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|The American Past|
HY120 • Blocks 1-2 • Fall 2009
David Torres-Rouff (Block 1) 208-A Palmer
firstname.lastname@example.org 227 – 8218
Anne Hyde (Block 2) 215-A Palmer
email@example.com 389 - 6923
HY120: The American Past is a two-block survey of U.S. history. In its size and scope, this will include a broad history of the North American continent from the time before Columbus to the present. Because of the depth of time covered, the course satisfies the Critical Perspectives: The West In Time requirement at CC. Rather than an exhaustive survey of facts and dates, this course is designed to introduce students to some key questions that stretch across this history. Specifically, we will be considering negotiations regarding identity, space and power, paying particular attention to competing philosophies regarding the proper relationship between people and government. Within this framework, we’ll explore a variety of critical questions about how, when, and under what circumstances “Americans” created, negotiated, and contested their social, political, cultural, and racial identities, the meaning of citizenship, and the ways these concerns intersected with the process of making and sustaining a nation. The first block will cover the U.S. until just before the Civil War, and the second block will cover the period between the Civil War and the present. In addition, students will develop a variety of skills necessary to historical practice, including original and historiographical research, the analysis of primary texts, and argumentative writing.
Despite its size and its nature as a “survey,” this course is structured as a seminar. A seminar discussion is not a “bull session” in which we talk randomly about anything that occurs to us, but an effort to engage seriously the significant ideas that derive from the texts we read. All class members must complete the readings on time and appear each day prepared to engage each other in lively and informed conversation.
Nuts and Bolts:
Grading (200 points total) You will receive one grade for the two-block course, assigned by both instructors at the end of Block 2.
2 Film Reviews (1 each block) 20 points
Short Historiography Paper 10 points
Long Historiography Paper 35 points
Letters (Block 2) 800 words each 20 points
Museum Research Project 35 points
Midterm 20 points
Final 20 points
Participation (including quizzes) 40 points
Books & Assigned Readings:
Jill Lepore, The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity
Peter C. Mancall, Envisioning America: English Plans for the Colonization of North America, 1580-1640
Gary B. Nash, Race and Revolution
Thomas Paine & Thomas P. Slaughter Common Sense and Related Writings
Theda Perdue & Michael D. Green, The Cherokee Removal: A Brief History with Documents
Stuart B. Schwartz, Victors and Vanquished: Spanish and Nahua Views of the Conquest of Mexico
Kathryn Kish Sklar, Women's Rights Emerges Within the Anti-Slavery Movement, 1830-1870: A Short History with Documents
Mathew Frye Jacobsen, Whiteness of a Different Color
Lynn Johnson, Violence in the West
Robert McElvaine, Down and Out in the Great Depression
Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi
Lisa McGirr, Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right
Bruce J. Schulman, ed., Lyndon B. Johnson and American Liberalism: A Brief Biography with Documents
Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
The remaining course materials are available on PROWL. Site key is hy120. We may also occasionally send a short item via e-mail, so please check your email regularly.
If you don’t like to read, this is not the class for you!! Readings look to be on the order of 125-150 pages per day, plus outside reading and work required for projects. We will be working with several types of materials in this course; primary sources, personal narratives, and academic essays will be used most commonly. Whatever you’re reading, tune in to both “the story” (facts, narrative, chains of events, etc.), and “the argument” or objective the author had in mind when she or he put pen to paper.
Attendance & Class:
You must attend class every day. All absences are unexcused unless otherwise verified. Unexcused absences result in an NC for the course. Excused absences must be offset by makeup work or a zero will be assigned for the day missed. Class will begin at 9:15 unless otherwise announced. Class will rarely end before noon, and will often last longer. There will be a break in the middle. Please demonstrate your maturity by remaining at your seat during class.
Participation (40 points):
For the most part, class will be entirely participatory. You must do the reading in enough time to reflect on it and prepare for discussion. When there are multiple readings, take notes for each one, keep them straight, and think about how they fit together. Knowing what each piece is about is a starting point from which we will consider significance, consequences, and deep relationships. Class discussion requires a willingness from each of you to substantively engage the material and work collectively toward problem solving and critical analysis. We expect each of you to:
• Attend class daily.
• Inform us immediately if you must miss class.
• Come to class awake, alert and bring all texts and materials to class.
• Read the assigned texts carefully and critically.
• Make notes and bring them to class to aid in discussion.
• Discuss the readings thoughtfully, ask questions, and raise issues.
• Make an active effort to ensure that each class is useful and stimulating.
