2) What is the thesis of All The Nations Under Heaven?
3) What sorts of evidence provide support for the thesis that Binder and Reimers put forward in this study? How successfully does that evidence support their argument?
4) All The Nations Under Heaven is a synthesis. What are the major differences between synthetic studies and monographic studies? What is the purpose of a synthetic study, and why are syntheses important to our understanding of history? Are there ways in which this study transcends the standard expectations of a synthesis and heads into new territory historiographically, in terms of argument, or evidence?
5) One of the major challenges faced by the synthesizing historian is how to periodize the history of his or her topic. What are the periods that Binders and Reimers identify in All The Nations Under Heaven, and what does that periodization scheme reveal about their views of history?
6) What are the backgrounds (as historians) of Frederick M. Binder and David M. Reimers? What other sorts of histories have they each written? How do they bring those skills and backgrounds to bear on the topic of this study? How might historians with different training or interests have dealt with the topic and evidence differently? Into what topics do they have special insight that other historians without their particular training might have missed?
7) What is the historiographical context of this study? What is the social context of this study?
8) Does reading this book change your experience as a critical thinker living in New York City? If so, how? If not, why not?
9) What was the most interesting and/or most surprising thing you learned as a result of reading this study? How did Binder and Reimers work that thing into the vast history of New York City?
Prepared by Professor Catherine Lavender for History 401 (Advanced Seminar in Historical Method), The Department of History, The College of Staten Island of The City University of New York, Spring Semester 1997.
Last modified: Thursday 1 May 1997