History 4793 - Spring 2005
Senior Seminar

Room: South Shepler 214, Section 7069: W 6:30-9:10 p.m.

Instructor: Doug Catterall

Office: 634 South Shepler
Office Hours: M, W 11 a.m.-12 p.m., & 2-4 p.m.;

TTh 1-2 p.m., 3:30-4:30 p.m.
and by appointment

work telephone: 581-2949
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 guide each of you through the process of conducting research and writing a research paper, which is an important way in which historians engage with their subject.  The approach of the course will be a step-by-step.  That is we will move methodically through the stages of research proposal, framing of your problem, research, and writing so that you  will be able to produce a well-written and well-researched, primary-source based essay.

The Nitty Gritty Stuff.
The course falls 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 by discussing debates historians have had on particular historical issues (historiography); the techniques historians use to write and research; and some of the guiding principles that drive their research.  At the same time, each of you will seek out a topic that you find interesting, and primary and secondary sources available either at the Cameron University Library or in one of the area repositories of documents (e.g. City Hall, Museum of the Great Plains, Fort Sill Museum, etc.).  Out of these two activities will emerge the following pieces of work: a research proposal, a book review, and a historiographic essay.  In the second stage of the course you will focus on writing a research paper, which must be properly documented, utilize significant primary sources, and present original analyses and will involve a drafting process.  You will also present a brief summary of your findings to your peers and members of the departmental faculty.

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

I. 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 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 one 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.

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. Lance Janda, Dr. Richard Voeltz, and my students from the past several years in History 2133 for their insights.

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


Ludmilla Jordanova, History in Practice (London: Arnold, 2000)

Deborah Cohen & Maura O'Connor, eds., Comparison and History: Europe in Cross-National Perspective (New York: Routledge, 2004).

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)

All of the above books are available for purchase at the CU Bookstore.

Also Useful: Richard Marius (and in some editions Melvin Page), A Short Guide to Writing About History (whichever edition you happen to have).


Participation (100 points)

Discussion (60 points): You can receive up to 4 points for each class you attend.  Your mark for each day, with the exception of week sixteen when only your presence will be required, will depend on your participation in discussion and other classroom activities.

Research Presentation (60 points): Each of you will need to give a ten-minute presentation of the results of your work in week sixteen.  Guidelines will be forthcoming at the appropriate time.

Credit for Participation: A perfect score in participation is 100 points, meaning that a mimium of 90 points are required for an A, at least 80 points for a B, a least 70 points for a C, and a minimum of 60 points for a D.

Papers and Other Formal Assignments (500 points):

Research Plan (75 points): Should be no 400-600 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.  In order to turn in a research plan it is also mandatory that you turn in a preliminary research topic description of 125 to 200 words in which you describe 1) the primary source(s) you think you'll be using and 2) the question(s) you might answer with these sources.  It is also mandatory that I approve of the topic.

Book Review (75 points): Must be 4-5, double-spaced pages in length, written in Times New Roman font with a 12-pt. pitch.  In this review you must evaluate comparatively the essays in Comparison and History according to the standards I will set in the specific guidelines for the assignment.

Historiographic Essay (150 points): Must be 6 to 8, double-spaced pages in length written in Times New Roman font with a 12-pt. pitch. and engage with five different perspectives derived either from academic articles in peer-reviewed journals (see me if there is any doubt in your mind as to what an academic article is) or books all of which must be connected to your research topic.  This paper should set you up to write the introduction to your research paper.  Therefore you must choose a topic close to the focus of your research paper.  Specific guidelines for this paper will be provided.

Research Paper (200 points): Must be 14-15 pages in length and engage with 20 different sources, 5 of which must be significant primary sources (with one at least 30-40 pages typed in length or equivalent) and the remainder secondary sources.  A specific breakdown of the various sections of the paper will be provided and you are expected to adhere to it.  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.  No paper topics covering a subject that is post-1970 will be accepted and no oral history projects will be permissible.  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 one-third of the mark in the course.  In addition, there is a mandatory drafting process for the research paper.  Your paper will receive an automatic 20-point deduction for each draft submitted late and an equal deduction for each draft submitted that is of insuffient length.  There will also be a 20-point reduction from the final mark for inadequate participation in the peer-review process.

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 Times New Roman font with 12-pt. pitch.  Margins for all papers should be one inch all around.  Finally,  all papers should be written in clear, standard English with correct punctuation and grammar and should be appropriately footnoted.  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 and for questions on documenting your work.  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 by looking for hyperlinks in the general descriptions of these assignments listed above.  All written work for this course must be original and never have been turned in for credit in another course.