• Turn in all assignments in time.
• Fully uphold the Honor Code of Colorado College.
In an effort to be clear, we grade discussion daily according to the standard described below. Note that the substance of your comments matters more than their quantity. Dominant talkers, especially those who lead away from the subject at hand, will earn poor participation grades. Because discussion is a group activity, the overall success of each day’s seminar will be factored into every student’s grade. As such, you share responsibility for policing the content, direction, and flow of seminar on a daily basis.
"A"-level, excellent contributions a) raise critical issues about the course materials, b) extend the discussion in new ways, or c) make connections between readings or between the current discussion and earlier discussions. "B"-level, proficient contributions reveal that you've done the reading and been attentive to others' class comments. "C"-level, mediocre contributions misrepresent the readings or others' comments, repeat what has already been said, or state feelings about a subject without evidence to back up those feelings. “D”-level, contributions reveal that you have not actually done the reading, are ‘faking it,’ are speaking to exercise your larynx, are speaking to issues afield from the topic at hand, or are excessively dominating conversation.
There will be regular, but unannounced, quizzes given throughout the blocks. These will be short and are designed to give you free points for doing your work. Quizzes will always be given at 9:15 sharp; if you’re late, you’re out of luck.
Exams: (20 points each):
On the next to last day of block 1 and on the last day of block 2 you will take a midterm and final examination. The format for the midterm will be a small group oral exam. Groups will be selected and questions will be distributed in advance. There will be several sessions. The midterm will take place in the afternoon on Tuesday September 22. The final exam, which will be cumulative, can begin as early as 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 21. Detailed handouts and questions will be distributed on at least one day in advance of the exam.
Written Work and a Note on Grading:
The remainder of your points for this course will be earned in written work. Although we will almost always offer a dedicated handout for each part of each assignment, here is some information on grading standards. Regardless of the assignment, we pay attention to the following items when considering a grade:
Film Analyses (10 points each, Due by email at 8:00 a.m. two class days after the screening):
Films will be shown on Thursday afternoon during Block 1 and Wednesday afternoons during Block 2. Once each block you must write a short paper in which you analyze a given week’s film. This piece is neither a summary of the film nor a film critic’s review. Instead, you are to analyze the movie from a historical perspective – not by assessing its “accuracy” but by considering it as a text and drawing it into conversation with related texts from our class. The film analysis will be due by email no later than 8:00 a.m. two class days after the screening (Mondays during Block 1, Fridays during Block 2) of the film you choose to analyze. The paper must not exceed 1000 words. Successful papers will be built around a clear thesis, engage in original and thoughtful analysis, make relevant connections to course materials, support central arguments with evidence, and be error-free.
Short Historiographical Essay (10 points, Due Thursday September 3 at 10:00 p.m.):
One of our central foci in this class will be learning how to consider and engage in historiographical questions. “Historiography” is the overwrought term historians use to describe the study of how different scholars have approached the same historical subject (like the Civil War or the Great Depression) over time. When we think about historiography, we must make the difficult conceptual leap from focusing on events to focusing on how historians have interpreted, ordered, and narrated those events. As one scholar puts it, historiography’s primary sources “are the works of historians.”
In addition to including historiography in our class discussions, your principal writing assignment for the first block will be a long historiographical essay (described in detail below). Before engaging in that task, however, you will write a short essay in which you consider a “classic” historiographical question related to the origins of slavery in the United States. The paper, of no more than 1500 words, will be due on Thursday, September 3, at 10:00 p.m. Complete details will follow in a dedicated handout.
Two-Block Project (70 points)
Over the course of our two blocks, you will work to engage in both the historiography and primary sources of a particular period, event, idea, or practice. You will spend most of the first block choosing a broad field of inquiry for your paper and becoming familiar with the existing historical scholarship on the subject. This work will culminate in an extended historiographical essay. In block 2, you will follow up this work by preparing a museum exhibit and an exhibition catalog displaying a significant object from the period or idea you have investigated. The principal purpose of this project is to offer you an experience in the kinds of work various practicioners of history do. Consequently, we will proceed in steps, write drafts, and take time to offer substantive peer review. Each of you will be organized into a steady peer review group with which you share your work, read drafts, offer detailed comments, and reap the benefits of working in a small intellectual community.
