AMH 2010 Syllabus--Fall 2010

AMH 2010 Syllabus--Fall 2010 - American History to 1877 AMH...

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: American History to 1877 AMH 2010.0R1 Fall 2010 Dr. Kelly Minor COURSE SYLLABUS Santa Fe College This syllabus is your source for information about class policies, deadlines, assignments, your professor, course expectations, and ways to succeed. Think of it as a user manual for the course. ONTACT INFORMATION Email: kelly.minor@sfcollege.edu Office : 125 Hours: TH 9:15‐10 Website : http://people.sfcollege.edu/kelly.minor/ Angel: https://lms.sfcollege.edu/default.asp (Bookmark this site, in case SFC’s homepage goes down) Class communication: Everything I announce or hand out will happen in class or via email. After the first two weeks I will only back up in‐class announcements with email for required assignments and schedule changes. General reminders, extra credit opportunities, etc. will only be announced in class. OURSE DESCRIPTION and STRUCTURE As a survey, this class introduces you to a wide span of history and some of its most prevalent themes. We will trace Americans’ evolution from a time when “Americans” did not even exist, to a new nation riding the euphoria of independence and navigating the treacherous waters of a new government, to a nation expanding its borders, redefining its population, and wavering between nationalism and sectionalism. We’ll finish with an epic battle between ideal and reality, death and renewal. This survey combines lecture upon which you will need to take notes, required reading to be completed outside class, and regular discussion in class. It is a rare week when all three of these do not take place, so you must be prepared in every class for them all. There are no standard exams, but online quizzes (via Angel) are required for every lecture, covering both the lecture material and its related reading. Three brief papers analyzing the required reading, as well as a creative project, round out the course requirements. In sum, I require considerable work and effort to succeed in this course, but it is more than manageable for even an average student. equired Texts. All are available at SFC’s bookstore. Use the ISBN to confirm the right edition. • Package (ISBN: 0558307264)—even used, this is sold only as a package 1. Retrieving the American Past, ed. Kelly Minor (Pearson Custom, 2009)—this is a collection of short primary sources that I hand‐selected to match the themes of each lesson. This book takes the place of a traditional textbook and reader, and appears in the syllabus as RTAP. ISBN: 0558276954 2. Custom Library of American Literature, ed. Kelly Minor (Pearson Custom, 2009)—this, too, is a hand‐selected collection of varied and significant literary works that helped define the American experience. This collection complements RTAP and appears in the syllabus as LAL. ISBN: 0558295894 • Creating an American Culture, ed. Eve Kornfeld (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2001)—this vibrant collection of primary sources and historical context captures a period when the Early Republic strove to define itself as an independent and unified nation by creating a distinctive culture in everything from spelling books to fine art. ISBN: 031219062X • Louisa May Alcott, Hospital Sketches (Dover Publications, 2004)—this is a brief but powerful record of Alcott’s experience as a nurse in a Civil War hospital, in many ways a mirror of the experiences of untested soldiers reconciling ideals and realities on the battlefield. ISBN: 0486449009 C C R C OURAGE, HUMILITY, AND CURIOSITY: MY PHILOSOPHY OF THE COURSE My goal is to help you learn and understand American history with compassion and reason. No nation’s history so profoundly captures the tension between possibility and limitation, idealism and reality, promise and disappointment as the United States’. Crucial for studying this intensely human story is context, for Americans are defined not by a common ethnic or religious background, but by a shared history. Every nation harbors an intense ferocity about its origins and its youth, but historians can use that “entanglement” with the past to build respect for its actors—if we can’t be fully objective and rational looking back on a time that’s not even our own, how can we expect past actors actually living the lives that one day will be history to be as fair, as informed, as rational as we think we are today? I expect you to treat this history and its actors with respect and empathy—check your high‐horse at the door and leave your score card at home. ards on the Table: Dr. Minor’s Rules for Being a Historian—and Succeeding in this Class 1. History, and only history. I dislike professors who use their classrooms as a pulpit for their politics and their students as a captive audience for their rants. I detest those who manipulate and prostitute the past to make a modern point. I am fiercely protective of the past, and of the study of history for its own sake. My only agenda in this class is to teach you to think critically, to assess with reason and compassion, and to embrace humility when dealing with the past. 2. The truth is out there—but we may never know it . The ancient Greeks gave us the Socratic method—learning by question and answer—and we’ve adapted that into what we call “playing devil’s advocate.” Whenever you think you have the answer, I’ll challenge it with another question, a different possibility, or an alternative explanation. History is not what many of you think it is (old, dead, and done with). Inevitability does not exist in here, and trying to grasp the importance of the “what‐if” is as important as the what‐did. Even if we had every source, every piece of evidence available and were totally capable of interpreting it, we’d still never know the whole truth, because we weren’t there. Challenging assumptions and interpretations teaches us humility, respect, and patience, by reminding us that we don’t know it all. 3. No bumper stickers. I like catchy phrases and cutesy images as much as the next