Skip to Main Content

SSI1-141: Architectures of Power (Hale)

The Scholarly Conversation

Most research questions do not exist in a vacuum nor are academic books and journal articles isolated, self-contained packages of information. Rather, every academic text represents one intersection in a network of ideas and debates that scholars have been tracing through their writing, sometimes over long periods of time. Think of each academic text (including the one you are writing!) as one contribution to a scholarly conversation. 

Engaging with Sources

In this activity, we will examine a scholarly article to determine how a scholar critically engages with their sources.

Messer, Chris M., et al. “The Destruction of Black Wall Street: Tulsa’s 1921 Riot and the Eradication of Accumulated Wealth.” American Journal of Economics & Sociology, vol. 77, no. 3/4, May 2018, pp. 789–819. EBSCOhost,


Working with your table group, respond to the following questions and be prepared to report to the class:

  1. Where is this article published?
  2. Read through the introduction. What is the authors' motive for this research? What is their research question?
  3. What is the author' thesis or claim? Can you find a sentence that best encapsulates their argument? 
  4. Skim through the body of the article and identify one place where the authors use a source as an exhibit source, and another instance when they use a different source as argument source. How do the authors use each of these sources to support their thesis?​ Be ready to explain your thinking! 
  5. Which academic fields do the authors draw from for their research?

Sources for Essay 3