What is a Gobbet?
A “gobbet” (a word that also means a little piece of raw flesh) is a traditional pedagogic exercise that consists of a small excerpt of a primary source set for students to comment on and to explain the historical significance. Further details about gobbets and how to write them can be found in the Course Reader and the “Gobbets Made Easy” documents that are attached below.
Gobbet Exercise – two gobbet commentaries to be submitted as one assignment.
Gobbet topics can be found at the end of the Course Reader.
Each of the two gobbet commentaries must be in the range of 500-800 words in length (no more or fewer) for a total of 1000 – 1600 words for the completed assignment.
For this assignment,
Gobbet Exercise prompts can be found in the Course Reader pp. 31 – 44. For this assignment you are required to write on TWO topics and only ONE topic can be chosen from a particular week. In short, a complete Gobbet Exercise should look something like this:
Primary source 1 (Course Reader: Week 1 – option A) 500-800 words
Primary Source 2 (Course Reader: Week 3 – option B) 500-800 words
To help spur the little grey cells further, here are a few example questions to keep in mind during your primary source analysis:
What is the source being analyzed? Is it a text, an image, a video?
What sort of material is it (journal entry, poem, song lyrics, painting, inscription, political pamphlet, documentary etc.)?
Who created it?
Why was it created?
Where and when was the source created?
What was happening concurrently in the larger historical picture (e.g. war, famine, the rise of Cthulhu) when the source was created?
How reliable was the creator’s knowledge of the events (s)he describes?
Is the creator biased? If so, which way? How is this shown?
Is the creator trying to persuade the reader/viewer/listener of a particular point?
Can anything be said about the creator’s attitude or point of view from the source?
Does the creator’s attitude reflect or conflict with general attitudes at the time?
For more tips on how to write Gobbets please refer to the Course Reader (p. 30). In the attached files below, you will find a document titled Gobbets Made Easy. If you have any questions, please ask!

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