person, but I believe we must resist the urge to simplify what is complex, to tidy what is messy, and to correct what is uncomfortable. If I do my job right, you’ll leave this class seeing history as a muddier, more tangled mess than when you started. If it’s easy, we’ll reject it—heroes and villains, right and wrong are 4‐ letter words in here. I believe—and will drill into your heads—that past actors deserve to be evaluated, understood, empathized with, and studied on their terms, not ours. The past is populated with human beings, not machines. Facing them as such is far more difficult than passing judgment on them or elevating them to a pedestal, but it makes us better historians, and better people. That doesn’t make heroism or ingenuity any less so—it took guts to do what Washington did when he crossed the Delaware, and the success of the Revolution depended on the result. Nor does it mean that past tragedy or malice is any less so—the impact of epidemics or Indian Removal is appalling by any standard. But it does mean that we can assess motives and ideas more clearly, even if we cannot change the outcome. 4. Ask “so what?” This class is not going to be a 16‐week recitation of facts that you will memorize, regurgitate, and then forget. History is a story. What’s more, it’s a human story. No—it’s humans’ own story. It’s not just about people—it’s human beings’ collective record of their time on this earth. For better or worse, people have not acted solely on instinct. They have thought, planned, reacted, responded, created, destroyed—so the fundamental question for me is not “what?” but “why?” I could rattle off any number of disparate facts, all of them true and all of them vital to knowing what went on in the past. Maybe that’s enough to know history. But it’s not enough to understand it. I will teach this class with an equal focus on three elements fundamental to history and to helping you learn and understand it: fact, context, and ideology. Facts are the meat of the story, and we cannot do C 2 without them. But they have little meaning without placing them in context—what has been the role of the facts’ social, political, religious, economic, military, philosophical, and literal environment? Finally, we’ll consistently explore the ideologies that have driven history. Why? What does it mean? 5. Let the dead speak for themselves. Paranormal shows like to use what they call “EVP,” essentially recordings of the dead speaking. I’m not so sure about that, but I know that the dead and the past do speak—in letters, diaries, treaties, receipts, laws, marching orders, birth certificates, photographs, broken pottery, building foundations, and innumerable other artifacts that call out “I was here!” The lifeblood of history—and this class—is the evidence the past has left us, primarily written sources. Historians summarize, first the sources and then one another, leaving us with the dull, watered down, “do you know where that’s been?” taste of processed history that we often find in textbooks. But primary sources—evidence—transport us to a time we no longer live in, to places we may never go, and introduce us to people we’ll never know otherwise. 6. It’s okay to think history is cool. “Those who forget the past . . .” Blah, blah, blah. I was executive president of the Indiana Jones Archaeology Club when I was 9, and I still love history because the past is an awesome story. Who cares if it’s 100% relevant to today’s world? Sure history can be a drag . . . if you don’t like violence, sex, adventure, intrigue, romance, discovery, deceit, danger, inspiration, beauty, tragedy, mystery, or comedy. And the best part? It’s all true. Historian Edward Countryman assures us that we need only 3 qualities to do our job well: (1) “the courage to try to understand people whom we never can meet . . . and to explain events that no one can re‐create.” (2) “the humility to realize that we can never entirely appreciate either the people or the events under study.” And (3) “the curiosity that turns sterile facts into clues about a world that once was just as alive, passionate, frightening, and exciting as our own, yet in different ways.”1 UTS & BOLTS: COURSE EXPECTATIONS, REQUIREMENTS, and POLICIES My philosophy of education is simple—above all else, I value merit, effort, and accountability. Your best chance for success is to tap into your talents, strive to overcome your academic deficits, and take responsibility for your performance. Keep up with the reading, observe deadlines, and be prepared to participate in discussions. I see a class as a community, in which each of us is expected to meaningfully contribute. With that in mind, I require the following commitments: Participation Policies (How not to be a Ghost, Zombie, or Squirming Parasite) Collectively, these elements account for about 50% of your course grade. Attendance: I will take attendance on a regular basis. I allow 3 absences, for any reason, then will drop your final grade by one level (example: B C+) for additional absences. Those who drift in and out of class rather than attending regularly are Ghosts, and find it hard to succeed in a substantive way. Ghosts also tend to disrupt class because they are out of the loop, and drain the resources of those who do attend responsibly by using them to catch up on notes and fill them in on reading. Preparedness: Though I appreciate you showing up at all, I do not offer drive‐through classes, where you can simply sit by passively while I and your peers do all the work. To earn a B or higher in this class, you must be prepared consistently. Preparation means that you have done the reading before we discuss it; you bring your finished work to class rather than submitting it afterwards; you have relevant class materials with you; you keep up with the course calendar and requirements. Though fun for me to watch, the Squirmer who is always out of the loop and wishing for the end of class is also a Parasite by siphoning off others’ hard work rather than being prepared with their own. Discussion: Ever notice how movie zombies are