Grading Breakdown:
Course Component
Component Point Value
Research Proposal
Book Review
Historiographic Paper
Research Paper
Total of All Categories 600
Calculation of your mark: In this course 600 points is a perfect score.  Thus an A requires a minimum of 540 points, a B at least 480 points, a C at least 420 points, a D at least 380 points.  Anyone earning less than 380 points fails the course and earns a mark of F.

Guidelines for Academic Work:

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: Regular attendance is crucial to your success in this class.  If you miss class regularly, your grade will suffer.  Equally, and as outlined above, lateness in coming to class and early departures will 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, whether involving reading or writing, for a given day are to be completed before the class meets on that day.  I also recommend that you take notes as you read and during dicussions as this will make writing the papers for the class less of a challenge.

Late Papers: The following policy applies to all papers written for this course.  No late final drafts will be accepted.  Late preliminary drafts and preliminary drafts of insufficient length will result in a deduction of 10% from the paper's final mark for each such infraction.  There are two reasons for this policy.  First, I want to treat everyone equally, since I believe that all of you ought to have an equal chance at success.  Second, I do not want anyone to fall behind, because your success in this course depends on your keeping up with the work.

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 such essays you must cite all primary and secondary sources you use in accordance with the proper conventions. I will hand out 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, 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: Cameron University is committed to making its activities as accessible as possible.  The University provides a range of special services for those with disabilities.  If you anticipate a need for any of those services, please contact the Cameron University Disabled Student Services office, located in 314 N. Shepler, 2800 W. Gore Blvd., Lawton, Oklahoma 73505-6377. Phone: (580) 581-2209.  
Website for this office:


Schedule of Readings, Discussion Topics, Assignments, and Activities

Topics and Discussion Themes
Readings, Assignments, and Activities
Introduction; Identifying a Topic and Beginning Research & Using Your Resources
Review Afterwards: Turabian, chapters on footnotes, bibliography, and documentation systems;  Marius (if possible), A Short Guide to Writing About History), chapters on gathering information, taking notes and writing drafts, and, in recent editions, the chapter on electronic & web-based media.
Historians, History and Society, and the Historian's Skills; Introduction to the CU Library
Read: Jordanova, 1-26, 172-198.
Bring In: At least one question you want answered with regard to the CU Library.
Bibliography of Primary Sources at CU Library
Different Types of History; History and Other Disciplines
Debating Point: Changes in the field of History since 1950 have benefited it.
Read: Jordanova, 27-90.
Turn In: Preliminary Paper Topic With a Source-Specific Focus
Source Reliability; Introducing the Issues of Comparative History
Debating Points: Sources can be used to determine what happened in the past; Comparative History is not for historians
Read: Jordanova, 91-113; Comparison and History, 1-69.
Bring In: A source interpretation problem from your project for the class to consider.

Periodization in History; Comparison and Specific Histories 1
Debating Points: Periodization in history is necessary and vital; Comparative Women's History is possible.
Read: Jordanova, 114-140; Comparison and History, 71-132.
Turn In: Research Plan
The Critical Book Review; Comparison and Specific Histories 2

Read: Comparison and History, 133-176.
Common Infelicities in Writing; The Historiographic Essay; Bibiliography and Footnoting Read: Turabian, chapters on footnotes and bibliography; Review (if possible): Marius, A Short Guide to Writing About History, chapter documenting your sources.
Turn In: Critical Book Review
No Regular Class Held
Writing Day
The Research Process in Midstream
Turn In: Historiographic Essay
Bring In: A specific research issue from your project to discuss
No Class This Week, Spring Break. Have a Great Break!!!
The Peer Review Process

Turn In: Research Paper Draft, must be 11-12 pages in length, to Peer Reviewer

Pick Up: Peer-Reviewed Draft
Discuss: Drafts
No Regular Class Held Individual Conferences with the Instructor
4-13 Final Checklist Turn In: Full-Length Draft of Research Paper
Attendance Mandatory; a 20-point reduction from your Research Paper will be assessed for non-attendance. Take: Assessment Examination #1 and Assessment Examination #2
Pick Up: Commented Full-Length Draft of Paper.
Attendance Mandatory; a 20-point reduction from your Research Paper will be assessed for non-attendance. Present: Research Paper Results
No Class Held
Turn In: Final Draft of Research Paper with all commented drafts Attached at 5 p.m.; n.b. Submissions lacking one of the commented drafts will not be accepted.

N.B. The Web Syllabus is the Syllabus of Record and the Syllabus is Subject to Change if I Deem this Necessary.
Back to the Courses Page