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SUNY Geneseo Fraser Hall Library Subject Guides


INTD 105: The Uses and Abuses of History (Professor Seale): Library Session September 30th

Group Activity: Instructions and Original Passage

In groups of 4, you will read the following passage and analyze three short sections that are incorrectly using the source. In the google doc linked to the right, explain what each of the four sections did wrong, and write a corrected version of the section.


The original passage:

Germanic law was essentially communitarian, tribal, and local, aimed at regulating blood feuds to reduce the toll to the community at large. Thus it was designed to focus on injury to the individual (rather than injury to the community). This was in line with the popular notion of law through the early Middle Ages; Laws were immutable, unchangeable, and affixed to an individual person. An Italian “rediscovery” of Roman law in the 12th century sparked a general shift back towards the Roman model, focusing on statutory law as an evolving social creation that fit the needs of the time.

Passage is quoted from:

Alan Nicholas Witt, "Frontier theory and the Reconquista: The role of laws in defining the frontiers of medieval Spain" (2014). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI1555698.
https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dissertations/AAI1555698

Group Activity: Incorrectly cited sections

1st Section: Witt (2014) argues that Germanic law was essentially communitarian, tribal, and local, aimed at regulating blood feuds, which differs greatly from our system of laws where they are conceived by an organized legislature (p. 32).


2nd Section: Looking over the history, it is clear that our American system of laws is much closer to the Roman ideal of an "evolving social creation that fit[s] the needs of the time" rather than a law of nature.


3rd Section: Germanic law did not look at injury to the community, but was made to look at injury to individuals. This fit with views of law in the early Middle Ages; laws didn't change, and were attached to individual people (Witt, 2014, p. 32).

Check if you are accidentally plagiarizing: contact your librarian!