History 1302. 002: United States History Since 1877 Syllabus – Spring 2014

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History 1302.002: United States History Since 1877

Syllabus – Spring 2014

(Classes meet from 9:30-10:45 T-Th in MB2270)


Derek Catsam

Office: MB 4126, x. 2311

Office Hours: 11:00-12:30 T-Th, 6:00-7:00 pm T, 1:00-2:00 W, and by appointment.

E-mail: catsam_d@utpb.edu

Required Textbooks: Available at the college bookstore and online – you may be able to save money by using sources such as Amazon (www.amazon.com), Barnes & Noble’s website (www.bn.com) and used bookstore sites such as www.alibris.com.

Martha A. Sandweiss, Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line

Thurston Clark, The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America

Keene et al, Visions of America: A History of the United States (Volume 2, Since 1865)

Course Summary and Goals: This course will cover the period during which America went from its adolescence to its growth into the world’s sole superpower, from the Gilded Age through the horrors of September 11 and America’s response. The period under discussion includes some of the most momentous events in human history – two World Wars and a Cold War, as well as Wars on Poverty, Drugs and Terrorism; the Great Depression and the Great Society; The New Frontier and the New Woman; The Square, New and Fair Deals; Flappers, Fords, and Philosophers; Civil Rights and Equal Rights. The chief focus will be the years from 1900 to 2000, a period that many observers have called “The American Century.” Through lectures, discussions, reading and films we will explore the political, social, and cultural transformation of the United States and try to develop a greater understanding of how we have gotten to the present day. The goal for this class is for you to learn how to think historically and critically about the past and for you to gain a better understanding of American history.
Course Schedule:
Week One (January 14-16):

Reading: Visions of America (Hereafter Visions), Chapter 14.

Week Two (January 21-23):

Reading: Visions, Chapter 15; Sandweiss, 1-70.

Week Three (28-30):

Reading: Visions, Chapter 16; Sandweiss, 71-128.

Week Four (February 4-6):

Reading: Visions, Chapter 17; Sandweiss, 131-211.

Week Five (February 11-13):

Reading: Visions, Chapter 18.

Exam #1, Thursday, February 14. Bring Blue Book(s).

Week Six (February 18-20)

Reading: Visions, Chapter 19; Sandweiss, 212-276.

Week Seven (February 25-27):

Reading: Visions, Chapter 20; Sandweiss, 277-306.

Week Eight (March 4-6):

Reading: Visions, Chapter 21.

Have a Great Spring Break (March 10-14)
Week Nine (March 18-20):

Reading: Visions, Chapter 22 & 23; Clarke, 1-67.

Week Ten (March 25-27):

Reading: Visions, Chapter 24; Clarke, 71-136.

Exam #2, Thursday, March 28. Bring Blue Book(s).
Week Eleven (April 1-3):

Reading: Visions, Chapter 25; Clarke, 139-224.

Week Twelve (April 8-10):

Reading: Visions, Chapter 26; Clarke, 227-282.

Week Thirteen (April 15-17):

Reading: Visions
Chapter 27.
Week Fourteen (April 22-24):

Reading: Visions, Chapter 28.
Week Fifteen (April 29-May 1):

Reading: Visions, Chapter 29.
Final Exam: Thursday, May 8, 10:15-12:15 pm – Bring Blue Books.
Readings, Class Attendance, Assignments, and Miscellany:
* This class will combine lectures, discussions, presentations, films and other approaches to history. Participation is a big part of the course evaluation process and as a consequence, attendance is necessary for success. The course will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 to 10:45. You will be responsible for all assignments, discussions, and other projects. It is essential that you do all of the reading for class. These are good books – well written, engaging, and important – so hopefully the assignments will not be a chore.
Of course questions, comments, and rigorous (but civil) debate are always welcome at anytime.
Assignments: The course will have three exams and a series of reading quizzes. The exams will cover the gamut of the material from lectures, discussions, reading and other sources we utilize in class and will take on varied forms including essays, identifications and other means of assessment. For each exam you must bring a blue book, which are available for sale in the bookstore. For all of the reading I expect you to fulfill the assignments for that book, including attending the discussions, taking any quizzes I might assign, and addressing any book-related questions on exams. More details will follow.
* A hint on the reading: The course reading is intended to supplement the lectures, films and the like. The books I have chosen focus on particular themes or ideas in the study of American history and should supplement your understanding of the United States and its past. Read closely, take notes rather than just highlight or underline, don’t be afraid to ask questions of the reading and be skeptical.

