This is a small assignment that asks you to evaluate the possibilities and limits of historical evidence. Choose one small discrete piece of evidence either from Horsmanden’s Journal of the conspiracy trials or from the Archeological Report (eg. one passage in Horsmanden, one artifact or element of archeological evidence at the African Burial ground). Then write a paper that assesses the nature of this evidence. What kinds of arguments might it support and how? What are its blind-spots? What can and what can’t it tell you? What is convincing and what remains partial or unsatisfactory about it as evidence? The goal of this paper is not for you to draw some big conclusion about whether there was a conspiracy in 1741 or to assess the nature of African American society in early New York; it is simply to think about how to make an argument about these kinds of questions from the tiny shards of evidence that are usually all we have.
Due February 4th at 4:00 PM, email a copy to your professor. Come to class on February 7th prepared to discuss your assessment.
2 pages, double spaced, 12 point font (approx 500 words)