Sophomore History Seminar Office: 364 Withers Hall
Fall Semester, 2015 Office Hours: Tues/Thurs 1:30-3:00 PM, & by appt.
Class Times: Tuesday/Thursday 11:45AM-1:00PM Classroom: Withers 246
FROM EVIDENCE TO NARRATIVE
An introduction to the theory and practice of history, this section of History 300 will use case studies (drawn primarily from American history) to explore the wide variety of raw materials, investigative strategies, and interpretive techniques used by historians to understand and explain the past.
Students should develop the knowledge and skills necessary to find, evaluate, interpret, and synthesize a wide variety of materials from which the reconstruction of a meaningful past may be crafted. A command of basic computer skills is also required.
THIS COURSE IS REQUIRED FOR ALL HISTORY MAJORS. IT MEETS NO GEP REQUIREMENTS FOR STUDENTS IN OTHER CURRICULA.
REQUIRED READING: (All available in paperback; Amazon pricing) LH: The Landscape of History: How Historians Map the Past, by John Lewis Gaddis (Oxford University Press, 2002). Price: $12.93
ATF: After The Fact: The Art of Historical Detection, by James W. Davidson and Mark H. Lytle (6th edition; McGraw-Hill, 2009). Price: $105.65
Use the online ATF Information Center (click on “Student Edition”) at:
For the Primary Source Investigator, use: http://psi.mcgraw-hill.com/current/psi.php
Writing History: A Guide for Students, by William Kelleher Storey (4th edition; Oxford University Press, 2012). Price: $16.98
A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, by Kate L. Turabian (8th edition; University of Chicago Press, 2013). Price: $12.13
Additional readings on reserve (both hardcopy and electronic). COURSE REQUIREMENTS: % OF GRADE
Analytical Papers (five papers, drop lowest grade): 40%
Class Participation (including oral assignments & reports): 10%
Term Paper 50%
Total grade: 100%
Excellent work = A Marginal work = D
Good work = B Failure to meet minimum standards = F
Satisfactory (but not good) work = C (Plus/minus grades will also be used)
The following equivalents will be used to determine and average grades:
A+ 97-100 C 74-76
A 94-96 C- 70-73
90-93 D+ 67-69
B+ 87-89 D 64-66
B 84-86 D- 60-63
80-83 F 50
C+ 77-79 (All decimals are rounded to the nearest whole number.)
BASIC RULES (to be ignored at your peril):
Attendance and participation at every class meeting is expected. Excused absences must be documented. More than two unexcused absences will result in the loss of 2 points (out of 100) in your course grade for each unexcused absence beyond two. However, perfect attendance (no unexcused absences) will result in the addition of 1 point (out of 100) to your course grade.
No Late Analytical Papers will be accepted without a documented medical excuse, but the lowest grade of the five analytical papers will automatically be dropped. The penalty for late Term Papers is three points (out of one hundred) per day unless a documented medical excuse is provided. You must retain copies of your papers as insurance against loss. No “Incomplete” Grades will be awarded for the course without a valid and documented justification.
Your name on any submitted assignment attests that you have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on that assignment.
The papers submitted in this course must be your own work.
I will assume that before you turn in your first assignment, you will have familiarized yourself with the policies and definitions set forth in the NCSU Code of Student Conduct. In particular, please see the following web site, scroll down and read especially sections 8 and 9: http://policies.ncsu.edu/policy/pol-11-35-01
STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES:
Any student with a disability which might necessitate a reasonable adjustment should inform the instructor of this possibility at the beginning of the semester. If you believe that you will need such accommodations, please also register at this web site: http://www.ncsu.edu/dso/ (The Disability Services Office at NCSU).
USEFUL INFORMATION (See also the class assignment for September 1st):
DH Hill Library Research Guide: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/guides/history/
READING AND ASSIGNMENT SCHEDULE FOR HI 300-003: Aug.20: CLASS INTRODUCTION: START THINKING LIKE AN HISTORIAN
******ALSO: START THINKING ABOUT A TERM PAPER TOPIC !!!*****
Aug. 25: (RE-)PRESENTING THE PAST
LH Chapter 1: The Landscape of History (16pp);
ATF Preface, Introduction, and Prologue: The Strange Death of Silas Deane (20pp);
Aug. 27: TIME, SPACE, AND (RE-)WRITING THE PAST
LH Chapter 2: Time and Space (18pp);
ATF Chapter 1: Contact (29pp)
E-reserves: John Demos, The Unredeemed Captive, “Preface & Beginnings” only (12pp).
Sept. 1: Library Orientation: The Search for the Best Information
NOTE: [Class meets at D. H. Hill Library ITTC Lab#2]
PSI for ATF Chapter 4: “Declaration First Draft” & “Declaration Changed Draft”
Sept. 17: SECOND PAPER DUE: Strategies of Documentary Analysis: Reading Jefferson and Ballard. On reserve (hard copy): Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard . . . This book is on reserve for your examination, should you want to see it. There is no reading assignment.
Sept. 22: READING ARTIFACTS AND IMAGES AS DOCUMENTS
ATF Chapter 5: Material Witness (25pp);
ATF Information Center: Extra Chapter: The Noble Savage and the Artist’s Canvas (22pp);
E-reserves: James Axtell, “The Unkindest Cut, or Who Invented Scalping?”
[Also available online in JSTOR: William & Mary Quarterly (July 1980)]
Sept. 24: HISTORY AND THEORY: WHAT IS “SCIENTIFIC HISTORY”?
