History 4793 - Spring 2012
Senior Seminar

Room: South Shepler Tower 623                               Section 23935: TTh 12:30-1:45 p.m.

Instructor: Doug Catterall

Office: 634 South Shepler

Office Hours: TTh, 11A-12P, 3:30-4:30P; W, 9A-12P, 2-3:15P; F 8:30-10:15A

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 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 have approached the history of the city by discussing the approaches of four historians to this general topic and the debates historians have had on particular historical issues concerning this topic (historiography); the techniques historians use to write and research the history of cities with particular focus on how to adapt those techniques to exploring the history of Oklahoma City; and some of the guiding principles that drive their research.  At the same time, each of you will seek out a topic on the history of Oklahoma City that you find interesting, and for which you are able to locate primary and secondary sources 1) online; 2) at the Oklahoma Historical Society; and/or 3) at the Cameron University Library.  You will then explore those materials thoroughly in our on-campus class meetings, at the Oklahoma Historical Society on January 27th, February 10th, and February 24th; and on your own.  Out of these two activities will emerge the following pieces of work: 1) a research proposal; 2) a research guide tailored to your topic, to include field reports and a thorough body of notes based on your visits to the Oklahoma Historical Society that will form the basis for your research project and on which you will be graded; and 3) the early stagesof the literature discussion for your research paper.  In the second stage of the course you will focus on writing up your 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 at the end of term in a YouTube video and discuss your findings during the final examination period designated for the course.  All of your work will and must be done within one thematic area: the History of Oklahoma City.  And all research projects must address phenomena no more recent than 1990 and none can use the methodologies of oral history (i.e. no interviews) due to the legal and thus procedural complications entailed when using human subjects in research.

Specific Objectives:

This course will emphasize the following three Student Learning Objectives:

II. Source Analysis
Graduates will demonstrate the ability to analyze historical texts for meaning

III. Expository Argumentation
Graduates will demonstrate the ability to construct and defend a sustained and coherent argument based on both primary and secondary sources.

IV. Synthetic Writing
Graduates will demonstrate the ability to identify, organize, and assess conflicting interpretations and views of past events and issues with the historical profession.

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.

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



Paul E. Johnson, A Shopkeeper's Millennium: Society and Revivals in Rochester, New York, 1815-1837 (New York: Hill and Wang, 2004); ISBN: 978-0-8090-1635-8

Alex Karmel, A Corner in the Marais: Memoir of a Paris Neighborhood (Jaffrey, NH: David R. Godine, Publisher, 2002); ISBN: 978-1-56792-198-4

Becky M. Nicolaides, My Blue Heaven: Life and Politics in the Working-Class Suburbs of Los Angeles, 1920-1965 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002); ISBN: 987-0-226-58301-3

William D. Welge, Images of America: Oklahoma City Rediscovered (Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2007); ISBN: 978-0-7385-5149-4

Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, revised by  Gregory G. Colomb and Joseph M. Williams (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2007).

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


Participation (250 points)

Research Preparation Assignments (120 points): There will be 8 short assignments to help prepare you for the archives and to prepare you to write the early sections of your Research Paper.  You can earn up to 15 points per RPA.

Field Reports(105 points): After each visit to the Oklahoma Historical Society (visits are scheduled for January 27th, February 10th, and February 24th) you will need to turn in a 2-page analytical account of what you found and how it applies to your project along with a copy of any rough notes that you took.  You can earn up to 35 points for each Field Report.

YouTube Research Presentation, due 4.26 (25 points) and Class Conference, 5.3, 12:30-2:30 P.M. (25 points): Each of you will need to submit a ten-minute YouTube presentation of the results of your work in week sixteen.  You can access guidelines via the associated hyperlink for this section.

Credit for Participation: A perfect score in participation is 250 points, meaning that a mimium of 225 points are required for an A, at least 200 points for a B, a least 175 points for a C, and a minimum of 150 points for a D.

Papers and Other Formal Assignments and Requirements (500 points):

Paper Topic, Due by 1.24 (50 points): In order to turn in a research plan it is also mandatory that you turn in a preliminary research topic 1 full typewritten page.  It is also mandatory that you turn this in on time on pain of a 35-point deduction from your research paper (i.e. Senior Thesis) mark in addition to the 10% penalty on the assignment itself that will also be incurred and it is also mandatory that I approve of the topic.  Further details on how to write up your topic may be accessed via the hyperlink for this section.

