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Talk:Mary Kingsley

From Women in European History

Peer Review by Sandra Park

Thesis 1.) It was hard to identify a thesis because the paper dives in to the biography right away. However, towards the end, it seems to form an argument so maybe converting that into a thesis paragraph at the beginning will help the reader know what the main point is. Judging from the bio, your thesis will probably include the overcoming of social boundaries and Kingsley's patronizing yet admiring view of Africans.

2.) The thesis [or what I think it will be] is supported by the body of the paper because you talk about how Kingsley rejected common views of Africans as inferior by defending their society and culture. Furthermore, it talks about how she pushed the limits of what women were able to do in the 19th century.

3.) If there was an opening paragraph including the thesis, it would make me more interested to know more about it.

Organization 4.) It looks like the paper is trying to approach the argument chronologically and thematically so they overlap a lot. I would suggest creating a big header for something like "Kingsley" in Africa and put all the themes that pertain to her stay in Africa under it. Then, for her struggle to be independent in a male-dominated society can stay under her "Return to England."

5.) Otherwise, the paper was well ordered and structured well. There was a nice flow between her early life and the beginning of her travels: domestic environment to abroad.

6.) It's hard to say since there isn't a thesis paragraph in the beginning but it seems like the paper stays on the point with what I think the argument is.

Citations and Evidence 7.) Citations look good but I think there should be a period after each footnote entry if you're going by Chicago Style. There are some quotations that need to go around titles of books.

8.) There was a good balance between the use of primary and secondary sources. Perhaps, more direct quotes form Kingsley will be effective since the paper mainly deals with her views. Otherwise, the quotes were embedded nicely throughout the paper. Great use of quotes in the section on "Study of African Society."

Grammar and Style 9.) Very few and minor grammar errors. Corrected on wiki.

10.) Syntax and writing style were clear and easy to follow. I think using more subheadings and subtitles will help organize the paper better, whether it be strictly chronological or thematic.

11.) The topic sentences introduced the paragraphs well, however, the topic sentence for "Criticism of Missionaries" didn't seem to fit. It would be better if the sentence reminded the reader again that popular sentiment was not that Africans were culturally complex.

Content 12.) Most of the sections dedicated to Kingsley's view of Africans seem to rely on her writings. I think adding secondary sources for their explanations or interpretations of this time period can be helpful. Other than that, all of the main points were supported by evidence.

13.) For the biographical sections, its hard to express your own thoughts but you structured it well. Even with just facts, the reader can see how her early life affected her and trained her even to travel around the world under harsh environments.

Specific Suggestions 1.) Open the paper with some kind of introductory/ thesis paragraph.

2.) Categorize the overall structure into subheadings

3.) A contents table might be useful because you're dealing with more than one theme.

Your analysis of Kingsley's relationship with Africans was well thought out and written. You also did a good job acknowledging that she was still influenced by the social values of her time. She wasn't completely prejudice-free.


Peer Review Kathleen

THESIS Yeah, thesis was not so much there. It's a good account of her life, and towards the end you start making good points about what made it unique for her as a woman, but there's nothing holding it together. Is there some theme that runs through it-- either a characteristic of her personality that comes through a lot or reoccurring encounters with a certain prejudice?

CONTENT, CITATIONS The content about imperialism, Africa-- the things that affected her-- was good, you seemed to use several good sources, but I felt we were very lacking in a personal view of your subject. What motivated her? What was her disposition? What did she like/dislike (you get a bit into this in the "Missionary" bit, but I want more of her thoughts on her travels and studies. Why did she want to do this at all?

ORGANIZATION Well, without knowing the thesis it's hard to comment on whether the organization was effective or not. Right now you go chronologically, which is fine, but may be a hassle if later on you decide make arguments that require evidence from multiple periods of her life.

Also, I felt really lost at the beginning. I realize she had an abrupt change in lifestyle, but I felt like the things she decided to study and the places she decided to go just came out of nowhere. Surely there were reasons for her interests in religion, etc. Maybe her autobiography doesn't answer those questions, but in that case at least tell us so...

A conclusion would be nice...

GRAMMAR, ETC. My in-text comments appear in red-- a lot of things I didn't change but just marked if they were awkward sentences, spelling, etc.

OVERALL Meh. You've got work to do, but I'm sure you know that. Everything in here is interesting, you just have to let us know why.

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This page has been accessed 3,980 times. This page was last modified on 12 May 2010, at 18:15.


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