HIST 2100 Syllabus [Fall 2014]

HIST 2100 Syllabus [Fall 2014] - Fall 2014 History 2100...

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Fall 2014 History 2100, section 001 The Historian’s Craft Oak 269 Tuesday, 2-4:30 Professor Schafer Office: Wood 223 860-486-3998 [email protected] Office hours: Wednesdays, 8:30-10:30 a.m. If you cannot attend office hours due to other regular formal commitments (e.g., other class meetings, work, or scheduled athletic practice/competition), you may inquire about making an appointment to meet with me at a different time. I may on occasion have to move my office hours to a different day but will send out an announcement to the class if I do. Watch your email for changes. COURSE DESCRIPTION: Instead of asking you to learn and takes tests on a particular subject area, History 2100 asks you to think, ask questions, and develop approaches to answering those questions the way a professional historian would. Instead of asking you to be a passive consumer of history produced by others, History 2100 puts you in the shoes of the historian who creates history by researching and writing about the past while in dialog with colleagues in the discipline who have researched and reflected upon related questions and similar areas of interest. COURSE OBJECTIVES: In order to study the kinds of choices scholars have to make while formulating research questions, analyzing primary sources, and writing histories based on those sources that might answer those questions, the class will focus on the concurrent development of two related sets of skills: I. READING Like every academic discipline, history has its own genres, vocabularies, and modes of communication. This course will introduce students to the project of learning about history as a discipline through studying how professional historians talk to one another --
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through writing -- when they debate the practice and organization of history as a field of inquiry as well as when they present their research and its significance. To learn these reading skills, students will analyze sets of written encounters between historians published in The American Historical Review , the major journal of the discipline in the United States. Class discussion, along with short papers on these readings, will focus on the questions historians pose, the decisions historians have to make, the rules that guide the formulation of good research questions, the practice of original historical research, and the rules of good historical writing. We will also consider other aspects of how historians address their colleagues in writing, especially their strategies of persuasion and their logics of evaluation. Finally, we will think about how those modes of presentation might differ from how the past has been conceptualized and represented to wider audiences of readers and viewers, for example, in Hollywood or independent films, on the History Channel, in high school or college classrooms, or in popular history books and historical fiction.
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