1 The Historian s Craft: Methodology HIST 2302 Instructor: Dr. Elaine MacKinnon Office: TLC Class Time: T/Th 9:30 10:45 am Office Hours: T 12:30 pm 4:30pm; Th: 12:30 2:30 pm, or by appointment Course Description This course is intended to introduce students to the practice of history. It is designed to help students succeed as history majors at the University of West Georgia. We will focus on developing the skills necessary to think and work like historians. We will learn about the variety of sources that historians use, and how to incorporate primary source materials into our analysis and reconstruction of the past. We will learn about different approaches to history, and how there are multiple types and genres of history. This is a required course for all history majors. In order to graduate, history majors must earn a C or better in this course. Learning Outcomes This class is designed to help students learn what historians do and why they do it. In addition, the class is designed to help students develop the skills necessary to succeed as history majors. Those skills include the ability: -to recognize and to pose significant historical questions -to find useful primary and secondary sources -to analyze sources critically -to cite sources properly -to write and to speak clearly -to construct a persuasive historical argument based on evidence; and -to think historically *Thinking historically requires one: to seek to understand the people of the past to seek to understand the perspective of historical actors and to view those historical actors from a critical, scholarly perspective to recognize that people, events, ideas and cultures have influenced later people, events, ideas, and cultures to recognize that history involves both change and continuity over time to draw and explain connections between particular people, events, ideas, or texts and their historical contexts Assigned Reading Conal Furay & Michael Salevouris, The Methods and Skills of History (3rd edition). Wheeling, Ill.: Harlan Davidson, Inc., 2010 Hellstern, Mark, Gregory Scott, and Stephen Garrison. The History Student Writer s Manual. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, James Davidson & Mark Lytle, After the Fact (6th edition). New York: McGraw-Hill Humanities, Additional readings are noted in the syllabus. You are required to bring your books to every class for which you have readings assigned from them. We will be using the Methods and Skills text for class writing exercises so be sure to bring it to class.
2 Requirements & Assessment EXAMS: All students must take the History Department s assessment exam, to be given on January 11. The examination is not graded, but no student will pass the class without writing the examination. There will be a final essay exam given at the end of the semester on a day and time determined by the instructor. Grading: Primary Source Analysis Paper 10% Book Review 15% Analysis Paper on Historical Novel 15% Rewrite 5% Research Assignments 20% Writing quizzes and homework 10% Final Examination 15% Class Participation 10% Written Assignments: All written work for the course will be graded on the basis of both content, quality of analysis, and style. Papers should be free of grammatical, spelling, and mechanical errors. Essays should be well organized and well written. PRIMARY SOURCE PAPER: You will write a 2-page paper that summarizes and analyzes a primary source document. Guidelines will be posted on the course webpage. I will provide you with a choice of documents for this assignment. The primary source analysis paper is due Thursday, February 3, PAPER, USING LITERATURE AS A PRIMARY SOURCE: Students will write a short typed (minimum of three pages, with one-inch margins and either ten- or twelve-point font) analysis paper analyzing an historical novel of their own choosing. I must approve the choice of novel in advance. Students must select a novel that they have not read before, and the book must have been written more than thirty years ago. The novel must take place in the same era in which it was written. The paper must have a thesis that explains the value of the novel for studying the period in which it was written. You are to answer the questions: What does the novel tell us about the period in which it was written? Can this novel be considered a viable and credible source for historians? The paper must use correct notation for footnotes or endnotes in accordance with the documentary-note system described in section 5.3 of the History Student s Writer s manual. Students must submit two copies of the paper. The paper analyzing an historical novel as a source is due on Tuesday, March 15, This paper must be re-written after the initial submission. The revised paper must show that the student has responded to the written critique and comments provided by the instructor and represent an improvement over the first version. The first paper, though, should not be considered a rough draft. It