Choosing a Topic & Planning:
The choice of focus for this project is left completely in your hands. You may choose to cover a period (The Gilded Age), an event (The Civil War), a movement (Populism), an idea/theme (The Development of Urban Infrastructure, Gender Constructions in Ladies’ Magazines, Immigration and Border Patrol), or anything else that strongly appeals to you. The only restriction is that you are prohibited from choosing a single person as the focus of your work. Although you will be working in phases, it might be a good idea to try to think holistically about the project at the outset. Since you will ultimately be pairing your foray into historiography with the preparation of an object for museum display, you should consider the subject of your historiography and the object you might choose to present in tandem.
Block 1: Writing a Long Historiographical Essay
This block you will write an extended historiographical essay in which you take a look at the ongoing historical conversation regarding any topic within the whole of U.S. history. That much is up to you. In the paper, your task is to engage multiple works of scholarship in an extended analysis. The analysis should focus on the ways that scholarly treatments of your subject have changed over time, the various sources and interpretive models used by the different scholars, and the key questions (and their evolution) that historians are asking/have asked about your subject. We will spend a good deal of time in class learning in more detail about just what historiography is and how to go about writing such an essay. You can also look forward to reading some historiographical essays written by professional historians and additional handouts.
The final essay will include a consideration of no less than six (5) total scholarly works, of which no fewer than two (2) must be book-length treatments. The paper itself must not exceed 4000 words (roughly 15 pages in MS Word, Times New Roman 12, double spaced). Work will proceed in stages (described in detail below). We will discuss your work in progress and refine the reading list in individual meetings on Wednesday September 9, at which time you will submit a preliminary bibliography. By the following Wednesday, September 16, you will submit a complete rough draft of your essay to your colleagues for peer review. Peer review will take place on Friday, September 18 during class, and revised final essays will be due on the last day of Block 1, Wednesday September 23, at 12:00 p.m.
Preliminary Meeting (Wednesday September 9):
On Wednesday of the second week, I will meet with each student for approximately 15 minutes. During this meeting we will briefly discuss the short historiographical essay and your plans for the long historiographical essay. You are required to come prepared with a short (4 lines) description of the scholarly literature in which you plan to immerse yourself and a preliminary list of scholarly texts you plan to read for the paper. We will spend some time in class learning how to find these materials. Specifically, you should come with a list that includes at least three scholarly monographs and at least 4 scholarly articles. For each text on your list, you must write a short paragraph that includes a brief summary of the text’s focus, the arguments its author makes, and a short historiographical note indicating the era in which it was written, the type of approach it employs, and its principle method of argument. In addition, you are required to bring with you a preliminary list of objects you might use for your museum project during Block 2. You must be prepared to discuss the relationship you see between the various objects and the subject of your historiographical essay. Your preparation for this meeting will be directly proportionate to the amount of progress we can make in refining your topic and setting you on the path to success. No points at stake for the work you bring this meeting, but it would be a poor choice to arrive unprepared.
Long Historiographical Essay (35 points, Due Wednesday September 23):
Final drafts of the Long Historiographical Essay are due on Wednesday September 23 at 12:00 p.m. The final paper must note exceed 4000 words, should represent your best overall thinking on the subject, and demonstrate time spent on revisions and polishing. A full handout with the gory details – from style requirements to grading criteria – will be distributed during the second week of the block.
Block 2: Museum Project
Last block you completed an essay that engaged the historiography of a particular period, event, idea, or practice in United States History. In block 2, you will follow up this work and your expertise on this period, theme, or event by preparing a museum exhibit and an exhibition catalog entry displaying a significant object from the period or idea you have investigated. The principal purpose of this project is to offer you an experience in the kinds of work various practicioners of history do. The combined project counts toward your grade more than any other course component, so take it seriously and begin early. (We will meet with Jessica Larson, the College’s professional curator early in Block 1 and again in Block 2.)
Choosing an Object & Planning: (Due Sept. 29, 2009 at 4 pm via e-mail)
You need to choose a SINGLE object to speak for your topic. The choice of object for this project is left completely in your hands, but you need to think carefully about the kind of object that will speak to a larger audience about your topic and that will help you make a point visually. It needs to be something that could be reasonably displayed. (For example, Dolley Madison’s famous White House ice cream has long since melted, preserved smallpox virus would get you sent to jail, and the Titanic is too big). You don’t have to have the actual real object in your display, but a reasonable facsimile of the thing. Think about museum logistics from the beginning as well as visual impact.
