Your active participation in class activities and discussion are crucial to the success of the course. You are expected to come to class fully prepared to discuss the day’s readings; this includes bringing copies of your reading assignments so that you can support your ideas with specific examples, as well as your notes and questions on the material. You will be graded on the quality of your contributions to our class discussions. You cannot earn an excellent grade (A) in a discussion-based class like this one if you do not regularly contribute to our discussions. Simply attending class without any further involvement in our discussions will result in a participation grade of “C” or “Satisfactory.”
You will be given the chance to evaluate your participation and make a case for what participation grade you deserve several times during the semester. This is a chance for you to reflect on your involvement in the class, and to let me know how you feel you are doing. I take your personal assessment very seriously.
Quizzes & Classroom Exercises (20%)
To insure that students have the opportunity to demonstrate that they have done the assigned readings, at least once a week, I will give a short quiz on that day’s assigned reading.
Book Review (15%)
Each student will review a recent scholarly monograph on an aspect of western history. This 500 word review will follow the format historians use when they write for the Journal of American History. Books must be have been published since 2010. Books must be approved in advance. Part of the assignment is researching exactly how to write a scholarly book review.
Historiographic Essay (20%)
Each student will write a short historiographic (800-1000 word) essay on the evolution of their topic. The essay must include at least five books and identify at least one major shift in interpretation. While learning how to construct one of these essays is part of the assignment, we will spend at least some class time discussing and analyzing the structure of this type of writing.
Historical Essay (25%)
Each student will write a short (1200-1500 word) essay on a particular aspect of western history. The paper will make and defend a thesis and draw from specific examples to demonstrate the efficacy of that thesis. It will engage the historiography of its subject. It will be well written and to the point.