History 2133 - Fall 2004
Introduction to Historical Research and Writing

Room: South Shepler Tower, 214
Section 0519: MW, 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Instructor: Doug Catterall

Office: South Shepler Tower, 634

Office Hours: MW, 10-11 a.m., 1-2 p.m., 3:30-4:30 p.m.; TTh, 1-3 p.m.
work telephone: 581-2949
e-mail: dougc@cameron.edu

What is this Course About?

The Big Picture.
What do historians do? How do they do what they do? For what reasons do they do the things they do? These questions are at the heart of this course and by the end of the term it is my hope that each of you will have developed your own answers for each one. While not all of you plan to become professional historians, understanding and mastering for yourselves the intellectual skills that historians use will serve you well as history majors and in whatever future direction you may choose to pursue in life.

It is said that, given the current degree of flux in the economy, most of us will change jobs multiple times in the course of our lives. I would suggest to you that the person most prepared for this environment is not the person with a set of skills that is in demand now but may not be in the future. Rather, the person who is probably most prepared to meet the challenges of this world is able to define and approach problems readily, to think critically and creatively about those problems, interpret complex information in a variety of forms, write and otherwise communicate solutions clearly and with precision and detail, and is able to see the bigger picture of which his or her work is a part.  In this class you will work to improve your mastery of all of these tasks and skills. As a history major you are preparing for many futures, not just one, and after finishing this course you will be closer to having the ability to meet with confidence whatever comes your way.  This is why I am always particularly excited to be teaching this course, because it is as much about possibilities and potential and it is about intellectual endeavor.

The Nitty Gritty Stuff.
In general this will be a practical course driven by particular exercises and projects as opposed to a course whose focus is on mastering a body of knowledge about a particular time and place (e.g. the English Civil War or the Great Depression era). Having said that, I have framed the course a bit by making its theme the Atlantic world between 1400 and 1900 in order to make our work this term more manageable.

We start the term with a brief introduction to what historians do and to the Atlantic world.  Then we move on to two specific studies of different parts of the Atlantic world, Ecuador, c. 1600, and New England, c. 1700-1800.  As we come to grips with these two studies (or monographs as historians term them) we will also consider more carefully what kinds of sources there are and how to interpret and use them.  Along the way I will introduce you to the mechanics of bibliography and footnotes and give you opportunities to interpret some actual sources.  With the knowledge that you have gained from these discussions and exercises you will then write three papers: a book review, a bibliographic essay, and an analytical source essay, which are the main papers for the course.  We will then conclude the course with a unit on recent controversies in historical work and you will present the results of your final paper, the source analytical essay.  The last week of the regular term will also give you the chance to see who the other faculty are who comprise the CU History Program.  This is a sizeable amount of work, but if we work together you can all be successful.

Specific Objectives:

This course will emphasize the following two skill-sets:

    I. Mastery of the Historian’s Skills
    II. Historical Thinking and the Historian’s Craft

Secondary Source Readings:
Philip D. Curtin, The Rise and Fall of the Plantation Complex: Essays in Atlantic History, second edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998)

John Demos, The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America (New York: Vintage Books, 1994)

Kris Lane, Quito 1599: City and Colony in Transition (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2002)

Primary Source Readings:
Provided chiefly in paper form and available in class or in the library on reserve or on shelf. If such sources are not in the public domain and copying or printing them may result in a violation of copyright law I will advise you of this.

Required Reference Works:
Martha Howell and Walter Prevenier, From Reliable Sources: An Introduction to Historcial Methods (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001)

Richard Marius and Melvin E. Page, A Short Guide to Writing About History, fifth edition (New York: Longman, 2001)

Recommended Reference Works:
Kate L. Turabian , A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, Revised by John Grossman and Alice Bennett (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1996).

Course-work consists of three major elements: attendance and participation in discussion and activities, informal writings, and formal writings (i.e. papers).


1. Attendance and Discussion (10% of the total mark): I cannot stress enough that timely attendance and regular participation in discussion and other classroom activities will count heavily in your grade and that effective participation almost always improves performance in the pressure situations. I will gauge attendance and participation on a daily basis.

2. Informal Writings (5% of the total mark): I will assign short writing exercises to help focus our discussions and to prepare you for major assignments.  The emphasis in these assignments will vary from paper to paper.  For each informal writing you can earn participation credit.  See under credit for participation for their precise value in the marking scheme.

3. In-Class Source Analytical Essays (5% of the total mark): These will serve as preparation for your bibliographic essay and your analytical source essay and will count towards your participation mark in the course.

4. Presentations (5% of the total mark): Each of you will need to make a brief five-minute presentation of your proposed research topic for the course in the twelfth week and a ten-minute presentation of the results of your work during the scheduled final examination period for this course.

