Friday, January 30, 2015

Syllabus for U.S. History Through the Civil War (Kerry)

If you peruse my syllabus for this semester (included after the jump), you'll see that I am experimenting with a few new techniques, as well as preserving some old standbys.  Last semester I banned student tech devices in the classroom and I liked the results, so I am doing that again, except on History Lab days.  Of course, the History Labs themselves are new, and we'll have several posts later that focus on these.  I kept the policy of assigning a primary source for every class period, which I have been doing for several years.

In the future, I would like to explore a less expensive textbook.  The Roark was inexpensive (at least relatively so) when I started using it, but there have been multiple editions since then, raising used prices, and I would also like a more engaging text.  Suggestions are welcome.

U.S. History to the Civil War

Spring 2015, HI 111
1:00-2:15pm, HC 303

Instructor: Dr. Kerry Wynn                                                               Office: Henderson 311E
Email:                                                    Office phone: 670-2062         
Office hours: Tuesday/Thursday, 10:30-12:00 (and by appointment)

Course Description:

This course provides an introduction to the history of the United States from the Colonial Era to Reconstruction (roughly 1500-1865).  Over the course of the semester, we will travel from the meeting of separate cultures on the North American continent to the reunion of Northern and Southern states after the Civil War.  We will examine the people and circumstances that created the United States, and we will discuss the possibilities and limitations of the American nation.  We will cover an extended period of time, in which immense changes occurred on the North American continent.  By 1865, the landscape, peoples, and governments of the Americas had been changed by centuries of inter-cultural human interaction.  The United States had become an independent nation, with an innovative form of government.  Exploration, colonization, and warfare pushed the boundaries of the United States to the north, south, and west.  The economic base of the colonies and then the nation shifted with the establishment and abolition of systems of slavery, the growth of a “free labor” movement, and the beginnings of industrialization. 

We will examine all of the changes mentioned above, and more, as the semester progresses.  As we do, the assignments you complete and the discussions we will have will fulfill the goals of general education: to develop a broad understanding of human experience, provide a foundational base of knowledge, and teach students critical and creative thinking skills.  By the end of the semester, you should have a better understanding of the multiple, complex traditions that came together (and often clashed) on this continent.  You should be familiar with ways that the common, everyday actions of individuals are important to the grand narrative of history.  Finally, you should be able to interpret and use historical sources to analyze the history of the United States.

Course Objectives:

By the end of the semester, you should be able to
·      Explain political, social, and economic trends in American History from the colonial era to the end of the Civil War
·      Analyze primary sources (materials produced during the time period we are studying) and secondary sources (materials produced at a later time about a historical event) for content and point of view
·      Construct effective arguments that pinpoint the causes and effects of important events in U.S. history

Required Reading:

·      Roark, et al.  The American Promise: A Compact History (volume I), Fourth Edition.  New York: Bedford/St. Martins, 2010.
·      Throughout the semester, you will be required to read primary sources, which will be available through the course website.  These are listed on the syllabus below.  Additions or substitutions will be announced in class.

Course Requirements:

Success in this course requires completing all of its components: attending lectures, reading text assignments by the dates specified, participating in class discussions, and completing tests, in-class and take-home writing assignments, and essays.  Students in this course will take 3 short answer/essay exams, participate in 5 history labs, and write one essay (3-5 pages). More details regarding the exams, history labs, and essays will be given in class.  Students will also be graded on their attendance and participation in class discussions and debates, as well as the completion of a few assignments to be completed outside of class. 

Grade Distribution:

Exam 1 (February 26)................................................ 15%
Exam 2 (April 9)........................................................ 15%
Final Exam (May 11)................................................. 20%
History Labs.............................................................. 25%
Essay (April 24)........................................................ 15%
Attendance and Participation.................................... 10%

Cell Phone and Computer Policy:

The use of cell phones and other computing technology is prohibited in normal class sessions (that includes texting, smart phones, and computers).  Recent studies have indicated that students retain more information and do better in courses if they do not use personal technology during class, even to take notes.  Phones are particularly problematic, and if I see you using a phone during the class, you will lose all of your attendance and participation credits for that day. 

There are two exceptions to the no-tech rule.

  1. You may use a tablet/computer to access course materials from the website when we are discussing those materials in class.
  2. On History Lab days, you may bring a computer or tablet to class in order to access the sources for the lab.  You are welcome to bring print copies of the documents we will use instead, and I will attempt to bring extra tablets for those who want to use a tablet but did not bring their own.

HI 111 as a General Education course:

This course fulfills Washburn's general education requirement in two ways.  First, "U.S. History to the Civil War" meets the social science general education distribution requirement.  The goal of general education (as expressed in the Washburn University Academic Catalog) is as follows: “The General Education component of higher education specifically focuses on introducing students to ways of knowing, integrative knowledge, appreciation of historical context, common themes of human experience, social responsibility, analytical reasoning, civic engagement, and the development of practical skills and reflective habits of mind. The General Education requirements at Washburn University are designed with the intent of providing students with a grounding in liberal arts and sciences and shaping an informed, capable citizenry through a broad education in a range of disciplines. These courses ensure that students are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to engage with our rapidly-changing world over their lifetimes.”

Second, "U.S. History to the Civil War" focuses on one of the Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) the General Education curriculum is expected to deliver.  The learning outcome we assess as part of General Education for this course is Critical and Creative Thinking.  Here is the description of this SLO in the Washburn University Academic Catalog: "Critical and Creative Thinking. Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of assessing and evaluating ideas and forms. It involves clarifying questions, reflecting upon meaning, comparing multiple viewpoints, and evaluating evidence to make an informed judgment. Creative thinking involves the production of original ideas, forms or works by making connections, generating alternatives, and elaborating or exploring new applications of accepted practices through innovation and/or invention. Critical and creative thinkers gather information from experience, observation, reasoning, reflection and communication. They explore and synthesize related ideas, connect them to prior knowledge, and apply them to new contexts."  Every assignment included in this course, all exams, essays, and discussions, are intended to improve students' critical and creative thinking skills.

Each semester, professors in the History Department assess our progress in teaching this learning outcome in each class by answering the questions in the rubric available on the course website.  This is something that I do in order to provide information to the administration of this University and the institutions that regulate our standards.  You do not need to complete the questions on this rubric.  It is available for your general information.

Class Schedule:

January 20-22           Introduction; America and the World in 1492
                                    Roark, Chapter 1
·      Thursday: Chekili, “Origin of the Creek Confederacy”

January 27-29           Empires and Global Trade
                                    Roark, Chapter 2
·      Tuesday: Bartolome de las Casas, Preface, The Destruction of the Indies
·      **Thursday: History Lab 1 (assigned readings available on D2L)**

February 3-5              Founding Chesapeake Bay and the Southern British Colonies
                                    Roark, Chapter 3
·      Tuesday: Jamestown Interactive (website from National Geographic)
·      Thursday: Richard Frethorne, “Our Plantation is Very Weak,” and George Alsop, “They Live Well in the Time of their Service”

February 10-12          Founding Massachusetts Bay and the Northern British Colonies
                                    Roark, Chapter 4
·      Tuesday: Edward Johnson, “Thus This Poore People Populate this Howling Desart”
·      Thursday: Metacom, “Metacom Relates Indian Complaints about English Settlers”

February 17-19          Colonial Development in the Eighteenth Century
                                    Roark, Chapter 5
·      **Tuesday: History Lab 2 (assigned readings available on D2L)**
·      Thursday: Benjamin Franklin, “The Speech of Miss Polly Baker”

February 24               Imperial Conflict, