The Technological and Social Impacts of the Space Race

The Technological and Social Impacts of the Space Race

American History and Literature Final Research Project

Your final writing assignment of the year will be a combined project in your English and U.S. History classes.  We are excited for you to tie together the threads that you have noticed overlapping this entire year.


Pick a topic in American history that you would like to explore.  Your topic needs to be related to American history since 1950.  Your research should address this question:

How and why is The Technological and Social Impacts of the Space Racereflected, observed, discussed, analyzed, or protested in cultural artifacts from that era?

As you research a topic and associated cultural artifacts of that period, you will try to understand how people viewed, interpreted, and portrayed that particular person, event, concept, or idea and why.  The focus of your paper is on the interpretations of the subject rather than subject itself. 


Conduct historical research on your topic.  As you conduct your historical research, you must consider that history is similar to beauty in that it is often “in the eye of the beholder.” People interpret past events through a filter of their own experiences and within the context of the time.  Because of this, history, or more accurately our understanding of history, can change.  The same is true for all aspects of the humanities.  So how you view certain cultural artifacts will change as you conduct your research about an event or time period.  Maintain a record of your secondary sources, and use this initial research to help you locate primary sources.  Your bibliography must include at least three secondary sources; these must be scholarly sources or from academically reputable sources. 


You must cite six primary sources in your paper; three of the six sources will be your artifacts.  As you read about what was happening with regard to the event, issue, or movement you have chosen, take note of how American culture responded to it within the zeitgeist of that time and place.  Three of the six primary sources—your artifacts—must offer examples of how American culture responded to your topic.  You may use secondary source research to guide you to primary sources, and you also may consult your grandparents, parents, teachers, or others who lived during the era you are studying or have familiarity with it.  While you may cite several personal interviews on your paper, you may only count one of them as one of your three, non-artifact, primary sources.

Since your purpose is to explore how literary and/or popular culture responds to contemporary circumstances, keep asking yourself, “how do my primary sources reflect a historical issue?” and “how does this support source support my thesis?”

Allowed artifact sources:

Essay or full-length magazine article



Short story, novella, or novel (no more than one)

Plays or screenplays (if script is available; no more than one)


Fine art/architecture (with teacher approval)

One of your sources can come from previous study in class if you feel it would fit your topic well.


Write a final paper that 1) explains thehistorical context of your event, topic, or movement and 2) analyzes the primary sources as texts shedding light on that history.

Your paper should…

  1. Offer a thesis statement that posits the significance of your primary sources for an understanding of the historical moment
  2. Thoroughly explain the historical event(s) that are the subject of your research
  3. Base opinions/claims on historical evidence and/or the research of other writers
  4. Cite only sources that are trustworthy and credible – no final citations of user-edited websites such as Wikipedia or Yahoo! Answers are allowed
  5. Follow MLA citation style and include a complete Works Cited page as well as in-text citation
  6. Be typed and submitted to no later than11 May.
  7. Be at least 2,500 words (not including title, headers, footnotes, or Works Cited page).
  8. Your final paper will be worth 85% of your overall paper grade (for U.S. History).
  9. Demonstrate your best effort.


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