3 should be a polished final draft that will be graded. The re-written paper will be given a separate grade based on the quality of the revisions made and the degree of improvement noted. The original graded version must be turned in along with the re-written version. The point of the assignment is to learn from your mistakes and to work on weaknesses. The rewrite of the paper analyzing an historical novel as a source is due Thursday, March 31, BOOK REVIEW: Students will write a four-page review of a scholarly historical monograph published within the last forty years by a university press. Students must read a new book and CANNOT review a book that they have used for another class. I must approve the book in advance. Failure to review a new book or receive advanced approval will result in a 0 for the assignment. Papers under or over the fourpage limit will be subject to point deductions. Guidelines will be given on the course webpage. The book review paper is due Tuesday, April 12, RESEARCH ASSIGNMENTS: Periodically as noted in the syllabus students will complete research assignments and turn them in on the date indicated. The first five assignments are described in the syllabus. The final assignment, due the last day of class on April 26, is described below: Final Research Assignment #6 is Due April 26: You are to write a 300-word typed research project proposal and a bibliography. The proposal should define and describe a research project and identify potential secondary and primary sources. Your project must have a solid research question that is worth examining and that for which you can identify materials from our library resources that would allow you to pursue answering this question. Along with the 300-word proposal you will turn in an annotated bibliography containing at least six secondary sources that are books, two secondary sources that are articles from scholarly journals, and four primary sources. The secondary sources should include the most recent scholarship available on the topic. The proposal should include answers to the following questions: What question would you like to research? Why does this question interest you? Why is this question significant? How will your research contribute to our current body of historical knowledge? What are the authoritative secondary sources on this topic? What primary sources have you located that would help you to pursue answering this question? Papers must be typed, ten or twelve-point font, one-inch margins, be no less than a minimum of 290 words and be free of grammatical, mechanical, and stylistic errors. QUIZZES AND HOMEWORK: There will be periodic quizzes administered during class that will test students ability to write effectively. They will cover issues of organization, grammar, usage, punctuation, spelling, tense, and conformity with proper citation format. Homework will be assigned from the Methods and Skills textbook and from worksheets designed by the instructor. Assignments are due on the date given by the instructor. CLASS PARTICIPATION: Class participation is also a part of your grade, so you are required to read all of the assignments listed on the syllabus. Discussions will occur either in groups or as a class. Discussions will be primarily based upon the three textbooks assigned for the class (The History Student Writer s Manual, The Methods and Skills of History & After the Fact).
4 Expect unannounced quizzes on the various reading assignments. Your class participation grade includes: preparing for, and participating in, all class discussions; all homework assignments; quizzes on readings; student conduct; and any other material assigned throughout the course of the semester that is not listed on this syllabus. Each of you will also be called upon to lead one class discussion. Presentations are based on the chapters from the book After the Fact. You will have a partner for this project you can either choose your own partner, or be assigned one, which will take place on the first day of class. ATTENDANCE: Students are responsible for attending all classes. Roll will taken and you will be considered absent if you show up after roll has been taken, so please be sure to arrive on time (habitual lateness will thus be penalized). You may have up to two unexcused absences, but after that points will be deducted from your final grade. For example, if your final grading percentage was 91%, and you were absent for a total of 4 classes, then your final grade would be adjusted to a 87%. There are no exceptions to this rule. STUDENT CONDUCT Students are obligated to abide by the guidelines detailed in the university catalogue. Respect and courtesy are required of all students while in the classroom. The following is mandatory: Please do not come late or leave early (unless you have checked in with me in advance). Arriving late or leaving early will count as one absence. Arriving late is defined as arriving after roll has been taken. Leaving early is defined as leaving class once the class has started. If you habitually arrive late or leave early, you will be asked to leave. Any disruptive behavior will result in your expulsion from the room. If disruptive behavior persists, you will receive a 0 (that is ZERO) for your discussion grade, as well as possible additional action. Cell phones, pagers, headphones, ipods, and all other electronic devices must be turned off during class. Use of these devices during class will result in your dismissal from the room. If you are caught using laptops for non-class purposes, you will not be allowed to use a laptop for the remainder of the semester. And no working on other materials in class your focus should be on learning History. Any form of academic dishonesty (including cheating and plagiarism) will result in a failing course grade as well as possible additional action. Definitions of academic dishonesty and plagiarism are defined in student handbook, so please familiarize yourself with them. If you have any questions regarding the above, feel free to contact me at any time, or read the university catalogue. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and university policy, I will make reasonable accommodation for any recognized disability. Students should contact me during the first week of class and present documentation from the University s Student Development Center PLEASE NOTE I reserve the right to modify this syllabus at any time during the course of the term, particularly regarding the course schedule. If such a modification is substantial, I will reissue a revised syllabus or course schedule.