Peer Critique, 3.27, in-class (50 points): You can receive up to 50 points for a proper, in-class peer critique of a classmate's work that you must perform on March 27th.

Online Assessment Examinations (50 points): You are required to take two assessment examinations (Assessment Examination 1 between April 10th and April 16th and Assessment Examination 2 between April 17th and April 23rd) online through the class Blackboard module.  Failure to take any one examination will mean an automatic 1-grade deduction on the final mark for your Research Paper.  Failure to take both will mean a 2-grade reduction from the Research Paper mark.

Research Paper (350 points): Draft 1, due 3.15 (60 points); Draft 2, due 4.10 (25 points); Final Draft, due 5.3 @ 12:30 p.m.  (265 points):
Must be 20 pages in length and engage with at least 16 different sources, 8 of which must be primary sources (with 3 significant primary sources, each at least 20 printed pages in length or equivalent) and 8 of which must be secondary sources.  A specific breakdown of the various sections of the paper can be accessed via the hyperlink for this syllabus section and you are expected to adhere to it.  You must receive approval from me for your paper topic and no paper topics covering a subject that is post-1990 will be accepted and no oral history projects will be permissible.  The project must have a standard critical apparatus: that is footnotes 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 or A Short Guide to Writing About History or The Chicago Manual of Style.  The research paper is worth one-half of the course mark in the course.  In addition, there is a mandatory drafting process for the research paper.  For the first draft you will receive up to 60 points for writing at least 14 full, double-spaced, typed pages, with a 4-point deduction for each page that is short of this minimum.  For the second draft you will receive up to 25 points for writing at least 6 additional full, double-spaced, typed pages, with a 4-point deduction for each page that is short of this minimum (for a total of least 20 pages).

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 Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations or A Short Guide to Writing About History or The Chicago Manual of Style 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
Paper Topic
Peer Critique
Assessment Examinations
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.  PLEASE NOTE: I WILL NOT DISCUSS MARKS WITH STUDENTS ONCE REGULAR CLASSES HAVE ENDED UNTIL GRADES HAVE BEEN SUBMITTED.

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 as you will not be prepared to undertake the work in the class.

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.

E-mail: Communication will often occur via e-mail, which I will send you through Blackboard.  Since Blackboard uses your Cameron University e-mail account, this means that you must check your Cameron University e-mail account to participate in this course.  If you don't know how to access your CU e-mail account, please see the common syllabus attachment or the intructions below. If these instructions there are insufficient, I will be happy to help you with all this if need be. But remember, I will assume that you know how to access and use your e-mail and if you do not make use of your CU e-mail account you will certainly miss out on some crucial information this term and it will be more difficult to do well.

For those not aware of the basics of accessing student e-mail please read the following: "Student email accounts and other services may be found at http://studentmail.cameron.edu The User Name Construction link provides information about user names and passwords. Students should check their Cameron email regularly regardless of whether or not they have other email accounts. A student who wishes to be contacted at an address other than Cameron email should be sure to keep a current preferred address on record in MyCU."

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 or final drafts of insufficient length will result in a deduction of 10% from the paper's final mark for each such infraction and will not be marked once the deadline for the submission of a subsequent draft has passed.  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.  While this policy is explicitly stated for the research paper it also applies to the book review, the research plan, and the historiographic essay you will write.

Late Writings Counted for Participation Credit: No late writings for participation credit will be accepted.

Administrative Withdrawal: If your participation or your academic performance in the course indicate that you are likely to fail the course, the instructor may request that you be administratively withdrawn from the course.

Academic Dishonesty: The following statement encapsulates university policy on academic misconduct: "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."  Additional information is provided in the Cameron University Code of Student Conduct at: http://www.cameron.edu/student_development/student_conduct

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 and can and should be consulted 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 policy for academic dishonesty in the CU Code of Student Conduct.  Penalties for plagiarism as defined by the Student Code of Conduct include:

a. The student may be required to perform additional academic work/project not required
of other students in the course;
b. The student may be required to withdraw from the course with a grade of “W” or “F”;
c. 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, Discussion Topics, Assignments, and Activities

Topics and Discussion Themes
Readings, Assignments, and Activities
Read: Oklahoma City Revisited, 6-16; My Blue Heaven, 1-38.
1-12 Foundings: How urban communities arise
Read: A Corner in the Marais, 39-61.
Turn In: RPA1
Cities and Migration
Read: Oklahoma City Revisited, 17-50; My Blue Heaven, 39-64.

