History 4793 - Spring 2002
Senior Seminar

Room: West Hall 107 Section 2730: MW 2:30-3:45 p.m.

Instructor: Doug Catterall

Office: West Hall, 217 N
Office Hours: M, W 11 a.m.-12 p.m. & 1-2 p.m.;

T 11 a.m.-12 p.m., 1-4 p.m., and Th 4-6 p.m.
and by appointment

work telephone: 581-2949
home telephone: 536-7950
e-mail: dougc@cameron.edu


What is this Course About?

The Big Picture.
This course is in many ways the culmination of your work as a History Major at Cameron University. For some of you it may even be the one of the last history courses that you take. Therefore, I view it as a privilege to have the opportunity to be your guide in this course.

The ultimate purpose of this course is to teach each of you the process of researching and writing a research paper, which is one of the ways (although not the only way) in which historians engage with their subject. The approach of the course will be incremental, which is to say we will focus as much on the processes of researching and writing as much as on the final product of these activities: a well-written and well-researched paper on a historical subject of your choice. For those with more experience in writing and research, the steps that we will go through will be relatively familiar. For those with less experience, however, our focus on the different tasks will hopefully introduce you to the process in a manner that will allow you to quickly grasp the essentials. It is in any case my hope that each of you will produce a paper of which you can be proud.

The Nitty Gritty Stuff.

Organizationally, the course will fall into two halves. In the first half of the course we will pursue two different activities simultaneously. On the one hand we will engage with the different ways in which historians approach history or historiography, which I will also refer to as historical method. At the same time, each of you will seek out a primary source or sources that you find interesting available either at the Cameron University Library or in one of the area repositories of documents (think of City Hall, for example). Out of these two activities will emerge the following pieces of work: a research proposal, a source presentation, a book review, and a historiographic/methodological essay. I strongly recommend that you link your historiographic/methodological essay to your research proposal in some way as this will focus your work. In the second stage of the course we will focus on the mechanics of writing a research paper, which will include the following: footnotes, proper citation, bibiliography, and drafting, all of which you will become familiar with in the course of the term. During this stage of the course you will produce the research paper which is the logical culmination of your efforts this term and present a brief summary of your findings to your peers and members of the departmental faculty during the final examination period scheduled for this course.

Specific Objectives: This course will emphasize the following two skill-sets:

I. Mastery of the Historian’s Skills
• You will show your ability to analyze and evaluate historical texts in the research project that is the culmination of your work in the course.
• You will practice evaluating conflicting interpretations of past events and issues in
seminar discussions and in your written work for the course.
• You will demonstrate effective verbal communication through participation in seminar discussions and by presenting a research proposal and the final results of a research project to seminar participants and others.
• You will demonstrate effective written communication by completing the substantial writing requirements laid out for the course as defined below in the syllabus.
• Graduates will demonstrate appropriate computer skills.

II. Historical Thinking and the Historian’s Craft
• You will demonstrate your capacity for historical research in shorter analytical pieces and in two longer essays as outlined below in the syllabus; through our discussions of different historical approaches and sources you will also gain exposure to a range of approaches to historical research.
• You will show your ability to organize the results of historical research in the research paper and other writing pieces required in the course.
• You will present the results of your research in two presentations outlined below.
• In our discussions of historical research you will gain further exposure to the specialized terms and concepts used by historians.
• Our discussions will focus generally on thinking historically with a consistent focus on changes and the cause of change, with the concomitant ability to recognize continuities even amid change.


Ideal Environment:
The heart of the class-room environment (for me) rests in respect, enthusiasm, and openness. This may sound general, so I will elaborate. Enthusiasm means a persistent willingness to tackle the problems that come up in the readings and assignments for each week. It does not mean that everyone always has to show up happy and cheerful, but readiness to make a contribution to class is a must. Respect in the classroom means valuing each person's participation, not because their ideas are the best (although you might think so), but because they are trying to make a contribution to the group. Openness lies in the freedom for people to express their thoughts and opinions, which includes scope for debate and disagreement with me or anyone else. The closer we approach this ideal environment, the more the classroom will be an effective space for clarifying, making manageable and even experimenting with the issues confronted in the course. This ideal may not always be achievable, but in my view we should always strive for it. Dramatic deviations from the ideal ought to be avoidable and I will be particularly hard on persons whose behavior makes it difficult for others to learn. Personal attacks, for example, will not be tolerated in the classroom.

Acknowledgments:
Creating a course like this is a more collaborative enterprise than many. Therefore, I would like to give credit where credit is due for the course design below. I have used ideas or gained valuable insights from the following individuals in creating this course: Dr. Kristen Burkholder, Dr. Lance Janda, Dr. David Wolcott, and my students from History 2133, fall term 2001.