present, but not really there? They just stare and make incoherent noises. That’s the student who shows up but adds nothing to the class other than N 1 Edward Countryman, “A Note for Students,” Who Were the Progressives? (Boston and New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2002), xiv. 3 blank looks and vague grunts. Though I will not detract from your grade if you do not chime in during discussions, I will boost the final grade of those who do speak up. Don’t worry—I can tell the difference between the shy but prepared student and the clueless, dead weight of the Zombie. Courtesy: I expect that you will conduct yourself in a manner that allows you, me, and your classmates to focus. To that end: • Remain seated and quiet until the ride has come to a complete stop. • Treat me and your classmates with respect and civility at all times. • Cell phone? Don’t cross that line. NOTE: These are policies, not requests. They are designed to promote a respectful environment that fosters learning and discussion. Required Work: All assignments are equally weighted and collectively account for 50% of your final course grade. Quizzes: Rather than traditional exams, we have a quiz for each lecture to ensure you are keeping up and retaining information. All quiz questions are based on both lecture and readings—the quizzes are easy, but you must come to class consistently, take decent notes, and complete the reading to do well. On the day we complete a lecture, I will activate the quiz on Angel and make it available for 48 hours. Each quiz allows you 7‐15 minutes to answer 10‐15 questions, most multiple‐choice. There is only one chance to complete each quiz, and there is no make‐up of any kind for missed quizzes. Written work: Papers include 3 small essays related to the readings. All will be graded based on three qualities: style, argument, and evidence. History is a written craft, and your ability to make a convincing argument and tell a compelling story depends on writing clearly and correctly. Use the Writing Guide and DA Tips & Samples to plan and improve your essays. Both are available on Angel and on the website. Exhibition Project: The other major assignment is a project in which you’ll create a traveling exhibition on a historical topic related to this class. Details are at the end of the syllabus. Late/Extension Policy: All work is due in or before class on the specified date. I accept late work based on the following policy: • Work turned in after class ends on the due date will lose ½ letter grade. (Ex: paper due on Tuesday earns a B+ but was turned in Tuesday night = a B) • Work turned in on the day after the due date will lose 1 full letter grade (Ex: paper due on Tuesday earns a B+ but was turned in Wednesday = a C+) • Work turned in two days after the due date (expiration date) will lose 2 full letter grades (Ex. Paper due on Tuesday earns a B+ but was turned in Thursday = a D+) • Late policy includes weekends—you can always submit work via email. • NO work will be accepted after the expiration date unless you arranged an extension with me before the original due date. • Exception: Discussion Notes/BA3 are due in or before class ONLY. No late/extensions! Grade Assessment: I assess your overall performance as a student, starting with the quality of your work. Rather than calculating point totals and percentages, I evaluate: • Quality of written work, including improvement over time • Engagement and participation in the class • Effort towards success Your final course grade is earned by accumulating it. I do not detract from an “A” for poor performance, but add to a “C” for excellence and effort. Here’s how it works: • Every student starts the course with a “C”—a combination of initial attendance and your native abilities to succeed in the class. 4 • Over the class, you build credit toward an A by doing several things well and consistently: turning in assignments on time, being prepared for class discussions, improving the quality of your work or maintaining high quality, participating in class issues and opportunities (votes, extra credit, etc), and seeking me out for discussion, advice, etc. • A case study of an average student might work like this: to determine final grades, I review KM’s performance. Like her peers, she began the class with a C, but her work was usually a strong B, and sometimes a B+ or A‐. So, her work is consistently strong and showed improvement. At this point, KM earns a B+ for the class. But what else did she offer as a student in a college history course? She consistently spoke up during discussions and had something meaningful to say nearly every time. Her written work alone might make her a B+ student, but her added discussions elevate her to a B+/A‐ student. There’s a last consideration for me; did KM ever engage me outside the classroom, did she ever ask for help, share ideas, offer a vote on class issues when the opportunity arose, etc.? She did. That brings her final grade up to an A‐/A. KM is a student who turned in solid, if not outstanding, work, strove to succeed in class, and made a meaningful contribution to it overall. That’s an A student. What if KM turned in the same written work, but said little in class and never bothered to participate in class issues? She’ll likely earn a B for the class. What if KM does all her assignments, but they’re mediocre and never improved? That’s a C to start—but may move to a C+ if she participated fully otherwise. Can KM earn a D? Yes, if she misses class often, neglects assignments, and/or her work is poorly done. Granted, a C‐work student is not going to leave class with an A, and an A‐work student will not leave with a C, but there is a lot of give in this system and it behooves you to do your best in every aspect. • I determine factors like “participation” and “effort” by keeping written notes on whether or not you add to discussions, participate in class votes or study sessions, submit rough drafts for review, discuss class concerns with me, seem to be adapting to improve or maintain grades, etc. Profiles of