Students will then write a 4 to 5-page summary of that week’s
Summaries should include a brief description of what each article or chapter is
about, an overview of the most important points made by each author, and identify the
thesis or main argument. The best summaries will also find a way of synthesizing the
material from the readings of a particular week by discussing common themes or points
made by the different authors. Consideration should also be given to what the readings
contribute to the topic of that week’s readings.
A few notes
• Due dates will vary depending on the set of readings for which each student
signed up. For example, a student who signs up for Week 4’s readings
(Transforming Natural Space into Urban Space) will submit their summary on
Thursday, February 3, 2022.
• The primary sources from The New York Times and The Globe and Mail are NOT part
of this assignment. Read and summarize only the secondary sources.
• The purpose of this assignment is for students to do a thorough reading on one of
the topics of this course, to distill the content down to the most important points
and arguments of the authors, and to succinctly and in your own words convey
this information.
• No quotations should be used in this assignment, but ideas that are not your own
must be cited using footnotes.
Students will hand hardcopy assignments in at the beginning of class on the due date. In
the event of Covid-related lockdowns, assignments can be emailed to the instructor
before class. All work must be double-spaced, using 12-point font and 1-inch margins and
include page numbers. Student name, student number, due date, course director’s name,
and assignment title should be written on the first page (no title pages are necessary).
Proper footnotes and bibliographies are required with each assignment and must follow
the Chicago Manual of Style ( – choose ‘Citation Quick Guide’ and then ‘Notes
and Bibliography Style’. Students should retain copies of all drafts and rough work.
Late assignments will be penalized at a rate of 4% per day, weekends included, and will
not be accepted after one week past the deadline. Special circumstances will be
considered if accompanied with appropriate written documentation.
How to effectively “read” the articles/chapters
Here are some questions to guide you, though you do not have to go through them one
after the other in your reading summary:
1. What are the stated aim(s) of the article/chapter?
2. What is the core or central argument(s)? (What is the author trying to show?)
3. Does the author introduce any concepts or theories that are important?
4. Which research methods are employed?
5. What sources of evidence are used to support the author’s arguments?
6. If a book chapter is being used, what is the book about in general? (Check the
publisher’s website or read an online book review via the library if you do not
have a copy)
If there are passages here and there that seem complicated, don’t sweat them, just move
on. An aim of this course is to develop your understanding of how historical research is
done and how authors use different types of evidence to develop arguments and
General writing tips
• Do not discuss or get bogged down in great detail about one single aspect of one of
the readings, as it may detract from other aspects of the work you would want to
• Make sure each major paragraph in your summary presents and develops a single
main point. In a paper as short as this, long paragraphs are generally not a good
• Support any general points you make or attitudes you express with specific
reasons and details. Statements such as “I found the article very interesting” are
meaningless without specific evidence that shows why you feel as you do.

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