History 2133 - Fall 2007
Introduction to Historical Research and Writing

Room: Conwill Hall 108
Section 7089: M, 6:30-9:10 p.m.

Instructor: Doug Catterall
Office: 634 South Shepler Tower
Office Hours: M, 2-5 p.m., W, 2-4 p.m., F, 2-3 p.m.; and by appointment.
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 an introduction to what historians do and to the Atlantic world.  Then we move on to a specific case study of one part of the Altantic World, New Netherland, c. 1630-1670.  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.  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:
Egerton, et al., The Atlantic World: A History, 1400-1888 (Wheeling, IL: Harlan Davidson, Inc., 2007)
Janny Venema, Beverwijck: A Dutch Village on the American Frontier, 1652-1664 (Hilversum: Verloren, 2004)

Primary Source Readings:
Deacons' Accounts, 1652-1672, Beverwijck/Albany, edited and translated by Janny Venema (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998)
Also provided in paper form 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:
Richard Marius and Melvin E. Page, A Short Guide to Writing About History, sixth edition (New York: Longman, 2007).

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).

Participation (200 Points):

1. Attendance and Discussion (75): 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 (50): 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 (50): These will ask you to apply your skills in analyzing primary and secondary sources after you have had some practice with these skills and are a mandatory part of the course.

4. Presentation (50): Each of you will need to make 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 regular day of class you attend class and participate you can earn up to 5 points.  You can earn up to 50 points for the 5 Informal Writings, and 50 points for the 2 In-Class Source Analytical Essays, and 50 points for the Presentation.  Thus, you have a potential for earning 225 points.  I hold you responsible for 200 points, meaning that you need at least 180 points for an A in participation, 160 for a B, 140 for a C, and 120 for a D.  Below 120 points is a failing mark in participation.

Papers (550 Points):You will have to write one short and two longer, formal essays for this course: a book review, a bibliographic essay and a research paper. 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 (500-600 words) will be worth 75 points; the bibliographic paper (6-8 pages) will be worth 175 points, and the research paper (10 pages) will be worth 300 points and will focus on some aspect of New Netherland.  Of that 300 points, 30 will be given for turning in a rough draft of at least 7 full pages in length, with reductions of 5 points for each page less than the full 7 pages.  In addition, there will be a deduction of up to 30 points, at my discretion, for not participating in the peer review process for the research paper.  All papers are to be typed, double-spaced and in Times Roman 12-pt. font.  They must also be appropriately footnoted in each case (please see me if you have any doubts on this matter as footnoting is crucial in this course).  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 needed to write the various papers.

Class Archive on New Netherland:

New Netherland Project Web-Site (n.b. after clicking the link scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the link entitled : Take a Virtual Tour of New Netherland)

New York History Net

New Netherland Museum Half Moon

University of Notre Dame Project on Colonial Coins (discusses New Netherland's trade & economy)


Plus the CU Library Reserve Holdings:

Materials for this course
 Correspondence 1647--1653  Various
 Correspondence of Jeremias van Rensselaer  Jeremias van Rensselaer et al, edited by A.J.F. van Laer
 Correspondence of Maria van Rensselaer  Various
 Council Minutes 1655 -- 1656  various
 Court and Notarial Records  Various
 Death of a notary : conquest and change in colonial New York / Donna Merwick.  Merwick, Donna.
 Glory of the Mohawks, the life of the venerable Catharine Tekakwitha, by Rev. Edward Lecompte, S.J.;  Lecompte, Edouard, 1856-1929.
 The human tradition in colonial America / edited by Ian K. Steele and Nancy L. Rhoden.  (no author)
 In Mohawk Country: Early Narratives about a Native People  Snow, Dean R. et al
 In the shadow of slavery : African Americans in New York City, 1626-1863 / Leslie M. Harris.  Harris, Leslie M. (Leslie Maria), 1965-
 Labor in colonial New York, 1664-1776.  McKee, Samuel D., 1896-
 Leisler's Rebellion; a study of democracy in New York, 1664-1720.  Reich, Jerome R.
 The life and times of Kateri Tekakwitha, the Lily of the Mohawks, 1656-1680. By Ellen H. Walworth.  Walworth, Ellen Hardin, 1858-
 Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664, edited by J. Franklin Jameson.  Jameson, J. Franklin (John Franklin), 1859-1937. ed.
 New York City, 1664-1710 : conquest and change / Thomas J. Archdeacon.  Archdeacon, Thomas J.
 North America: The Historical Georaphy of a Changing Continent  McIlwraith, Thomas
 The Records of New Amsterdam  Various
 Sex, love, race : crossing boundaries in North American history / edited by Martha Hodes.  (no author)
 The shaping of America : a geographical perspective on 500 years of history / D.W. Meinig.  Meinig, D. W. (Donald William), 1924-
 Slavery and the making of America / James Oliver Horton, Lois E. Horton.  Horton, James Oliver.
 Women and freedom in early America / edited by Larry D. Eldridge.  (no author)