5 Tentative Schedule of Classes and Readings: January 6: Introduction Begin reading and review periodically The History Student Writer s Manual (hereafter abbreviated as Writer s Manual), Chapter 3, Writing Competently this will be the basis for writing quizzes given throughout the semester, along with additional handouts on grammar, syntax and punctuation. January 11: History Assessment Examination (Required but not graded) January 13: Why Study History? What is History? Readings: Methods and Skills, Chapter 1, 3-7 Writer s Manual, Chapter 1, 1-10 January 18: What is the Difference between the History Channel and History as a Discipline? Readings: Methods and Skills, Chapter 2, and Chapter 3, January 20: How do we approach historical questions?/what types of assignments can I expect in history classes? Readings: Writer s Manual, Chapter 10; How do I manage Written Assignments?, accessible through course webpage on history department website Methods and Skills, Chapter 4, January 25: Writing Quiz/Intellectual Honesty and plagiarism Readings: What is Plagiarism and When Would I Be Cheating on My Paper? accessible through course web page Writer s Manual, ; Chapter 3 January 27: The Building Blocks of Historical Analysis: Primary Sources and Contextualization Readings: Methods and Skills, Chapter 5, and Chapter 9, February 1: Finding Primary Sources (and quoting them) Readings: Writer s Manual, 54-56, ; Methods and Skills, Chapter 9, Research Assignment #1 Bring to class the address of one good website containing useful primary sources. February 3: Reading and analyzing primary sources Readings: Methods and Skills, Chapter 11, Primary sources scanned onto course webpage, history department website *****Primary Source paper due. Paper should include one block quotation, one shorter quotation, and one paraphrase. February 8: Research at UWG library Readings, Writer s Manual, Chapter 7; Methods and Skills, Chapter 6
6 Feb 10: Writing Quiz/Unreliable Sources? What are the opportunities and problems of Internet research? Readings: Methods and Skills, Chapter 6, particularly pp Writer s Manual, Chapter 8 Research Assignment #2: Bring to class the web addresses for one website on an historical topic that is a good and credible source for a history student, and one that is not a viable or reliable source for a history student. Feb 15: Citing Sources Readings: Writer s Manual, Chapter 5 Deadline for Choosing Novel for Historical Analysis of Literary Source Paper Feb 17: The History of History: Learning about how historians have approached the study of the past Readings: Methods and Skills, Chapter 13, and Chapter 14, Feb 22: Writing Quiz/Interpretive Approaches to History Readings: Methods and Skills, Chapter 11, Reading: Joan Scott, Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis course webpage Feb 24: No Class: Students will work on research assignment #3: You are to interview in person one of the history department faculty and write a brief typed summary of their responses to the following questions. The typed summary is due March 1, Why did you become an historian? What is your particular field of interest? How do you categorize yourself as an historian? What type of history do you do (labor, gender, military, economic, political, or other)? What types of sources do you tend to use in your own research and scholarship? How do you locate your sources? ***The interviews are to be conducted in person, not via . Talk to the professor; choose a professor whose classes you think you would like to take! March 1: Film and History Readings: Methods and Skills, Chapter 8, March 3: Reading History/Finding Secondary Sources Readings: Methods and Skills, Chapter 7, March 8-10: SPRING BREAK NO CLASSES!!!!!
7 March 15: Public History Readings: Beth M. Boland, Historic Places: Common Ground for Teachers and Historians, OAH Magazine of History, Vol. 16, No. 2, Public History (Winter, 2002), pp , available through J-Stor Kim Harris and Reggie Harris, A View from the Drinking Gourd, OAH Magazine of History, Vol. 16, No. 2, Public History (Winter, 2002), pp , available through J-Stor ****Paper Due Analyzing Historical Novel as Source March 17: Oral Traditions and History Reading: William Dalrymple, Homer in India: The Oral Epics of Rajasthan, The New Yorker, November 20, 2006, 48-55, available through the course page on the history department website March 22: Visual and material history: Non-written sources, maps, and material culture Research Assignment #4: Bring to class an example of a useful historical map, an artifact of material culture, or a copy of a visual source and be able to explain its significance March 24: Writing History Readings: Writer s Manual, Chapter 9; Methods and Skills, Chapter 12, March 29: The Process and Art of Writing History/What makes for a good book review? What makes for a good research paper? Research Assignment #5: Bring to class an example of a good scholarly book review written during the past three years. March 31: After the Fact *** Rewrite of Paper Analyzing Historical Novel as Source Due April 5: After the Fact April 7: Writing Quiz/After the Fact April 12: After the Fact *****Book review paper due April 14: Individual meetings/work on final research assignment April 19: Individual meetings/ work on final research assignment April 21: How can I succeed as a history student at UWG? April 26: Objectivity and the Politics of History/Do We Really Learn from History? Readings: TBA ***Research Assignment #6: Research proposal and bibliography due Final Examination Scheduled for Thursday, May 5, 8:00 to 10:00 am