Assignment 9: Reading a Professional History Journal Article

Articles published in history journals are the highest quality and most current research available. When you use a history journal article, most of the difficult SIFT choices have already been made for you, and the included primary and secondary sources are all credible, which makes your task of finding useful information much easier.

That said, most history journal articles are not easy to find, or read. This week your Assignment will guide you through understanding the article "Ibn Fadlān And The Rūsiyyah" by James E. Montgomery.

Please answer the following questions in complete sentences.

  1. The article abstract is a one-paragraph summary of the argument (thesis) and evidence of the entire article and is typically presented before the actual article. The abstract for this article mentions the "Normanist Controversy." What is the "Normanist Controversy" in your own words in sentence or two.

  2. Historians use footnotes to cite their sources and include additional information. What does footnote 46 tell us about Vikings, in your own words?

  3. Historians write articles centered on a main point, or thesis. The thesis is often in the first part of the article. When reading an article, it is best to read in this order:

    i. abstract
    ii. first paragraph(s) looking for the thesis
    iii. last paragraph(s) looking for summary and thesis.
    iv. skim the middle of the article looking for supporting evidence.

    • What is Montgomery’s thesis (main point)? A thesis provable based on evidence and can not be just a topic or subject.
  4. Most people read history articles not for pleasure, but to get specific information out of theme, perhaps based on theme. In 2-4 sentences, what information do we learn from this article about how the Rūsiyyah or Fadlān accessed water, used water, or made meaning with water? Put another way, if you read the article just to learn about water, what did you learn?

  5. History articles often contain words we may not understand. Words in languages other than the article should always be explained as a translation. But we also need to look up words in English we do not know. What dictionary do you use regularly to look up words you don’t know? For example, I use the WordWeb app to lookup modern words I don’t know and Webster’s Writers Dictionary for 19th century English terms.