Weber Applied Theory Essay

I. General description

In this assignment students will practice working with theory to conceptualize and ask questions about an important historical phenomenon.

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More specifically, students will write three essays that make use of theorists’analytical concepts, historical concepts & arguments about the drivers of historical change to develop research questions about slavery in American history.

Students choose the three theorists they’d like to use at the start of the quarter. The options are: Marx, Du Bois, Weber, Durkheim. These choices are final!

Please note: no outside sources should be used for this assignment. Everyone will work with the same material: readings, lectures and some or all of a 4-part PBS documentary film, Slavery & the Making of America (2004). This film is freely available via Kanopy—please see the syllabus for information on how to access and setup your Kanopy account.

DEADLINES: Fridays one week after we complete readings/discussions of the theorist (eg: we cover Marx in weeks 2 & 3; applied Marx essays are due Friday of week 4). Deadlines are also listed in the syllabus and on the “Assignments” page.

LENGTH: 2-3 pages single spaced, 1-inch margins

FORMAT: Submitted as documents in PDF or DOCX format

TO SUBMIT: Upload your essays via the “Assignments” page

Please note the late policy, per the syllabus:


o o



Elements of the assignment


submitted by the due date/time (or late, but excused) = full credit (as graded) +

participation/communication credit

submitted within 24 hours of due date/time, not excused = 10% grade penalty

submitted more than 24 hours/within 72 hours of due date/time, not excused = 30%

grade penalty + participation/communication penalty

if handed in more than 72 hours from due date/time & not excused, we will not accept the


NOTE: excused = explicitly agreed by instructor(s) BEFORE the assignment

deadline. Exceptions can be made in cases of emergency.


1. Watch at least two segments of the PBS film, Slavery in the Making of America. Take notes on the facts as presented by the film: what happened, when, involving whom, why, with what consequences? Your notes should read as a play-by-play summary of the segments of the film you watch, paying extra attention to facts/events/people/things that interest you most.

Mudge, Soc 100 – applied theory essay guidance – current as of 10/13/20202. In each applied theory essay, address these three questions:

1) What historical concepts would the theorist use to talk about slavery in American history? Reference your notes on the film plus readings & lectures to make your case.

2) What analytical approach would the theorist use to understand slavery in American history? Here you should use the theorist’s analytical concepts. Again, reference your notes on the film plus readings & lectures to make your case.

3) What research questions might the theorist ask about slavery’s causes, dynamics and effects? Please identify at least two research questions. Your questions should be “how” or “why” questions—that is, they should be explanatory questions focused on cause and effect. Again, be sure to use the theorist’s conceptual language and to reference the film plus readings & lectures to make your case.

III. Things to note:

o PleaseuseONLYmaterialsfromthiscourse(readings,lectures,thefilm).No outside sources.

o Allessaysshoulddemonstratecloseengagementwithcoursematerials,with plenty of specific references to/citation of readings, especially.

o Essays should be clear, to-the-point and well-written, with careful citation (author, year, “title,” page or lecture#) provided in footnotes.

o Your essays should consist of an introductory paragraph, a discussion that directly addresses the three questions (listed above), and a brief concluding paragraph summarizing key points.

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