Historical Methods

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Historical Methods

Prof. Emily Blanck

Thursday 1:45-4:30
Office: Robinson 215E Phone: 256-4500x3994

Office Hours: Thursday 1-1:45, Tuesday 3-4 email: blancke@rowan.edu

Overview This course intends to help students develop the major skills necessary to be an historian and successful history major. This course is structured to understand history in theory and practice. By the end of the course, students will understand some of the theoretical underpinnings behind the way historians read, write, and create history, will develop new skills to deeply read historians’ writings, as well as gain a detailed, step by step practice of creating a piece of historical research.
Objectives The semester will be broken into two parts. The first eight weeks of the course will be dedicated to systematic reading and breaking down of historians’ writings. Modifying the CREATE system developed by three professors of Genetics, we will concept map, cartoon, timeline, and abstract each writing. After these steps students will propose new research based upon the article’s focus to a grant board. This system ought to provide students insight into reading history, understanding how they use their sources, and how to analyze these essays. This process will culminate with the students writing a full and formal proposal for their own research project for the semester. The rest of the semester, the students will learn how to research and write a paper without plagiarism step-by-step and will discuss the theoretical underpinnings of writing history.

Participation and Attendance (20%) All students will be required to attend and actively participate in class. Your participation grade will be multiplied by the percentage of classes attended. If you leave or join half-way through a class, that will be counted as half of an absence. Students who attend every class (100% attendance) will get 3 extra credit points as a reward.
Quizzes and Homework (40%) Each student will keep a CREATE notebook, where they keep their homework assignments. You may skip two steps (one bullet on the assignment page) and complete two more late (before midterm) without penalty. I will check for completion regularly and grade it at midterm. In addition, each student must complete a library and plagiarism certification. All students must pass (75% or higher) the homework and quizzes in order to pass the class.
RESEARCH PROJECT: All aspects of this project should be submitted online on WEB CT before class begins and as a hard copy during the class. (40% of final grade)

Each student will complete an 10-12 page original research paper on slavery. This assignment is broken up into 10 units (see accompanying handout), the final draft of the paper is worth half of the research project grade, the remaining grade will be divided evenly among the other units turned in.

Policy Statements

Plagiarism: Plagiarism in all forms will NOT be tolerated. "If you are pressed for time or lacking in ideas, be advised that plagiarism is your worst option. While a poor but honest paper gets you an F [on that paper], a plagiarized paper gets you an F in the entire course, as well as any penalties that may be imposed” by the University.1 Please indicate that you are familiar with plagiarism by signing that you have read the sheet: "The Use of Sources in Writing Research Papers," which is available on WebCT. I will not grade your papers without your signature.
Turnitin.com According to the proposed University policy on turnitin.com.

Rowan University has a licensing agreement with Turnitin, an online service to help prevent student plagiarism. As part of this course I will be using Turnitin at my discretion to determine the originality of your work. If your work is submitted to Turnitin, it will be stored in the Turnitin database. You have the right to refuse either to submit your work to Turnitin or have the university do so; availing yourself of this right will not negatively impact your success in the course.

If you do not wish to use Turnitin you must notify me by e-mail within two weeks of today’s date. If you object to the use of Turnitin I will use other procedures to assess originality. Starred assignments on the Course Schedule are required to be turned in to the program.
Late Papers, Absences : Late work on the project will be docked one half a letter grade per day (+/-). Quizzes cannot be made up, except in instances of an officially excused absence (Sickness, death in the family, etc…), at which time an alternative assignment will be offered.
Email Accounts/WebCT I will periodically send emails to the class. I will use your Rowan email account. If you do not read the Rowan account, please set up a forward command on your Rowan account to the account you use most frequently. If you normally do not use email, please learn how to use the Rowan email system. Likewise, this course will use WebCT extensively; please be comfortable with using it.

Jules Benjamin, A Student Guide to History

Anna Green and Kathleen Troup, Houses of History

John Blassingame, The Slave Community

Ira Berlin, Many Thousands Gone

Reserve Readings at the Library or on WebCT.

Course Schedule
See attached Assignment Sheet for specific requirements of each “Assignment” and those labeled “Reading” are available on WebCT. All “starred” assignments must be submitted on turnitin.com.




September 4

Course Introduction

September 11


Library Quiz I

Reading 1

Assignment 1

Library Homework

September 18


Library Quiz II

Reading 1

Assignment 2

September 25


Library Quiz III

Reading 1

Assignment 3

October 2


Reading 2

Assignment 4

October 9


Reading 2

Assignment 5

October 16


Reading 3

Assignment 6

October 23


Reading 3

Assignment 7

October 30


Benjamin, Ch. 1, 20-36, 77-107

**Final Project Proposal(R)** and Research Plan (O) Due

November 6

Historical Theory and Historiography

Green and Troup, “Preface” and “Chapter 1: The Empiricists”

Preliminary Bibliography (O)

November 13

Houses of History,


Plagiarism Quiz

Green and Troup, Assigned chapter.

Benjamin, 119-164

**Historiography (O)** Due

November 20

Writing Well

Outline (O) Due

December 4

Discuss Rough Draft and Peer Review

**Rough Draft** Due December 1

Peer Review Due

Final Exam


Presentation (R) Due

**Final Paper** Due

CREATE Assignments
Assignment 1:

  • Build a Concept Map of Reading 1 include the words: Enslavement, Acculturation, African Survivals, Artifacts, Slave Behavior, Culture, Middle Passage, Europe, Africa, Master, Enslaved, Labor, use 30-50 bubbles.

  • Cartoon the content of Reading 1 try to use less than 2 pages.

Assignment 2:

  • Make a Timeline of the sources of Reading 1. Do one footnote per two conjoined pages. Research the timeline. Find one library where the source can be found.

  • Annotate all pictures and long quotes. Explain how they support the article and the method used with the picture. Did the author refer to it? Did the author analyze the illustration?

Assignment 3:

  • Write a 150 word abstract of Reading 1.

  • Make an outline of what you expect the rest of the book is about.

  • Write a one-page proposal of a new avenue of research that could be explored building upon the work of the author.

Assignment 4:

  • Edit Proposal submit by noon on Wednesday.

  • Concept Map “How does this author believe the law works?” in relation to Reading 2. Include the words: hegemony; public opinion; extralegal, property; class; slavery; masters; humanity; paternalism, use 30-40 Bubbles

  • Cartoon Reading 2 answering the following question: “What is paternalism and how does it work?”

Assignment 5:

  • Timeline the sources of Reading 2. As this piece does not have footnotes, use the text to list and date sources that the author uses. If the date is not there, research the approximate date. Find at least ten sources.

  • Abstract Reading 2.

Assignment 6:

  • Short Proposal due at noon on Wednesday

  • Concept Map Reading 3

  • Cartoon Reading 3

Assignment 7

  • Timeline the sources. Find one source from each footnote, p. 1-14. Research the timeline and find one library that has the source.

  • Abstract Reading 3.

1 Hyman Rubin, "History 131: United States History, Colonial to 1877" (Syllabus: Emory University, Spring 1997), p. 2.

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