Achievement: A student: consistently turns in timely, outstanding work, meaningfully participates in class discussions, and engages me and classmates. A great student overall. B student: a solid student overall who perhaps is a little quiet in class, may need more improvement in written work, or is withdrawn from the class generally. C student: student who meets bare course requirements but goes no further: work in on time but needs considerable improvement, rarely or ineffectually speaks in class, and is withdrawn from the class generally. A mediocre student overall. D student: student missing work, silent in class, frequently absent, etc. A poor student overall. Learning Outcomes: Critical Thinking As part of a college education, this course will help you develop the skills necessary for analysis, synthesis, evaluation, decision making, critical and creative thinking and the creative process. Assessment of the outcome will occur through evaluating successful completion of the following: 1. The student will develop and demonstrate skills necessary to analyze and critique theoretical perspectives or historical perspectives. 2. The student will develop and demonstrate skills necessary for the evaluation and understanding of significant and critical subjects and/or issues. These standard skills are common requirements for many college courses, and I assure you that the assignments for this class more than meet them. 5 PLEASE NOTE: This class is writing intensive. Expect to write 20‐25 pages total, including (3) 5 page papers and a 3‐page essay as part of your Project. Ample guidance for all assignments will be offered well in advance of due dates, and I am happy to review drafts of all work. Academic Integrity: Plagiarism is “The attempt to represent the work of another as the product of one's own thought, whether the other's work is published or unpublished, or simply the work of a fellow student. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, quoting oral or written materials without citation . . . for an academic requirement; submitting a paper . . . purchased from a term paper service as your own work; submitting anyone else's paper as your own work.” Source: Rules of University of Florida, 6C1‐4. Be advised of the penalties for plagiarism, a serious violation of academic integrity. At the very least, if you have plagiarized in an exam or paper, you will fail that assignment. More serious infractions may result in failure for the class, or possible expulsion from the college. And keep this in mind: though modern technologies like the internet have made it easier for you to steal or buy, and then use, someone else’s work, the same technologies also make it easier for me to catch you. AQs: LOTS OF WORK, HIGH EXPECTATIONS . . . IS THIS CLASS FOR ME? Students often ask me (or other students) these questions about whether the class is right for them. Here’re some responses to help you decide before Drop/Add ends! 1. Is this class hard? That depends. If you mean “challenging but rewarding,” then no. If you mean “can I slide and still make a C?”, then yes. You will probably read more in my class than in any other survey here (or anywhere for that matter). You will have to take more notes from lecture than in any other survey. I talk faster than most other professors. I require more writing. I ask more difficult, more intricate questions. I actually expect you to show up. Every time. I expect you to have done all the reading and have something to say about it. Every time. Can you handle all that without freaking out? Only you can answer that. 2. Do I really have to read all this stuff? Yes. Here’s why: I think the readings are important and it hurts my ego if you don’t agree. Seriously, would you learn astronomy by looking at pictures of stars, or the stars themselves? Would you learn to drive by watching others, or getting in a car yourself? The sources you read for this class ARE the history you’re studying. And they make up ALL of the assigned readings—no history‐in‐a‐ box textbooks or review charts, just sources created by real people as they lived the lives we now are studying as history. Ask yourself which is more compelling to a student 200 years from now: a historian describing what Manhattan looked like in the first hours of 9/11, or video taken on that day by someone on the street watching it happen? Moreover, these people deserve to be heard in their own words, just as you do. Secondary sources like textbooks, articles, and monographs are useful, but they only offer you a re‐telling of the story the people who were actually there can tell you themselves. 3. What can I get away with in here? A lot. That may not sound professorial, but it’s true. You’ll find pretty quickly that I’m a laid‐back, cheerful softy. That said, here are the lines NOT to cross: a. SHOWING UP UNPREPARED FOR CLASS, ESPECIALLY DISCUSSIONS. Be ready for discussion on the assigned reading EVERY day because our schedule is flexible and we may have discussions at any point. Being ready means that discussions are not Q&A, but a give and take of ideas based on the readings. b. Allowing your phone/iPod/Blackberry/Raspberry/Boysenberry to make a sound, light up, or distract you during class. 4. Can I make an A? Yes, indeed. Most students leave my class with some version of a B, then a C, then an A. Frankly, the only students who make a D or worse are those who just stop attending, don’t do the work, or otherwise ignore the class. 5. Why do I even have to take this &%#@! class, and why do you make such a big deal of it? You’re not the only ones asking this question—schools, parents, legislators, math majors, etc. ask it all the time, demanding to know why history matters at all. Who really cares what happened to a bunch of dead people before you were even born? Sound familiar? I don’t buy it—I love history and what it offers us, even as we race into the future at top speed. I can assure you that history has much to teach us as we move through our own lives. Here are some things to consider: F 6 W 2. 3. 4. 