For your initial proposal, please provide
Presentation of Object: 1) Museum Display with Labeling and Interpretation 2) Museum Catalog Description (Drafts: Tues, Oct. 13 in Class and Final Presentation and Museum Tour, Oct. 20 in Class)
Your presentation of your object has two parts: an actual display for your class colleagues and others and a fuller, more formal catalog description with sources cited. Your museum display will be “real” – set up in our classroom for others to look at and to comment upon. Your display needs to be visually appealing and effective at explaining the historical significance and larger context of the object. Learning how to label objects and interpret them for a broad public audience is hard. Think about fidgety sixth-graders, visually-impaired grandparents, and history nerds as part of your potential audience. Your display can only have a few words and the labeling should be less than 100 words.
The museum catalog entry will be longer (800-1000 words), but also needs to be written with a fairly broad audience in mind. You need to describe the object and its history and give it a compelling context and interpretation. Why is this thing important and why should we preserve and observe it. You’ll need to read some of these catalog entries to get the tone right. The entry should have formal FOOTNOTES in Chicago style. Finally, you need to put together a little source list for museum-goers who want more information. This should be very basic sources, easily accessible web-sites, and a few scholarly texts. Choose carefully here.
Because this sort of presentation is tricky and different from most other writing we’ve done in history courses, you will need advice, practice, and drafts. Full drafts of the museum catalog entries and mock-ups of the displays and labeling are due in class (Oct. 13) a week before the museum appears in class (Oct. 20) so that we can work together to get the tone and appearance right.
Additional Block 2 Assignments: (Quizzes and participation to continue)
Two “letters” – 800 words, one film review, and final exam
Schedule of Readings and Assignments • Block 1
(* indicates reading selection on PROWL)
Monday, August 31: Indian, English, and Spanish World Views
Primary sources in class: The Picts
Tuesday, September 1: Envisioning America from England: Color and Culture
Peter Mancall, Envisioning America, (Intro (3-25), Documents 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10 (31-61,71-111, 133-168))
Wednesday, September 2: English Folk on the Atlantic Coast
*Winthrop Jordan, The White Man’s Burden (selections)
*Edmund Morgan, “Slavery and Freedom: The American Paradox”
Thursday, September 3: English and Indian First Encounters as Epic
Film in Class: The New World
** Short historiography papers due: 10:00 p.m. **
Friday, September 4: Exhibition Orientation
Class meets with Anne Hyde and Jessica Larsen
Monday, September 7: Envisioning America from Spain: The Spanish in Mexico
Stuart Schwartz, Victors and Vanquished pp. 1-28, 43-69, 80-84, 127-155, 162-196, 214-221, 230-231
Tuesday, September 8: New Spain
*Andrew Knaut, The Pueblo Revolt of 1680 (selection)
*Julianna Barr, Peace Came in the Form of a Woman (Selection)
Wedensday, September 9: Work and Reading Day
Preliminary Meetings for Historiography Papers; Short essays returned
Thursday, September 10: The New American Borderlands Part I: History and War
*Jill Lepore, The Name of War (beginning to Ch. 4)
*Andrew Knaut, The Pueblo Revolt of 1680 (selection)
** Afternoon film: The Patriot **
Friday, September 11: The New American Borderlands Part II: History and Memory
*Jill Lepore, The Name of War (Ch. 5-6;)
*Herbert E. Bolton, “Defensive Spanish Expansion and the Significance of the Borderlands”
*Gary Nash, “The Hidden History of Mestizo America”
*Pekka Hammalainen, “The Western Comanche Trade Center: Rethinking the Plains Indian Trade System”
Monday, September 14: Revolutionary Ideology
Thomas Paine, Common Sense (selections TBA)
Tuesday, September 15: What Means this New Nation: Slavery and Freedom
Gary Nash, Race and Revolution
** potential George McGovern Visit **
Wednesday, September 16: Work and Reading Day
Thursday, September 17: What means this New Nation: Space and Society
Jill Lepore, The Name of War (Chapter 7)
*Early Republic Reading Packet
** Constitution Day guest; Lecture in afternoon (need to change Dead Man?)
** Afternoon Film: Dead Man**
**Evening: Lecture (Attendance Required)
Friday, September 18: The Early Republic I: Indian Removal
Theda Perdue, Cherokee Removal (selections TBA in class)
Jill Lepore, The Name of War (Chapter 8)
Monday, September 21: The Early Republic II: Abolitionism, Women's Rights, Expansion
Kathryn Kish Sklar, Women’s Rights Emerges Within the Anti-Slavery Movement (selections TBA in class)
*Mexican War Reading Packet
Tuesday, September 22: Writing and Study Period
Block 1 Exam (afternoon)
Wednesday, September 23: Writing Morning
Final Drafts of Long Historiographical Essays Due by 12:00 p.m.
