History 289R Spring 2016 Essay Assignment #1: Comparative Advertising 4-5 pages

1 History 289R Spring 2016 Essay Assignment #1: Comparative Advertising 4-5 pages due in LECTURE on 03/02/16 As we have seen, advertising techniques and methods changed dramatically in American history. This essay will require you to engage in a comparative exploration of advertising over several decades. You have the choice of three possible essay topics; please write an essay on only one of these topics: 1. The historian Roland Marchand has argued that advertisements changed dramatically in the period 1880-1940 in both form and function. Demonstrate and explain this shift within its historical context using the ads provided in Packet #1. How did advertisers in the automobile industry sell products in this period? Why did they use these techniques? 2. Using the sources in Packet #2, explain the uses of advertising during three periods of conflict in the United States: the American Revolution, the Civil War, and World War I. How did the ads reflect larger themes in American society? Why did advertisers use these techniques? What does this tell us about the role of consumers during wartime? 3. Analyze the meaning and uses of gendered and racialized imagery and language in the advertisements produced between 1890 and 1940 available in Packet #3 and explain their historical context. Why did marketers use these images during this era? What does this help us understand about the roles of men and women and people of color in this era? Each of the above essays corresponds to a set of advertisements labeled under “Essay #1” on ELMS/Canvas. The citation for each advertisement is available in the note of the corresponding PowerPoint slide. You may, if you wish, use the ads available in any of the packets or supplement them with your own research of this era provided you cite appropriately and that the ads are derived from a reliable, scholarly source. If you would like to supplement the advertisements we have provided, you may undertake some research into primary advertising sources available online or in hard copy. However, you must provide us copies of any other advertisements you use. You may want to begin by examining the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising, and Marketing History: http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/adaccess/ OR the sources available at the Vintage Ad Brower website: http://www.vintageadbrowser.com/ 2 Your task is to conduct an analysis of advertising as it changed over time. You must make an argument and support it with analysis of the sources you choose. You must ground your argument in historical context. Be sure to use the secondary source works assigned for this course to bolster your argument. Once you have gathered your documentary evidence, take a look at the essay by Susan Strasser on the development of modern advertising on the ELMS/Canvas course site. This background essay will help you shape your own argument. The strongest essay (read: A-level work) will do three things: • Develop a clear, analytical thesis that is supported with evidence. • Carefully consider and analyze primary source evidence. • Situate an argument in relationship to information available in the primary and secondary sources from other assigned readings in the syllabus. Academic Honesty A final word about plagiarism: any paper that is taken either as a whole or in part from another source (a classmate’s paper, an essay on the web, a book, SparkNotes, etc.), has fabricated citations, or is improperly cited will be given an F with no opportunity to be resubmitted. In addition, we will submit the information to the University’s Honor Council for review. If you have questions on plagiarism, please email us or ask us in class or during our office hours. Some Tips: • Remember this: you cannot offer sweeping judgments. You do not have enough evidence to do so. Limit your argument to what you can actually prove with the sources at hand. Do not attempt to offer an expansive explanation for entire decades when you have only looked at a few advertisements. To do so will completely undermine your argument. Your argument should be about the advertisements you considered and the messages therein. Stay concise. Stay narrow. Stay focused. • That said, the strongest essays always situate what you have found within larger arguments. • Remember this: Cultural history can be very challenging. From the sources you have available, it will be nearly impossible to discern audience reaction. Your sources are about the creators of images, symbols, advertisements, etc, or those images/articles themselves. Any attempt to assert an argument based on audience reception or perception will be rejected. Do not attempt to explain how 3 people viewed or reacted to the ads. You simply do not have the appropriate evidence to present this kind of argument. • Gather enough evidence to be persuasive. You must offer examples on which to base your assertions. In all but the most extreme cases, your argument should be based on multiple sources (ie: pieces of evidence). You must use multiple advertisements to support your arguments. Your argumentation will likely be unpersuasive if you do not have relevant and/or adequate sources on which to build it, or if you have failed to analyze the sources. • Simply describing a source is not adequate. You must analyze it to give it meaning. You cannot assume your reader will take away the meaning you intend. Take control of your sources! • Visit the Writing Center or have someone else proofread your essay. Writing matters! If you cannot express your ideas or your evidence clearly, your grade will suffer. Technical Stuff: ™ Be sure to cite fully in Chicago/Turabian style. If you are unfamiliar with this system, please consult a librarian, a reference guide, or the tips on our ELMS/Canvas site. Do not rely on the tool on the Library website. This is incorrect more often than not. And above all else, do not try to invent a system of your own. ™ Use endnotes ONLY. (No parenthetical citations or footnotes.) ™ DO NOT use the first person. This is an analytical essay. Your “feelings” and “beliefs” have no place in this assignment. You should write in declarative statements in the third person using supporting evidence drawn from historical sources. ™ Use 1-inch margins on each side and 12-point font (Times New Roman). ™ When writing about the past, use the past tense. ™ When using a proper name, introduce the person. Explain his or her relevance. ™ Practice good rhetorical skills. Avoid the passive voice at all costs! Do not begin sentences with these phrases: “there were” or “there was.” Both suggest weak argumentation and an inability to consider strong verbs, and are really, really boring to read. 4 Grading Scale: A: 93-100 points A-: 90-92 B+: 87-89 B: 83-86 B-: 80-82 C+: 77-79 C: 73-76 C-: 70-72 D+: 67-69 D: 63-66 D-: 60-62 F: 0-59