"Teaching is leading students into a situation from which they can only
escape by thinking."
--Anonymous

Requirements:

Participation:

a. Preparation: In order to understand what I have to say and participate in class discussions and other activities you will need to do the assigned readings. Please budget time to complete readings for the day in which they appear in the assignment and reading schedule. The readings are in two forms, which are listed below.

Required: Richard Marius, A Short Guide to Writing About History 3rd edition (New York: Longman, 1999) available at CU Bookstore

Articles and other required readings: available at the CU Library Reserve

Recommended: 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) available at CU
Bookstore

b. Discussion: This may seem like a small thing and something unrelated to the real stuff (passing the exams and hammering out the papers). I cannot stress enough, however, that participation in discussion will count in your grade and that effective participation almost always improves performance in the pressure situations. I will gauge participation on a daily basis with a check, check-plus, check-minus system.

c. Work Pieces: I will assign six short writing exercises to help focus our discussions and to prepare you for major assignments. The emphasis will vary from paper to paper, but each of these working pieces will represent a particular step in the research or writing process. The bulk of these will come in the first portion of the course and can be found in the schedule of assignments and readings listed below. Informal writings will also be graded with a check, check-plus, check-minus system and usually include comments. They must be between 200 and 300 words in length unless otherwise
specified and should follow the Standard Guidelines for Written Work detailed below.

d. Presentations: Each of you will need to make a brief five-minute presentation of your proposed research topic for the course in the seventh week and a ten-minute presentation of the results of your work in week sixteen.

e. Credit for Participation: I will count each day you show up in class and each informal writing as one participation measurement for which you can receive up to 10 points. In addition there are 50 points available from the presentations. You need to achieve at least 306 points in order to obtain an A in participation in this class, 272 for a B, 238 for a C, and 204 for a D.


Papers and Other Formal Assignments:
Book Review: Must be 400 words in length and focused on a book or books that I will identify for the class and place on reserve in the CU Library. The book review is worth 10% of your total grade in the course.

Research Plan: Should be no more nor less than 600 words in length and detail the sections of the research paper that you propose to write, the sources that you plan to use and their value and limitations, the secondary literature (broadly speaking) that you plan to engage with; and the so what question, i.e. why should one want to answer the question(s) you pose. The research plan is worth 10% of the course mark.

Historiographic/Methodological Essay: Must be 6 to 8 pages in length and engage with five to eight different perspectives derived either from articles or books. Ideally this paper should set you up to write the introduction to your research paper so I would recommend choosing a topic close to the topic of your research paper. This essay is worth 20% of the final grade in the course. Further details are available by clicking on the hypertext.

Research Paper: Must be 14-15 pages in length and engage with 20 different sources, 5 of which must be significant primary sources and the remainder secondary sources. You must receive approval from me for your paper topic and, if a subject specialist is available and willing to help, you must consult with him or her as you pursue the project. The project must have a standard critical apparatus: that is footnotes (or endnotes) and a bibliography, for both of which you must use the style rules laid out in Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. The research paper is worth 40% of the mark in the course. Of this 40%, 10% will be derived from your participation in the drafting process, which will involve turning in sections of your paper at three appointed times and reviewing a fellow student's paper on two of these occasions. You will lose much of this credit if you 1) fail to turn drafts in on time 2) turn in less than the specified amount of pages due or 3) do not provide adequate feedback to your fellow students. I strongly recommend that you identify a mentor who is knowledgable on the topic that you choose for your major project. In some cases I will insist on this because of the methodology or topic chosen.

Guidelines for Academic Work:

Standard Guidelines for Written Work: All writing for this course should adhere to following general standards. All papers and work pieces should be typed, double-spaced and in either Times Roman or Courier fonts with 12-pt. pitch. Margins for all papers should be one inch all around. Finally, I recommend that you consult Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations for any questions on mechanics such as punctuation and grammar. Also please use a dictionary or a spell-checker! Nothing makes your work look worse than poor spelling. Due dates for the papers are listed below. General guidelines for the papers will be available by clicking the hypertext in this sentence. In those cases where they are necessary, you will be able to access specific guidelines for the writing assignments, both papers and work pieces, by looking for the due date of the specific assignment in the schedule below, where you will find hyperlinks that will take you to a page containing additional information when this is appropriate. All written work for this course must be original and never have been turned in for credit in another course.