Schedule of Readings and Assignments • Block 2
(* indicates reading selection on PROWL)
Mon, Sept. 28 The Civil War at Home
*Drew Faust, “Altars of Sacrifice: Confederate Women and the Narratives of War”
*James McPherson, What They Fought For (selections)
Tues. Sept. 29 The Projects of Big Government: Reconstruction
*Leon Litwack, Been in the Storm So Long (selections);
*David Blight, “‘For Something Beyond the Battlefield’: Frederick Douglass and the Struggle for the Memory of the Civil War”;
*13th, 14th and 15th Amendments
Museum PROJECT: CHOICE AND JUSTIFICATION FOR OBJECTS DUE 4 PM
Wed. Sept 30 Mean Moments I: Explaining Our Racial Past
*C. Vann Woodward, Strange Career of Jim Crow, Intro and Ch. 4
*Glenda Gilmore, Gender and Jim Crow
** 1:30 PM Afternoon Film: Glory**
Thurs. Oct. 1 Western Violence: The Projects of Big Government II
Marilynn S. Johnson, Violence in the West (Group A: 1-17, 35-80, 45-155; Group B: 1-8, 18-28, 82-139)
Friday Oct. 2 Immigration and Race: Closing the Open Door
Mathew Jacobsen, Whiteness of a Different Color, 1-96, 137-202, 274-280
Paper Due 5 PM in Anne’s office: “Letter from Recent Immigrant, Civil War Veteran or Nurse, Cowboy, Settlement House or Freedom School Teacher”
Monday, Oct. 5: Mean Moments II: The Modern State and the Racial Nadir
*Glen Porter, The Rise of Big Business (selections)
*Henry Carter Adams, “The Relation of the State to Industrial Action” (selection)
*Litwack, “High Water Everywhere” from How Free is Free?
*Peggy Pascoe, From What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race, 1-14, 131-159
Tues., Oct. 6: The Great Depression
Robert McElvaine, Down and Out in the Great Depression
*Great Depression Legislation Reading Packet
Wed, Oct. 7 WWII at Home and Abroad
*Japanese Internment Documents
*John Hersey, Hiroshima (selections)
*Barton J. Bernstein, “Roosevelt, Truman, and the Atomic Bomb”
*Barton J. Bernstein, “Truman, the A-Bomb, and Non-combatants as Targets”
Film: Prelude to War (in class)
** Afternoon Film: Mr. Smith Goes To Washington **
Thurs., Oct. 8 Civil Rights and the 1950s
Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi (ALL)
Fri. Oct. 9: Cold War Politics (In class FILM)
“The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara” McNamara was Secretary of Defense under JFK and Lyndon B. Johnson. This Academy Award-winning documentary offers a compelling foundation for study of the Vietnam War.
(Papers Due : 5 PM “Letter from the 1920’s – 1950’s” - NAACP worker, WWII Soldier, Truman, FDR, Internee, CCC or WPA worker )
Monday, Oct. 12: LBJ’s Liberalism and the Cost of Vietnam)
Bruce Schulman, LBJ and American Liberalism (1-35, 87-162, Doc. #4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 16, 17, 20)
*Martin Luther King Jr., “Conscience and the Vietnam War”
Tuesday Oct. 13: The Cultures of the ‘60s and the New Politics
*Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (selections)
*Students for a Democratic Society, “The Port Huron Statement”
*Betty Freidan, The Feminine Mystique
*Martin Luther King Jr., “Operation Breadbasket”
DRAFTS OF EXHIBITION CATALOG AND DISPLAY PLAN DUE IN CLASS
Wed. Oct. 14: Right Turn: Response and Reaction(QUIZ)
Lisa McGirr, Suburban Warriors (Intro-Ch. 3)
** Afternoon Film: Platoon **
Thursday, Oct. 15: Work and Reading Day
Friday, Oct. 16: The Era of Conservatism: Reagan’s 1980s
Lisa McGirr, Suburban Warriors (Ch. 4-Epilogue)
*Peggy Noonan, What I Saw at the Revolution (selections)
Monday, Oct. 19: Mean Moments III: The New Economy, NAFTA, and Environmental Justice?
Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed (All)
*Smithson, “Radioactive Revival in New Mexico” Nation, 2009
Tues, Oct. 20: Museum Presentations and Catalog Entries Due
Wed. Oct 21: Final Exam