5. hy history? (other than basic college credit): 1. History teaches us patience and offers us perspective. Change happens slowly, and results often don’t become clear until many years after an event or choice. When you’re living in the midst of something, it’s hard to see clearly or calmly. If the sky appears to be falling today, knowing it really did fall 200 years ago can help us step back from hyperbole and remain rational. One of my favorites is when someone calls a president “the worst/best ever”—I always ask, “really, how would you compare him to Millard Fillmore?” How do we know a good/bad leader if we have no idea what is even possible or have no basis for comparison? History empowers us. It might sound cynical, but many people not only assume you are ignorant— they count on it. They rely on simplistic explanations of complex issues: the reason for __________ is “racism,” “politics,” or “ratings” to convince you they are right, get your votes, or win your trust. How do you know what a political candidate actually can do if elected, and what is an unrealistic promise? Because you know how the government works. How can you tell what accusations people make about each other in the past are true? Because you learned about that past from the people who lived it. How can you separate claims from facts, and hyperbole from reason in debates, ads, articles, etc? Because in here you learn to distill information by asking questions and remaining calm. Rather than being impressed by cute kids, snappy suits, or funny jokes, you’ll learn to look beyond the superficial and ask intelligent, insightful questions. In everyday life, from anti‐aging treatments to presidential elections to “the best movie of the year,” you can apply the same critical thinking skills you’ll learn in here: detail over summary, analysis over assumption, and empathy over judgment. History teaches us to be cautious and informed. We live in a world of sound bites, text messages, internet clips, and other snippets. Even the “news” is largely made up of opinions based on selective interpretations of portions of information. Even if these portions are not false, they are not the whole story. In here, you’ll learn that there are many sides to the same story and that you need to access and assess them all to come to an informed conclusion. And when you have a story, you’ll learn to respectfully and intelligently challenge assumptions and claims to understand better what’s going on. Even more important, you’ll learn to assess a story by going to the source rather than relying on second‐hand extracts and opinions. History offers us insight. Part of being an informed citizen and person is that you have some idea what’s going on because of what went before. History cannot truly repeat itself, but everything that happens now is rooted in the past. For example, as the nation debates state versus federal immigration policies, health care reform, and the like, you can study it more intelligently because in here you’ll learn about the evolution of the American debate about the relationship between government and citizens. Is a war in Iraq or Afghanistan really like the war fought in Vietnam? You can assess that by studying about Vietnam. Are there ways to settle a heated debate about the Constitution? Study about such debates in the past. You get the idea. History teaches us that anyone can be racist, violent, or greedy, and anyone can be generous, fair, and decent. Self‐righteous indignation and awestruck accolades serve no purpose other than to make ourselves feel better. Double‐standards are always dangerous. When you hear the disturbing proclamation that the only “real Americans” are so‐and‐so, that such‐and‐such a political or ethnic minority should have no voice because they are a minority, or that anyone who criticizes this‐or‐that‐ person is a crazy bigot, you’ll be able to say “Whoa! Do you hear what you’re saying?” because you’ll have learned that throughout our history many people have not been considered “real Americans” or people worth having a voice, with terrible consequences, simply because they did not agree with an idea, were a political minority, or were somehow different. History can be both humbling and inspiring when we learn that people much like us are capable of everything the human experience has to offer, for better and for worse. 7 6. History teaches us that people are, well, people. In here we reject the idea that people are either heroes or villains. So many factors influence the way human beings see the world that we can’t really dismiss someone who disagrees with us as bigoted or ignorant or irrelevant. Looking back, we tend to lump humanity into categories based on race, gender, ideology, religion, etc, then judge them using criteria we personally find acceptable. We do the same thing in our own time—how many of us applaud or denigrate people we’ve never even met simply because they belong to a certain political party, are of a certain race or religion, or live in a certain part of the country? Just like we are today, however, the past was made up of millions of individuals, and just as you’ll learn to deal with them that way, you’ll learn to deal with people today the same way—as individuals, not categories. 