* The standard, regrettable, but necessary caveat emptor: Cheating is bad. Therefore, plagiarism, cheating on assignments, and any other form of academic dishonesty will result in punishments ranging from a failing grade on an assignment to dismissal from the university. Please do not put yourself in a position where we have to deal with this issue. Furthermore, err on the side of caution: at this stage of the game, it is better for you to footnote too excessively than too scarcely. If an idea, citation, or quotation is not your own, attribute it. Consult your student handbook for university policies.
* Disability Statement: Any student who feels that he or she may require assistance for any type of physical or learning disability should consult with me as soon as possible. To request academic accommodations for a disability contact the PASS Office in the Mesa Building Room 1160, 432-552-2631 or email johnson_ke@utpb.edu . Students are required to provide documentation of disability to PASS Office prior to receiving accommodations.
* Excuses: Every so often there is a justifiable reason to miss class, and occasionally there might be cause to turn in an assignment late. However, these exceptions should be the result of something extraordinary. I will accommodate you as best I can, but generally speaking assignments are due on the dates set forth in the syllabus, and you have ample warning. Call as far in advance as possible when you know that there is an unavoidable conflict and we will do the best we can to work things out.
* If you are having troubles, please speak to me. Even if you are not having troubles, come and speak to me. That is why I am here.
Grading: Grading in this course will be rigorous but fair. I have high, but certainly attainable, expectations for you, as you should have for yourselves. The breakdown is as follows:
In-Class Participation and Attendance 20%

Reading Quizzes: 20%

Exams: 20% Each
I do take class participation seriously. Our discussions are times for you to show that you have read, absorbed, thought about and engaged with the materials. This is your chance to ask questions, to learn from one another, to debate, to disagree, and to follow whatever paths we choose. If you come to class prepared and ready to interact you should be able to do well on the class participation component of this course.
If after receiving your assignments back from me you have questions about the grades, I will be more than willing to talk to you about them. However, keep a few things in mind: there is a 24 hour cooling off period between when you receive a graded assignment and when I will speak to you about it. This will give you a chance to read over comments, to see where I may have marked you down, and to determine whether you are upset about the grade I gave you or with your performance. It is certainly possible that I may make errors in grading your work. If I do so, I will certainly revisit my work. This is not, nor should it be, an antagonistic process.

Enjoy the class, good luck, and feel free to come speak with me at any point in the term.

There is one iron law that prevails in all of my classes, and that is: NO YANKEE HATS. If anyone objects to this policy we will simply have a no hats rule.
I reserve the right to adjust the syllabus if I think that it will improve the class.
State Mandated Booilerplate:
General Education Curriculum Goals for American History Survey Courses

(Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board)

The combination of History 1301 and 1302 will assist students in:

  • Examining social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods, social structures, and cultures

  • Analyzing the effects of historical, social, political, economic, cultural, and global forces on the area under study

  • Comprehending the origins and evolution of the United States with a focus on the growth of political institutions, the U.S. Constitution, federalism, civil liberties, and civil and human rights

  • Understanding the evolution and current role of the United States in the world

  • Differentiating and analyzing historical evidence and differing points of view

  • Recognizing and applying reasonable criteria for the acceptability of historical evidence and social research

  • Identifying and understanding differences and commonalities within diverse cultures

History courses by nature are reading and writing intensive and 1301and 1302 are no exception. Students will learn to interpret and analyze information. The goals of exams and other assignments are the acquisition of information and the development of writing and analytical skills.

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