Grading Breakdown:

Course Component
Component Point Value
1 Book Review
1 Bibliographic Essay
1 Research Paper
Total of All Categories 750

Calculation of your mark: In this course 750 points is a perfect score.  Thus an A requires a minimum of 675 points, a B at least 600 points, a C at least 525 points, a D at least 450 points.  Anyone earning less than 450 points fails the course and earns a mark of F.

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.

Paper Submission Procedure: All papers receiving academic grades (i.e. papers or formal writings) for this course will be submitted via the CU Turn It In portal.  Instructions for how to do this will be forthcoming in good time for the submission of the first paper.  No paper submission of such work will be acceptable so do not ask.

Late Papers/Formal Writings: The following policy applies to all late papers for this course that will receive a letter grade, with the exception of the Research Paper, which must be turned in by 6:30 p.m. on day of the scheduled final examination period for this course to receive credit.  All papers other than the Research Paper 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 seven days from the original due date to turn in the paper. If in that time you are unable to complete and submit 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."  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 or for the final presentation.  In addition, as noted below, there are substantial penalties for failing to take the in-class assessment essays.  Please make a note of this.

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: As per the Office of Student Development, "It is the policy of Cameron University to accommodate students with disabilities, pursuant to federal and state law.  Students with disabilities who need classroom accommodations must make their requests by contacting the Office of Student Development at (580) 581-2209, North Shepler Room 314."

Website for this office:


Schedule of Readings, Topics, Assignments, and Activities

List of Topics
Readings, Assignments, and Activities
Introduction: The Basics of History & the Origins of the Atlantic World
Read (to review): The Atlantic World, 9-75; A Short Guide, Chapter 1.
Portugal and Spain in the Americas, European Politics and the Atlantic World, & the Basic Standards for Historical Writing Read: The Atlantic World, 77-147 & A Short Guide, Chapter 2
Turn In: Informal Writing #1
Free and Unfree Migrants and Other Commodities in the Atlantic World, Thinking in Historical Terms, & Classifying Sources Read: The Atlantic World, 149-252; Deacons' Accounts, v-xxi, 1-7; A Short Guide, Chapters 3-4
Turn In: (may also be turned in on 9.17.07 for full credit)  Informal Writing # 2
9-17 Warfare in the Atlantic World, Introducing New Netherland, & The  Tradition of Source Critique Read: The Atlantic World, 255-358; Beverwijck, 17-44; Deacons' Accounts, 8-26.

9-24 The Establishment of Beverwijck; Introduction to the Class Archive
Read: Beverwijck, 44-174.
Meet: at CU Library
Turn In: First Description of Research Topic and Thesis, Informal Writing #3
Everyday Life in Beverwijck
Read: Beverwijck, 175-236, 239-244, 249-254, 292-314, 315-364.
Turn In:
Informal Writing #4
Bibliography and Footnotes & Rules for Effective Writing  Read: A Short Guide, Chapters 5-8
Turn In:
Book Review of Venema
Effective Research Strategies for the Library
Turn In: Draft of Bibliographic Essay
Meet: at CU Library
Using Your Sources and Expanding on Them 1 Pick Up: Draft of Bibliographic Essay; Turn In:  Informal Writing #5
10-29 Using Your Sources and Expanding on Them 2 Turn In: Bibliographic Essay
Draft Critique Day--In Class Peer Review Turn In: draft of Research Paper Mandatory Participation (1 grade reduction from Research Paper mark for failure to attend and participate)
Draft Discussion Day
Pick Up: instructor-corrected draft of Research Paper
Assessment Essays
Write: In-Class Source Analytical Essays: Attendance Mandatory (1 grade reduction from Research Paper mark for failure to attend)
Progress Report Conferences & Historiography Extra Turn In: 2nd draft of Research Paper
Draft Discussion Day Discuss: 2nd draft of Research Paper
Final Research Presentations Turn In: Research Paper by 6:30 p.m.
Present: Final Results from Research Projects

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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