7. History gives us an anchor and a shared sense of identity. History is humanity’s collective memory. Without knowing anything of the past, we are set adrift in time and space. Not knowing the past is like suddenly showing up in a room full of strangers with no idea how you got there. One of the lessons that drives this class is that history is a shared experience—as it was lived and as we inherited it. We cannot pick and choose what our own history will be, for all that has come before lives on in all of us. The people in the past are not strangers; they’re family you haven’t met yet, family you may not like, but family nevertheless that made you what you are. 8. History is a voice for the dead and a passage to the past. Think about it‐‐do you care if there is any record whatsoever that you were ever here after you are dead? When people you know die, do you destroy all evidence they ever existed? Just because someone no longer exists in the present, does that mean they no longer matter? Our immediate past matters to us—we attend family reunions, pore over yearbooks, and keep toys from our childhood. The past we share with others, even those we don’t know, is important for the same reasons. It created the people we are and the world we share. And just as we preserve our own past so that we never really sever those ties, we study history to maintain our ties to the humanity that came before. History ensures that millions of people have not been silenced just because they’re dead. 9. History reminds us we’re better off hopelessly lost. There’s something wonderful about humility. Above all others is one lesson I make the centerpiece of my classes and it’s the same lesson I think nearly everyone in the world can learn from: get over yourself. The students who learn the most check their high horse at the door, drop the comfortable assumption that they know how it is, was, and should be, and approach the past with a willingness to believe they don’t have all or even the best answers. The fact is that history—really good, really messy history—is about asking questions more than finding answers. When we get into the sources and start asking questions rather than imposing answers, we find that all the categories we use for ourselves don’t work any better for the past. Race, religion, gender, politics, wealth, etc. are limited beginner guides, but that rope runs out pretty quickly and we get into murky territory where boundaries collapse and re‐form, where a certain path suddenly veers into another one entirely. History is like a maze—when you see it from above you can see a beginning, an end, and a clear path from one to the other. But when you’re in the maze, you’re feeling your way step by step. And speaking of humility . . . 10. History helps you not make a fool of yourself—or disrespect the past. “Johnson Family Trip 2009 ☺”? Sound cute? It’s not when it’s scribbled in marker on the mantle of a 200‐year old farm house in a national park. And honestly, no one really cares how much Austin Shelly. Picnic under the trees? Not when it’s on a National Battlefield where thousands of men lay in the sun bleeding to death and crying for help during a war fought to determine the fate of the nation and its people. Too hot to wait in line to vote? Tell that to the people who couldn’t vote unless they paid a tax or could interpret the Constitution. Trust me; you don’t want to be among the middle‐aged tourists doing a conga line at the FDR Memorial that depicts hungry Americans in a bread line waiting for food. Or the teenage girls posing like celebrities in front of the stars at the World War II Memorial—stars that each represent 100 men killed in battle. There are 4,000 stars. . 8 BA 3 Sample A BA3 is a big answer to the Discussion question + 3 pieces of evidence drawn from the reading and analyzed to support your answer. Each BA3 is a discussion‐prep assignment that helps you read with more focus and prepare for discussion effectively. For nearly every discussion you’ll be submitting one of these, so here’s a sample: My big answer: Larson captures the essence of Gilded Age America in several ways in Devil, but where he really succeeds is in the vivid language and descriptions that serve as a metaphor for the age. This is where I really came to see (and smell and hear) what a Gilded Age city was like, and how much the nation was changing. Evidence 1: Larson writes of Burnham’s own office that it “faced south . . . to satisfy their craving for natural light, a universal hunger throughout Chicago, where gas jets . . . did little to pierce the city’s perpetual coal‐ smoke dusk.” (18) The contrast between the perpetual griminess and dimness of GA Chicago and the emphasis on light—natural and manmade—at the Fair emphasizes the simultaneous tug‐of‐war between two worlds, as well as the basic fact that GA cities were polluted and dark. Evidence 2: Larson’s descriptions of both Chicago and the Fair create an important contrast, particularly in the very visceral “landscape” of both: “In poor neighborhoods garbage mounded in alleys and overflowed giant trash boxes that became banquet halls for rats and bluebottle flies. Billions of flies. . . .In rain any street not paved with macadam oozed a fragrant muck of horse manure, mud, and garbage that swelled between granite blocks like pus from a wound.” (28) Compare that to the scent of the Fair as land was cleared and construction began: “As workers piled mountains of fresh lumber beside each building, jagged foothills of sawdust and scrap rose nearby. The air smelled of cut wood and Christmas.” (145). We get a glimpse into two very different but simultaneous worlds, and a strong sense of both decay and promise, poverty and abundance, misery and joy. Evidence 3: Throughout Larson’s study, we sense the currents flowing through the city as the Fair approached and was underway—the movement, excitement, expectation are all tangible, and very often literal. GA Chicago, like GA America, was no sleepy hamlet: “A thousand trains a day entered or left Chicago” (11); Larson describes a “landscape of anticipation” (45). What also is clear is that in all this bustle, Americans’ relationships to their environment and each other changed from one of intimacy to anonymity, the few to the multitudes: so many moved within and around Chicago that “vanishing seemed a Chicago pastime.” (102). The implications are again two‐edged—either a wonderful freedom of movement and escape from outdated social mores, or a friend‐less jumble of strangers without camaraderie or protection from their fellow wanderers. 