LH: Chapter 4: The Interdependency of Variables (28pp);
ATF Chapter 6: Jackson’s Frontier, and Turner’s (22pp);
E-reserves: Shermer & Grobman,“The Noble Dream” (pp. 19-35, Denying History, Ch 2).
Sept. 29: THINKING ECOLOGICALLY-- ALL THE TIME
LH: Chapter 5: Chaos and complexity (20pp);
ATF Information Center: Extra Chapter: “The Invisible Pioneers” (26pp).
Oct. 1: ECOLOGICAL HISTORY: discussion of Crosby and Cronon
E-reserves: Alfred W. Crosby, Ecological Imperialism, Prologue, Chs.7&8; & Notes
E-reserves: William Cronon, “Dreaming the Metropolis” Ch. 1 (with notes). [in 2 parts] Oct 6: THIRD PAPER DUE: Evidence and Theory; Observation and Synthesis
(Read traveler’s account or other work cited by Alfred Crosby or William Cronon)
[You MUST use either footnotes or endnotes] ; (TURABIAN FORM REQUIRED) Oct. 8: ******FALL BREAK*******NO CLASS******* Oct. 13: CAUSES AND EXPLANATIONS
ATF Chapter 7: The Madness of John Brown (21pp);
LH Chapter 6: Causation, Contingency, and Counterfactuals (20pp).
E-reserves: James West Davidson, “New Narrative History: How New? How Narrative?;
[13pp. on DHH reserve and online in JSTOR : Reviews in Amer. Hist. 12(3) (Sept. 1984)].
Oct. 15: TERM PAPER REVISED TOPIC AND WORKING BIBLIOGRAPHY DUE (TURABIAN FORM REQUIRED)
Reading Assignment: Storey, Writing History, Chapter 2 (8 pp.).
Oct. 20: DEALING WITH PEOPLE
LH Chapter 7: Molecules with Minds of Their Own (18pp);
E-reserves: Jill Lepore, “Historians Who Love Too Much: Reflections on Microhistory and Biography”Journal of American History 88, no. 1 (June 2001), 129-144.
Oct. 22: FOURTH PAPER DUE: Compare chapters from a biography and a microhistory.
(Note any use of diaries, memoirs, and autobiographies as evidence in these.)
In class : Film: The De la Peña Diary Oct. 27: ANOTHER APPROACH: INCIDENT ANALYSIS (Find color photos online)
E-reserves: James E. Crisp, “An Incident in San Antonio,”Journal of the West 40:2 (Spr. 2001); and Robert Darnton, “It Happened One Night,”NYRB 51:11 (June 24, 2004).
Oct. 29: THE BOTTOM RAIL AND THE BOTTOM LINE
LH Chapter 8: Seeing Like a Historian (23pp);
ATF Chapter 8: The View from the Bottom Rail (29pp);
ATF Past and Present: “Whose Oral History?” (pages 201-202)
E-reserves: Larry McMurtry, “Broken Promises,” NYRB 44:16 (Oct. 23, 1997).
Nov. 3: FIFTH PAPER DUE: THE ART OF THE BOOK REVIEW Nov. 5: PHOTOGRAPHS AS EVIDENCE
ATF Chapter 9: The Mirror with a Memory (23pp); See also:
[class assignment: interpreting photographic evidence].
Nov.10: POLITICAL COMPLEXITIES AND THE POWER OF SIMPLIFICATION
ATF Chapter 10: USDA Government Inspected (28pp); also recommended:
[class assignment: political cartoons, past and present].
Nov.12: FINDING TRUTH AND MEANING: INDIVIDUALS AND THE MASSES
ATF Chapter 11: Sacco and Vanzetti (27pp);
ATF Chapter 12: Dust Bowl Odyssey (28pp).
Nov. 17: TERM PAPER FIRST DRAFTS DUE
Reading Assignment: Storey, Writing History, Chapters 3-8 (80 pp.).
Nov. 19: THE USES OF MODELS IN HISTORY
ATF 13: The Decision to Drop the Bomb (26pp);
PSI for ATF Chapter 13: Examine the following letters: Einstein to FDR, Roosevelt to Oppenheimer, Handy to Spaats, & Stimson to Truman.
Nov. 24: GENDER, RACE, AND THE BIGGER PICTURE
ATF 14: From Rosie to Lucy (27pp) ;
ATF 15: Sitting-In;
PSI for ATF Chapters 14 & 15: Examine the images from both chapters.
[class assignment: gender and race in magazine ads of the 1950s and today];
On (hardcopy) reserve: Bailey, Beth L., From Front Porch to Back Seat Nov. 26: ************THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY – NO CLASS************** Dec. 1: TWO APPROACHES TO WATERGATE
ATF 16: Breaking into Watergate (25pp);
ATF Information Center: Extra Chapter: Instant Watergate (26pp).
Dec. 3: HISTORY AND THE MOVIES
ATF 17: Where Trouble Comes :History and Myth in the Films of Vietnam (32pp);
On (hardcopy)reserve: Carnes, Mark C., Past Imperfect: History According to the Movies. READ AT LEAST TWO MOVIE REVIEWS FROM THIS BOOK (2 copies on reserve)
TERM PAPER in Lieu of Final Exam : Read Storey, chapter 9 (5 pp.)
Papers may be turned in to me at my office, Withers 364, on eitherFriday, Dec. 11 orMonday, Dec. 14 at around NOON (11:45 AM to 12:15 PM). Papers must be turned in IN PERSON, in hard copy.