for an imagined reader can help you to communicate effectively. The best imagined reader is a friend or relative who is not taking this class and who therefore needs everything explained clearly and interestingly. Never write a paper with your professor as your imagined reader, or you’re likely to take shortcuts or use the uncertain voice of a student. You’re the author of this paper, so adopt the confident persona of a teacher.

Even a creative piece of writing needs to be written well! Take the time to structure your sentences well. A good rule of thumb is to make sure every sentence has a Subject and a Predicate. If you’re unclear what they are, spend some time reviewing them in your writing textbook or on an online writing tutorial.

Punctuation and word choice are also important for communicating your meaning well, so take the time to include the appropriate punctuation and choose the word that best expresses what you want to say. If you have a choice between using a fancy word and a simple one, use the simple one. For example, in that last sentence, I could have said “utilize” a simple word, but “use” works just as well and is clearer to the reader.

Remember that the point is to produce writing that reads clearly and well. Most of us are not very good critics of our own writing, and we especially struggle to see where our writing becomes unclear to readers. So, in addition to imagining a virtual reader, you might want to share your essay-in-progress with a real one. Again, the best reader is arguably someone who is not taking the class, because he or she will have no choice but to rely on your words to make sense of what you are trying to say.