9 CREATIVE PROJECT ASSIGNMENT One of the most important aspects of studying history is assessing how to represent it to the broader public— how to create, filter, influence, and preserve our collective memory. One of the best places to study this phenomenon is in historical exhibitions, often showcased at museums or civic centers, open to the general public for a nominal fee, and featuring various levels of interaction based on audience age and interest. Everything from the exhibition poster to the gift shop reflects how the exhibition creators envision their mission and what they expect audiences will like. For this project, you will design an exhibition intended for display to a variety of audiences, including professional historians, children, educated laypeople (non‐ historians), and foreign visitors. What is more, your exhibit will travel, with stops in Seattle, WA, Santa Fe, NM, Chicago, IL, Atlanta, GA, Miami, FL, Washington, DC, and Albany, NY. Here is what you need to determine in your design: • Cost of admission to the exhibition • The poster appearance announcing the exhibition (to grab the public’s attention) • Methods of advertising the exhibition (remember, you want to reach a wide audience) • The centerpiece of the exhibition (what everyone will most come to see) • The style of exhibition signs (writing, visuals, height of sign, etc) • The level of literacy required for understanding the exhibition • The size of the exhibition (number of items, time required to see it, etc.) • Interactive elements in the exhibition • Gift shop merchandise and available food choices (be creative with these!) Here’re the requirements to keep in mind as you design the exhibition: • It must travel, so it has to be mobile and engaging to a wide audience • It must focus on a topic drawn from American History between 1865 and 1992. Here’s what you need to turn in to me via email (or on a CD in class): • A slide presentation showing the exhibition poster and a visual catalog of major items visitors could see in the exhibition • An ad for local newspapers to draw visitors to the exhibition • A gift catalog listing what will be available for visitors to purchase • A brief, written visitors’ guide for those attending the exhibition • A FAQ page for the exhibition website—try to anticipate what visitors will want to know before buying tickets PLUS: • A 2‐3 page essay describing your choice of exhibition and why you designed it as you did—think of this as your sales pitch. You’ll be explaining every choice you make, from the cost of admission to the choice of merchandise in the shop. To get some ideas about exhibitions, you might want to visit the various websites for the Smithsonian museums. Something is always going on at the Smithsonian, and there is a wealth of ideas to be gleaned. In addition, there are other traveling exhibitions throughout the world that you can search and research to get ideas. But beware! Do NOT simply adapt a real exhibition—you must create an idea from scratch. 10 11 COURSE CALENDAR (Subject to change with notice as class requires) This course is thematic. We will move chronologically, but not as a precise sequence of events. Look at the lecture titles—each lecture is itself a theme. And each segment of the course addresses a larger theme than that contained in each lecture. The purpose of this structure is to help us make sense of what can seem like a random assault of dates and names, to study the history as its actors lived it. This American history did not just happen; it was forged in a series of crucibles that challenged Americans again and again to redefine themselves, their nation, and their aspirations. This segment of US History is remarkably short—only 140 years compared to the 400 years of AMH 2010—but it is a volatile mix of almost unending crisis, reconstruction, and reconciliation. It ends around 1990, for everything since is so recent that we cannot possibly study it with perspective and empathy intact. Course Calendar Be prepared for both lecture and discussion on all class days. The discussion may happen as either an informal chat during lecture or a distinct segment of class . . . so be ready for both. It is best to complete the assigned reading and reading assignments before each Tuesday’s class. The calendar is laid out by our week’s agenda, including: Lecture title: The lecture I will give and upon which you will take notes with the aid of the Terms and Outline TO‐DO: Reading you need to complete before and during a lecture to prepare for both quizzes and discussion BA3: the assignment based on the assigned reading, due in or before class on discussion day unless otherwise noted DISCUSS: Our discussion to tie it all together A quick overview of major assignments is included in the calendar near their due dates. Full details will be available well before an assignment is due. Quizzes become available as soon as a lecture is finished; it is your responsibility to keep track of where we are in the calendar and to check Angel for quizzes. The quiz number associate with each lecture appears in the calendar as Q1. This is a rolling calendar—we will move through the class in this order, but one week’s agenda might roll over into the next. 12 Week/Date _______ ________ Work Due 1. Aug 24‐26 Caves and Clio: Being a Historian & Dr. Minor’s Keys for Success Begin quizzes: Syllabus quiz 1491: Americas in the Atlantic New Worlds for All: Exploration and Contact Q1 TO‐DO: RTAP pp. 1‐46; LAL pp.1‐12 Sample analysis of primary sources during class DISCUSS: Will the Real Columbus Please Stand Up?: Using Sources to Separate the Icons, Caricatures, and Humans What are the factors we need to take into account in assessing a major historical figure like Columbus? 2. Aug 31‐Sept2 Discuss New Worlds for All Pirates, Rebels, and Slaves: Power in the New World TO‐DO: RTAP pp. 47‐67 Big answer + 3 Evidence (BA3) based on assigned reading and discussion question, due in/before class DISCUSS: Victors or Vanquished: Using Sources to Discover Forms of Power in the New World. What are the diverse forms of power we see in these relationships? What seems to have been the most potent form of power? 