Research Essay

Structure of Assignment:
For this assignment you must choose between two types of essays. Option #1 is to write a traditional research paper on one of the topics discussed in this course. Option #2 is a research paper that critically examines the Harry Potter website WizardingWorld

Essay format, and ask students to include the work of scholars relevant to their chosen topics. The guidelines for writing a research essay including descriptions of primary and secondary sources and methods of citation can be found at the end of this document.

Option #2: Harry Potter website, a critical analysis

This assignment is an opportunity for you to apply the lens of the historian to the Harry Potter universe to explore central themes in this course on Magic. Specifically, it will ask you to write a research paper analyzing parallels between the Harry Potter lore found on the website WizardingWorld rowling.

Though fictional, the Harry Potter world created by JK Rowling is deeply historical at its core. Those of you who have read any of the books or watched the movie versions may have already noticed parallels between many of the characters, events and histories discussed in the books and well-known real historical events and individuals. In fact, you may have noticed connections with the themes and events discussed in this course. For example, the Ministry of Magic might remind you of the Nazi regime in Germany, and the influence of Voldemort akin to that of other charismatic authoritarian political leaders. Similarly, the discriminatory labeling of non-magical people as “muggles,” and Hermione as a “mudblood” echoes discriminatory practices and beliefs found throughout history. Of course, magic historically has been used to subvert oppression, whether political, religious, patriarchal or other in nature. We find parallels of this as well in the Harry Potter world.

Finally, as historians, we also cannot overlook authors themselves as historical figures, especially influential ones like Rowling who have the influence to shape public discourse. The recent and ongoing controversy over her transphobic remarks on social

media are worthy of historical scrutiny and we welcome papers that include this as part of their analysis of the website.

T this is an essay assignment. This means that you will need to develop an argument and prove it based upon your analysis of the narratives on the site and the work of scholars relevant to your chosen topic and theme.

To structure your paper, you must do the following. Firstly, identify and then discuss 2- 3 themes/topics taught in this course that are also visible in the Harry Potter histories (lore) found on the website in the section labeled “Archive.” The link takes you there.
There are many tales contained in this archive, and some are more historical in nature than others. Please take time to choose carefully.

Then, once you have identified relevant themes/topics, you will need to find and read the relevant work of at least 3 scholars (articles, book chapters), you will want to describe and then analyze these parallels. Your analysis should consider not only similarities but also any differences between the real and imaginary historical event.

Some possible themes/topics discussed in this course to consider for your analysis:
Gender Class
Discrimination versus inclusion Magic and science
Magic and religion Magic and healing Persecution
Magic and political power Magic and colonization


As you have seen from your tutorial work, primary sources come in various forms: essays, chronicles, financial documents, legal cases and so forth. Your task is to find primary sources that are relevant to your topic and will help substantiate your argument.

Students may use the documents assigned for tutorials as primary texts as well as published editions. You may use certain respected online sources (see list attached in A2L). For other internet sites, please check with your TA to see if they are legitimate. Please note: when you cite documents from an online source, you must use the publishing information and NOT the website address.


The only legitimate ones are original pieces of historical work. These can take the form of books (monographs) or articles. The books must come from University presses and incorporate original research. Ideally you wish to use recent work, perhaps no earlier than 1980. The articles should come from academic presses as well and also incorporate original work. Some of the most common for early modern history in the Mediterranean are: The Journal of Modern History, Renaissance Quarterly, The Mediterranean Historical Review, Past and Present, and American Historical Review, Slavery @ Abolition, William and Mary Quarterly, Journal of Caribbean History. There are many others. Not ALL articles are found in J-STOR. Historical Abstracts and America: History and Life are the largest databases. You can access this through the Library system.
*Please note: Encyclopedias, Wikipedia, your textbook and so forth are NOT original secondary sources. DO NOT CITE THESE. Lectures are also synthetic works. NEVER CITE lecture material. If you have any questions about relevant sources, please consult with your TA.

Correct essay style is required for all written assignments in this course. The following provides a few basic guidelines. Those requiring further guidance should consult either Kate Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, or The Chicago Manual of Style.
The Chicago Manual is now online.

The purpose of any essay is to prove an argument. You are not simply discussing a document and/or historical perspective but analyzing it and using it to bolster your own interpretation. For the sake of clarity, it is essential that you state your argument early on in your essay in the introductory paragraph. It is also important that you tell the reader how you intend to prove your argument. For example, if you say that your argument is that Machiavelli believed that prince must be virtuous to rule effectively, you might well state in your introduction that this is apparent in his discussions of justice and charity.

The pages following your introduction will develop different facets of your argument leading to the final conclusion. This is the body of your paper. Here you must organize your analysis into multiple paragraphs, and each paragraph must lead logically from the previous one. If you are working on one document, be sure first to introduce it to the reader before proceeding to the analysis. Describe the nature of this document and when possible, its author. Throughout your analysis, be sure to periodically remind the reader of your larger argument. For example, “Machiavelli’s insistence upon the importance of virtue is also apparent in his discussion of ….”

How to cite primary and secondary sources
Essays are judged on clarity as much as on analysis. Clarity depends upon the proper use of grammar and spelling as well as good organization. Page numbers, the names of the student and the professor, and the course number must always be included. Double- space paper, use 12-point font and black ink only. Every essay, even when using only one source, must also list that source in a bibliography at the back of the paper.

Here are a few examples below, but please consult Turabian or The Chicago Manual of Style for a complete listing of the required formats.

Iso-Ahola, Seppo E., and Ellen Weissinger. “Perceptions of Boredom in Leisure: Conceptualization, Reliability and Validity of the Leisure Boredom Scale.” Journal of Leisure Research 22 (Winter 1990): 17-25

Vonnegut, Kurt. Slaughterhouse-Five: Or, the Children’s Crusade: a Duty-Dance With Death. New York: Dell, 1969.
Salzman, Jack, David Lionel Smith, and Cornel West, eds. Encyclopedia
of African-American Culture and History. 5 volumes. New York: Macmillan Library Reference, 1996.

Do you need urgent help with this or a similar assignment? We got you. Simply place your order and leave the rest to our experts.

Order Now

Quality Guaranteed!

Written From Scratch.

We Keep Time!

Scroll to Top