Understanding Power Dynamics, Research Ethics and the Social Sciences: Michael Bellesiles and Arming America? Over the first few weeks of the course, we have been exploring some foundati
SOC122 Essay One:
Understanding Power Dynamics, Research Ethics and the Social Sciences: Michael Bellesiles and Arming America?
Over the first few weeks of the course, we have been exploring some foundational concepts in the study of the social sciences. Among these concepts, the relationship between the social sciences and power dynamics and the importance of research ethics have been amongst the most important. This assignment provides you with an opportunity to apply your understanding of these concepts through the analysis of a case study.
In the year 2000, an American historian named Michael Bellesiles published a groundbreaking book entitled Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture.? Bellesiles argued that the research from his book called into question many of the foundational ideas of the pro-gun movement in the United States, whose belief that Americans have a right to own firearms is heavily grounded on the idea that guns were an important part of everyday life in colonial America. The book was initially very well reviewed and received by many prominent American historians, and it even won the Bancroft Prize in 2001, which is one of the most prestigious awards for books on the history of the United States. However, because of the claims that he made in his book, Bellesiles made a number of powerful enemies, and in the years that followed, Bellesiless Bancroft Prize was rescinded and he willingly resigned his job at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Why did Arming America? create such a firestorm of controversy? And at the end of the day, was Michael Bellesiles truly the villain that he was portrayed to be by his critics? It is up to you to decide.
In order to complete this assignment, you are first going to be responsible for reading a chapter on the Bellesiles case from the book Historians in Trouble: Plagiarism, Fraud and Politics in the Ivory Tower? by Jon Wiener. The chapter can be found on Blackboard, under the ?Assignments? tab on the side menu.
Once there, then click into Assignment One? to access the article (in PDF format).
Answer the following questions in ESSAY FORMAT to analyze the case, using the assigned reading and any course materials from the first four weeks of our course that you think are relevant:
(1) What was so controversial about Michael Bellesiless book Arming America? (Think of this section as a summary in your own words of what the whole controversy was all about, and include it in the first one or two paragraphs of your essay.)
(2) What eventually happened to Bellesiles and his book as he was investigated by a committee of his fellow historians? (This section, much like the first one, is largely about summarizing the details of the case from the assigned reading in roughly one paragraph).
(3) What are some examples of how power was used and perhaps abused by the various groups of people that Jon Wiener discusses in this chapter about the Bellesiles case? (This section is where you can start to flex your analytical muscles and critical thinking skills. The paragraphs in this section should NOT be summaries of the material from the reading; rather, you should make an argument about where power was used and abused in this story by pointing to specific examples and evidence from the reading).
(4) Using what you know about the importance of research ethics from our lectures, answer the following question: In your opinion, did Michael Bellesiles do anything wrong? (This concluding section, much like the section where you answered question three, is about making an argument based on your own analysis of the case study. It is, once again, NOT about summarizing the reading, but rather is about using evidence from the reading and from our course lectures on research ethics to defend your argument about whether or not Michael Bellesiles did anything wrong based on the way that he conducted his research).
Ensure that this assignment meets the following criteria:
– Please write in proper essay format (introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion)
– APA or MLA citation format include a title page and reference list for every source that you use to write the essay.
– Please do NOT use any external sources of research for this essay unless you email me first and I approve them.
– The essay should be between 750 1000 words, double-spaced
– Use 12-point font, Times New Roman font
– Microsoft Word (or comparably formatted) submissions only
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