5. Credit for Participation: For each day you attend class and participate you can earn up to 2 points.  You can earn 30 points for the 9 Informal Writings, 30 points for the 2 In-Class Source Analytical Essays, and 30 points for the 2 Presentations.  Thus, you have a potential for earning 150 points.  I hold you responsible for 135 points, meaning that you need at least 121.5 points for an A in participation, 108 for a B, 94.5 for a C, and 81 for a D.  Below 81 points is a failing mark in participation.

Papers:You will have to write one short and two major formal essays for this course: a book review, a bibliographic essay and an analytical source essay. All papers must be typed and the second paper will involve a rough draft.  You must turn in a rough draft that is substantially equivalent in length to the final paper you intend to turn in. The book review (2 pages) will be worth 15% of your final grade; the bibliographic paper (6-8 pages) will be worth 30% of your final grade and the analytical source essay (6-8 pages) will be 30%. Of that 30%, 5% will be given for turning in a rough draft of at least 6 full pages in length, with reductions of 1% for each page less than the full 6 pages. All papers are to be typed, double-spaced and in Times Roman or Courier font.  Due dates for the papers are listed below. General guidelines for papers are available by clicking the hypertext in this sentence. You can access specific guidelines for each of these projects by looking for the due date of each paper below, where you will find hyperlinks that will take you to a page containing additional information.

Grading Breakdown:

Component:                                Percentage:        
Participation                                              25
1 Book Review                                          15
1 Bibliographic Essay                               30                                        
1 Analytical Source Essay                        30                
Total                                                         100

General Policies:

Classroom Environment: Talking to your classmates or others outside the context of classroom activities is rude and will not be tolerated.  Reading outside materials, listening to music, taking telephone calls on your cell-phone, and similar non-class related activities are equally unacceptable.  I expect all students to be respectful of one another's right to speak and express opinions.  Disagreements and different viewpoints are welcome, but debates should not involve insults.  Finally, food and drink are permitted in class as long as courtesy is observed; e.g. if you haven't quite finished your cup of coffee, do bring it along to class, but turning the classroom into a cafeteria is not permissible.  

Attendance: As noted above, regular attendance is crucial to your success in this class.  If you miss class regularly, your grade will suffer.  I would also like to note that frequent lateness in coming to class and frequent early departures will also be penalized as these habits are rude to your fellow classmates and to me as the instructor.  I will take attendance daily in this class and an absence is an absence and will be counted as such.  

Preparation: All assignments for a given day, whether reading or writing, are to be completed before the class meets on that day.  I also recommend that you take notes as you read and during lectures and discussions as this will make studying for the quizzes and writing the papers for the class less of a challenge.

Late Formal Writings/Papers: The following policy applies to all late papers for this course that will receive a letter grade, with the exception of the Analytical Source Essay, which must be turned in by 3 p.m. on day of the scheduled final examination period for this course to receive credit.  All papers other than the Analytical Souce Essay that are submitted at any time on the day that the paper is due will be considered on time. Papers submitted after that date, no matter what the reason may be, will be automatically marked down one grade. You will then have five days from the original due date to turn in the paper. If in that time you are unable to complete the work, the paper will receive a zero.

Late Informal Writings: No late informal writings will be accepted, so don't ask. Remember, though, that your participation grade is a composite of your performance in class and your marks on informal writings and I have designed the grading system to allow you a "head start" of 15 points.  Thus, as long as you manage to achieve the necessary points for participation, it will not matter to me how you do so. Although I will obviously keep track of what you do by way of participation.  I would advise you to remain aware of where you stand for yourself so that you know whether or not you are achieving the  level of participation for which you are hoping to receive credit.

Missed Quizzes and Examinations: There are no make-ups for any quizzes or in-class essays given as part of this course.

Academic Dishonesty: As per Section 4.07 of the CU Student Handbook: "Each student is expected to engage in all academic pursuits in a manner that is above reproach. Students are expected to maintain complete honesty and integrity in the academic experiences both in and out of the classroom. Any student found guilty of academic dishonesty… will be subject to disciplinary action."  For examples of academic dishonesty please see the full version of Section 4.07 at: http://www.cameron.edu/student_development/student_conduct/academic.html

Among the most serious offenses a student can commit is plagiarism, which is the representation of the work of another as your own. In all of the writing you do for this course you must make clear to me which ideas in a paper are your own and which come from someone else. This is especially important for any formal essays you write. In such essays you must cite all primary and secondary sources you use in accordance with the proper conventions.  Instructions on the basics of citation may be found under the general guidelines for papers.  before any formal essays come due.  If for some reason you do not choose to examine this page, know that you will not be exempt from following its guidelines.  In cases of plagiarism, the Department of History and Government at CU follows the plagiarism policy in the current "Student Handbook," as described in Sections 4.07 and 4.08 of the CU Code of Student Conduct.  Penalties for plagiarism as defined by the Student Code of Conduct include:

1) The student may be required to perform additional academic work/project not required of other students in the course;

2) The student may be required to withdraw from the course with a grade of "W" or "F"; or

3) The student's grade in the course or on the examination or other academic work affected by the dishonesty may be reduced to any extent, including a reduction to failure. 