3. Sept 7‐9 Pirates, Rebels, and Slaves: Power in the New World Q 2 TO‐DO: RTAP pp. 68‐84 D A 1 Q u e s t i o n s D ue ( f o r e v e r y o n e ) DISCUSS: Battle for Democracy, or Dominance?” Using Source Evidence to Assess Credibility in Historical Events. In the battle for control of Virginia during Bacon’s Rebellion, which camp/leader is more credible—who really was to blame? DA 1.A Assignment: This analysis will expand on the discussion question to explore the ways that historians can/cannot use sources to figure out what happened during a controversial event, when many of the original sources are lost. DUE via email day after discussion day; bring hard copy to next class meeting. 4. Sept 14‐16 The Covenant: Community in the New World Q3 D A 1.A Due TO‐DO: RTAP pp. 85‐142; LAL pp. 13‐16 BA3 due/in before class on discussion day DISCUSS: Witches in Salem: Ignorance or Idealism? How did community expectations shape the New World? What was really going on in these crises? • • • • • • • Final Project Idea and any Partner(s) Cost of Admission Methods of Advertising Centerpiece of Exhibition Level of Literacy Size of Exhibition (time it takes to enjoy it) Answers to interviewers’ questions Though not as polished as your final exhibition, this should be well‐ advanced beyond your initial idea. Think of this as an early sales pitch to someone you want to fund your exhibition—can you sell them on your idea? 13 5 . Sept 21‐23 “Tis time to part”: The American Revolution Q4 Project Idea Due TO‐DO: RTAP pp. 143‐172; LAL pp. 17‐66 Sept 21 BA3 due in class on discussion day DISCUSS: Paine’s Promise: Using Common Sense to Understand the Context for Revolution. What helped convince so many colonists to risk everything and rebel against England? What in the sources helps understand why others chose not to rebel? 6. Sept 28‐30 “Liberty is still the object I have in view”: American Revolution II TO‐DO: Creating an American Culture DA 1 Questions due in/before class day of discussion DISCUSS: I am an American: What ways did Americans find to shape a unique identity for their new nation? DA 1.B Assignment: This analysis will focus on the diverse ways that Americans set about becoming Americans. You will assess what cultural elements seem to have done the most toward this goal or creating a distinct, unified American culture, and which seem to have set Americans apart from each other as well as from the wider world. DUE via email day after discussion day; bring hard copy to next class meeting. 7. Oct 5‐7 American Culture discussion on Tues DA 1.B Due No Class Meeting on Thurs—work on Project Draft and review lecture notes to finish “Liberty is still the object” Project Draft Assignment Due Tuesday Oct 12 Type up and turn in: 14 8. Oct 12‐14 “Liberty is still the object” continued Q5 PROJECT DRAFT TO‐DO: RTAP pp. 173‐‐240 BA3 due in/before class DISCUSS: How Radical was the Revolution?: Using the Sources to Assess the Contemporary Success of the Revolution. Was liberty expanded to more Americans? Were Americans living up to the ideals they established in the Declaration? “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity!”: America at Home and Abroad TO‐DO: RTAP pp. 241‐268 BA3 due in/before class DISCUSS: Pirates and Whiskey: How did the Constitution change the landscape of American independence? How did these challenges strengthen or weaken the nation? How about individual independence? 9. Oct 19‐21 “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity” continued Q 6 TO‐DO: RTAP pp. 269‐308 DA 2 Questions due in/before class (for everyone) DISCUSS: Napoleon, the Corps of Discovery, and 1812: How did initiative alter the landscape of American independence? Did these events make American independence stronger, or weaker? DA 2 Assignment: In 4‐5 pages of double‐spaced text, explore in detail the big events that swept the nation between the Constitutional Convention and the War of 1812. How did these shape the new nation? DUE via email day after discussion; bring hard copy to next class meeting. 10. Oct 26‐28 Clash of the Titans: Jacksonian America Q 7 DA 2 TO‐DO: RTAP pp. 309‐352 BA3 due in/before class DISCUSS: Crossroads or Continuity?: Debating Removal from the Inside Out. As the debate over Indian Removal heated up, what did the people in these sources struggle with most? 11. Nov 2‐4 Steam, Iron, and the Gin: Antebellum Invention Q8 TO‐DO: RTAP pp. 353‐372 BA3 due in/before class 13. Nov 16‐18 “The cause and the aim of all things” continued + discussion “What man has done, man may undo”: Antebellum Reform Q10 TO‐DO: RTAP pp. 463‐506 BA3 due in/before class DISCUSS: The Cause: What Ideals Drove Abm Reform? TO‐DO: RTAP pp.507‐546; LAL pp.290‐294 DISCUSS: The Aim: What Realities Shaped Abm Reform BA 3 combining The Cause and The Aim due/in before class NO CLASS THURS NOV 25 (Thanksgiving) 14. Nov 23 “A House Divided”: The Secession Crisis Q11 TO‐DO: RTAP pp. 547‐568; LAL pp. 295‐302 DISCUSS: Might versus Did: Was Disunion Destiny? DA 3 Assignment: This will be a visual essay in which you’ll use Alcott’s work to create captions for real Civil War photos. Due in class Nov 30. 15. Nov30‐Dec2 Two Brothers: The Civil War Q12 DA 3 TO‐DO: RTAP pp. 569‐575 Hospital Sketches BA3 based on assigned reading and discussion question FINAL PROJECT DISCUSS: Did Lincoln Free the Slaves?: Using the Sources to Understand Lincoln’s Goals due Dec 2 Hospital Sketches: Your Vision of the Civil War THERE IS NO FINAL EXAM—TODAY’S MEETING IS THE LAST MEETING OF ANY KIND. ALL PENDING WORK MUST BE IN TO ME, VIA EMAIL ONLY, NO LATER THAN DEC 4. 15 Life on the clock: Using the sources to explore work, independence, and compensation in abm America. How did the American worker change in the wake of the early industrial revolution? How did their relationship to work change? 12. Nov 9 “The cause and the aim of all things”: Antebellum Culture in the North, South, and West Q9 TO‐DO: LAL pp. 252‐289 (North), RTAP pp. 373‐396; LAL pp. 67‐190 (South), RTAP pp.397‐462, LAL pp.191‐251 (West) BA3 due in/before class DISCUSS: What are the distinctive features of each of these cultures? And what do they have in common? NO CLASS ON Thurs Nov 11 (Veterans Day) DISCUSS: ...
View Full Document

This document was uploaded on 11/21/2011.

Ask a homework question - tutors are online