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Would it be better to do a history EE on something obscure or something commonly known?

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I can see benefits for each side, in that if it's something people are familiar with they'll have better background knowledge. However, if it's something obscure, I'm less likely to get an expert who knows what a perfect paper about that topic looks like. Any advice?

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I'd advise to just do something that really interests you. Your marker not being an expert in the subject matter is not necessarily an advantage. This is anecdotal, but I wrote a paper on an obscure topic and it scored less than what my experienced mentor had expected.

It really doesn't matter. I would say to try to avoid really obvious overdone ones. If they interest you, just tackle them from an unusual angle.

In your intro, you're going to really quickly try to get the reader up to speed, regardless of her background, and then the rest of your paper should be fairly unknown unless the reader is an expert in your topic. Remember, you're graded for your analysis in history, not your ability to summarize. So ideally your mentor will tell you when they lose the thread of your paper if it gets arcane, and then you can just clarify that specific area and make it more accessible.

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