Late Papers: The following policy applies to all papers written for this course, whether working pieces or formal papers. No late papers will be accepted, either by me or by peer reviewers. There are two reasons for this policy. First, I want to treat everyone equally, since I believe that all of you to have an equal chance at success. Second, I do not want anyone to fall behind because your success in this course in particular depends on your keeping up with the work.

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, your in-class analytical essay and your performance on informal writings. As long as you manage to achieve a point total corresponding to the participation mark you are seeking to achieve, it does not matter how you get there.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism 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 these such essays you must cite all primary and secondary sources you use in accordance with the proper conventions. I will provide a sheet explaining the basics of citation before any formal essays come due. If for some reason you do not receive a copy of this hand-out, do not assume you will be exempt from following its guidelines as it will be available on the online syllabus. In cases of plagiarism, the Department of History and Government at CU follows the plagiarism policy in the 2000-2001 "Student Handbook," pp. 207-211. Please heed this warning.


Schedule of Readings, Discussion Topics, Assignments, and Activities

Part 1: Designing and Undertaking a Research Project

Week 1

(1/14) Introduction and Overview of Course

(1/16) Introduction to Primary Sources 1: Source Critique and Types of Sources

Read: A Short Guide, 29-48.
Sample Source for Analysis


Week 2

(1/21) Introduction to Primary Sources 2: Identifying a Topic and Beginning Research

Read: A Short Guide, 72-108.


(1/23) Historical Methods 1: Understanding a Historian's Approach

Read: A Short Guide, 109-135.
Turn In: Work Piece #1
Turn In: Paper Topic
Week 3

(1/28) Historical Methods 2: Cultural History

Read: Article #1 in Library CU Reserve


(1/30) Historical Methods 3: Social History

Read: Article #2 in CU Library Reserve
Turn In: Work Piece #2
Week 4

(2/4) Historical Methods 4: Economic/Quantitative History

Read: Article #3 in CU Library Reserve

(2/6) Historical Methods 5: Political History

Read: Article #4 in CU Library Reserve
Turn In: Work Piece #3
Week 5

(2/11) Historical Methods 6: History Defined by Groups

Read: Article #5 in CU Reserve

(2/13) Historical Methods 6: History Defined by Institutions or Activities

Read: Article #6 in CU Reserve
Turn In: Work Piece #4

Week 6

(2/18) Putting It Together 1, the Book Review

Read: The introduction/historiographic chapter and the conclusion/epilogue
of the book you are reviewing.
(2/20) Putting It Together 2, the Research Plan
Read: One substantive chapter of the book you are reviewing.
Part 2: Writing a Research Paper

Week 7

(2/25) Research Presentations

Turn In: Research Plan & Critical Book Review
(2/27) Research Presentations

Week 8

(3/4) The Core of Historical Writing

Read: A Short Guide, 1-12
(3/6)
Read: A Short Guide, 13-28.
Turn In: Historiographic Essay and Revised Book Review
Week 9

(3/11) Description and Narrative

Read: A Short Guide, 49-61
Turn In: First 5 Pages of Research Paper to Peer Reviewer.


(3/13) Exposition and Argument

Read: A Short Guide, 61-71.
Pick Up: Peer-Reviewed Selection of Research Paper.
Week 10

No Class This Week, Spring Break. Have a Great Break!!!

Week 11

(3/25) Footnotes

Read: A Short Guide, 136-143.
Scan: Turabian, 116-164.
Turn In: Nothing!!! I have combined Work Pieces #5 and #6.
(3/27) Bibliography
Read: A Short Guide, 144-145.
Scan: Turabian, 165-184.
Turn In: Work Piece #5/#6
Week 12

(4/1) Common Infelicities in Writing

Review: A Short Guide, 146-160 or chapter 7 Suggestions about Style in the newer edition.
Turn In: Second Reserarch Paper Draft, must be 10-12 pages in length, to Peer Reviewer
(4/3) Writing Day--No Class
Pick Up: Peer-Reviewed Draft at mutually agreed place and time.
Week 13

(4/8) Individual Conferences with the Instructor: No Class

(4/10) Individual Conferences with the Instructor: No Class

Week 14

(4/15) Conferences with the Instructor: No Class

(4/17) Final Checklist

Turn In: Full-Length Draft of Paper, 14-15 pages in length
Week 15

(4/22) Assessment Examination #1

Pick Up: Commented Full-Lenth Draft of Paper.
(4/24) Assessment Examination #2

Week 16

(4/29) Research Paper Presentations

(5/1) Research Paper Presentations

Turn In: Final Draft of Research Paper by 5 p.m. at West Hall 217 N or 213.
Finals Week

(5/8) No Class Held


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