UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
UGBA - AS 172
Haas School of Business
TERM PAPER ASSIGNMENT
This handout has 2 parts.
Part 1 is a summary of the three options available to you, to give
you a quick overview of them.
Part 2 gives a more elaborate description and set of
instructions for each option.
Be sure to read over the material in Part 2 that pertains to the
options in which you are most interested.
Once you have chosen the kind of term paper you
will do, follow the more elaborate instructions in Part 2 carefully.
I am happy to answer any
PART 1: GENERAL OVERVIEW
OPTION # 1: FAMILY BUSINESS HISTORY
Write a family history which focuses on the lives, the business and work experiences, and the
economic fortunes (and/or misfortunes) of your grandparents.
You should envision the project as 1)
an economic history of grandparents' lives and 2) a relating of their working lives to their lives as a
whole and the era in which they lived.
If your grandparents did not live in the U.S., you may still
do this project.
You will, however, have to relate their lives to what was happening in their own
The goal of this project is to give you the opportunity to do original, interview based and
other research, while exploring
your own family history in a structured way so as to better
understand how major historical events like wars and depressions and developments in business and
society have shaped the lives of individuals and their families – and vice versa.
OPTION # 2:
Select a 14 day period in the past to report on.
This period can be any 14 day time span between
1840 and 2002. (I recommend choosing a period in the twentieth century, simply because the
research is easier, but you can choose an earlier period if you desire).
Based on newspaper and
magazine articles about business, the economy, politics, and social life in your period, develop an
interpretive argument that enables you to write a coherent essay on the interrelationships between
what was going in American business and what was happening in US politics, culture, and
everyday life in this period.
I suggest you try to identify at least four main themes: at least two
related to business and the economy and the others on topics such as fashion, religion, health, crime,
entertainment, politics or whatever, giving each roughly the same level of attention.
The goal of
this project is for you to put American business into the broader context of American life during
your period, while engaging in original research in primary sources.
OPTION # 3: PRESENTIST HISTORY
This option involves writing a paper that compares and relates an aspect of business history from
the 19th or the early or mid 20th centuries with something that is going on in the business world
You can compare and relate two companies, events, conditions, problems, processes, or
people (e.g. railroads with the internet, industrial pollution in the late 19th or early 20th century
with that of the late 20th and early 21st century, anti-trust regulation in 1920s with that in 2000s,