Please heed this warning as I am quite serious about it.

Disability Statement: If you have a documented disability or suspect that you have a learning problem and need reasonable accommodations, please notify me as soon as possible so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

Schedule of Readings, Topics, Assignments, and Activities

List of Topics
Readings, Assignments, and Activities
Introduction & Get Acquainted

The Origins of the Atlantic World &
The Essence of History
Read: Curtin, 3-16, A Short Guide, Chapter 1, 1-11
Africa and the Atlantic Islands & the
Basic Standards for Historical Writing
Read: Curtin, 17-45 & A Short Guide, Chapter 1, 11-28; Turn In: Informal Writing #1
Portugal and Spain in the Americas &
The Historian's Questions
Read: Curtin, 46-70 & A Short Guide, Chapter 2; Turn In: Informal Writing #2
The Sugar Revolution &
Modes of Writing
Read: Curtin, 73-97 & A Short Guide, Chapter 3; This is a reading assignment only, discussion will be on 9-8; Labor Day--NO CLASS
Different Kinds of Slave Societies &
Gathering Historical Data
Read: Curtin, 98-110 & A Short Guide, Chapter 4; Turn In: Informal Writing #3
The Atlantic Economy, c. 1700-1800, 1 & Classifying Sources
Read: Curtin, 113-143 & From Reliable Sources, 17-42
Revolutions in the Atlantic World &
Approaches to Sources
Read: Curtin, 144-169 & From Reliable Sources, 43-60
The Decline of the "Plantation Complex" &Introducing Quito Read: Curtin, 173-206 & Quito 1599, 1-21
Maroons in Esmeraldas & The  Tradition of Source Critique Read: Quito 1599, 22-51 & From Reliable Sources, 60-68; Turn In: Informal Writing #4
Masters and Slaves in Quito & Source Comparison Read: Quito 1599, 52-82 & From Reliable Sources, 69-79
The Economy and Demography of the Spanish Andes & Establishing the Accuracy of Sources Read: Quito 1599, 83-112 & From Reliable Sources, 79-87; Turn In: Informal Writing #5
The Role of Trade in Quito Read: Quito 1599, 151-188
Pirates in Quito & Introduction to John Demos's work Read: Quito 1599, 189-234 & Unredeemed Captive, 3-25 Turn In: Informal Writing #6
The Captivity Experience through the Eyes of John Williams Read: Unredeemed Captive, 25-76
The Politics of Prisoner Exchanges Along the Anglo-French Frontier Read: Unredeemed Captive, 77-119; Turn In: Informal Writing #7
Native Americans, Europeans, and Eunice Williams: An Atlantic World Cultural Encounter Read: Unredeemed Captive, 120-166
Eunice Williams and Her Family Ties Read: Unredeemed Captive, 167-213 Examine: Historic Deerfield Web-Site
How to End Eunice Williams's Story Read: Unredeemed Captive, 214-252
Bibliography and Footnotes
Read: A Short Guide, Chapter 8; Turn In: Informal Writing #8
Rules for Effective Writing
Read: A Short Guide, Chapter 7; Turn In: Book Review of Demos or Lane
Pick Up: Primary Source Assignments
What is Good Style in Writing?
Read: A Short Guide, Chapters 6. Turn In: Informal Writing #9
Effective Research Strategies Read: A Short Guide, Chapters 5.

Initial Research Project Presentations
Turn In: Bibliographic Essay

Initial Research Project Presentations
A Brief Introduction to Historiography Read: From Reliable Sources, 88-118

Writing Day--NO CLASS; Turn In: draft of Analytical Source Essay

Thanksgiving--NO CLASS
Politics in the Historical Profession Read: From Reliable Sources, 119-150

Write: In-Class Source Analytical Essays: Attendance Mandatory (1 grade reduction from Source Analytical Essay mark for failure to attend)

History Faculty Presentations: Attendance Mandatory (1 grade reduction from Source Analytical Essay mark for failure to attend); Pick Up: draft of Analytical Source Essay

 History Faculty Presentations: Attendance Mandatory (1 grade reduction from Source Analytical Essay mark for failure to attend)

Writing Day--NO CLASS

Final Research Project Presentations (3-5 p.m., South Shepler Tower, room 214); Turn In: Analytical Source Essay by 3 p.m.

Please Note: The Syllabus is Subject to Change Should the Instructor Deem That Necessary and
the Web Syllabus is to be Considered the Syllabus of Record

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