Paper work about Gandhi: A Spiritual Biography

| March 27, 2018

Instructions: This assignment is designed to help you master the skill of reading secondary historical sources. For this essay, you will be analyzing a particular type of secondary source: historical biographies. Students must begin by consulting the document, “How to Read a Secondary Source,” which is also available on-line in html format at: (section 2.a.).


Looking at the STAMP technique in the document mentioned above, try to answer the questions about the book’s (T)hesis, (A)rgument and to a lesser extent (M)otive. That is, begin by identifying the thesis, and then analyze the author’s argument(s). What is the argument that Sharma is making? Is it convincing? How is the big argument (thesis) structured into little arguments? Is the reasoning valid? Does the evidence seem to support the conclusions? Can you detect the underlying assumptions in this argument? What are they? Why does he call it a “spiritual biography”? Lastly, if there is space in your paper and it is possible, consider the author’s possible motives. Why did he write this book?

The reading material is available  at

Guidelines for Essays Mark Nathan

Asian Civilizations II (HIS/AS 182) Spring 2018


1. Papers must be at least 1,000 words (approximately 4 to 5 pages) in length; they must also be typed, double-spaced, and use 12-pt. font.

2. In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, write your name, followed by the assignment date on the next line, followed by the name of the class on the line below that. Begin writing your paper on the same page below the course name after skipping one line.

3. A new paragraph should be indented; do not skip an extra space between paragraphs.

4. Page numbers must be included.

5. The questions or prompts for the essay are designed to allow you to focus solely on the historical biography you were assigned without the need to consult other sources. HOWEVER…

6. Any information you get from another source that is not common knowledge or general historical knowledge must be cited. You must acknowledge the sources of quotations, paraphrases, arguments, and specific references that you use. However, you do not need to cite sources for information that most people would generally consider common knowledge (e.g., the fact that Lincoln won the Presidential election of 1860). Conversely, you must cite your source for any claim that appears to contradict common knowledge—for example, that Lincoln won the southern states in that election (since he wasn’t even on the ballot in most southern states, this claim is controversial and must be supported). And you must cite matters of interpretation, such as an author’s ideas for why Lincoln appealed to so many voters. If you are in doubt about citing “common knowledge” information, err on the side of giving a reference; even unintended failure to cite your sources constitutes technical plagiarism.

7. The only acceptable citation style for sources other than the book you were assigned is Chicago Style. For information about how to cite using this style, please refer to (use the menu on the right to see models for different types of sources). Please use endnotes instead of footnotes, and you do not need a “Works Cited” page.

8. Every paper should have many citations to the book you were assigned. Without citations to specific page numbers, we have no way to check the references you are making to the author’s ideas or arguments. Given how many times you will need to cite this specific work, you can just put the page number in parenthesis in the text. This applies to quotations, paraphrases, arguments and specific references. Sometimes the author revisits an argument or issue, in which case you should include multiple page numbers separated by commas (7, 46), or talks at length about a single issue over several pages, in which case you should include a page range (84-89); occasionally, both would be called for (14-15, 162).

9. All papers will be submitted electronically through SafeAssign on the course website (UBLearns) in the Assignments folder. Late submissions will be penalized two points for each day they are late unless there is a documented and valid reason for failing to meet the deadline.

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