Read: Shopkeeper's Millenium, 1-36, esp. 15-36.
Turn In: RPA 2
Houses, Neighborhoods, and their Preservation Turn In: Paper Topic
Read: A Corner in the Marais, 21-37, 61-94; A Shopkeeper's Millennium, 37-61, 142-151.

Read: My Blue Heaven, 65-119; Oklahoma City Revisited, 51-74; Preservation Report on a Neighborhood in OKC.
Turn In: RPA3
Archive Day 1
Meet:At the Department of History & Government @ 8:00 a.m. for 8:30 a.m. departure.
City Politics Old & New
Read: My Blue Heaven, 120-182.
Turn In: Field Report 1
Bring In:
A source interpretation problem from your project for the class to consider.

Read: A Shopkeeper's Millennium, 62-78.
Turn In: RPA4
Labor in the Urban Public Square
Read: A Shopkeeper's Millennium, 79-94; My Blue Heaven, 185-214.

Read: My Blue Heaven, 215-271.
Turn In: RPA 5
Archive Day 2 Meet: At the Department of History & Government @ 8:00 a.m. for 8:30 a.m. departure.
Religion in the Urban Public Square

Read: A Shopkeeper's Millennium, 95-135, 152-161.
Bring In: A specific primary-source research issue from your project to discuss 
Turn In: Field Report 2

Read: A Corner in the Marais, 115-128.
Turn In: RPA 6
Race & Ethnicity in the Urban Public Square
Read: My Blue Heaven, 272-332.

Read: Oklahoma City Revisited, 91-126.
Turn In: RPA 7
Discuss: Incorporating historiography into your research paper: A Corner in the Marais and A Shopkeeper's Millennium.
Archive Day 3
Meet: At the Department of History & Government @ 8:00 a.m. for 8:30 a.m. departure.
The Research Process in Midstream Bring In: A specific primary-source research issue from your project to discuss 
Turn In: Field Report 3
The Research Process in Midstream Turn In: RPA 8
Discuss: Incorporating historiography into your research paper: My Blue Heaven and  Oklahoma City Revisited.
Footnoting: Tools and Tricks of the Trade Review (if possible): Marius, A Short Guide to Writing About History, chapter on documenting your sources.
Bring:  A footnote problem to class and the reference tool that you're using for footnotes and bibliography.

Bibiliography: Tools and Tricks of the Trade
Review (if possible): Marius, A Short Guide to Writing About History, chapter on documenting your sources.
Bring:  A bibliographic problem to class and the reference tool that you're using for footnotes and bibliography.
Individual Pre-Draft Conferences with the Instructor
In-Class Peer Review Day Turn In: Draft 1 of Research Paper, which must be 14 full typewritten, double-spaced pages in length, to Peer Reviewer in class and to Dr. Catterall online
Review: Peer Review Partner's Work
No Class This Week, Spring Break. Have a Great Break!!!
No Class This Week, Spring Break. Have a Great Break!!!

In-Class Peer Review Day

Review: Peer Review Partner's Work
Individual Conferences with the Instructor on First Draft
Source Problems Strategies for Polishing Your Senior Thesis.
Source Problems Strategies for Polishing Your Senior Thesis.
4-10 Final Checklist Turn In: Full-Length Draft of Research Paper
Take Assessment Examination 1 In Class
Footnote & Bibliography Nuances
Individual Conferences with the Instructor on Second Draft Pick Up: Commented Full-Length Draft of Paper.
Take Assessment Examination 2 In Class
No Class Held Take CAAPS Critical-Thinking Test In Class
No Class Held Writing Day
Preparing for the Final Presentations
Post: Youtube Presentation
Final Presentations: 12:30-2:30 p.m.
Turn In: Final Draft of Research Paper by 12:30 p.m.

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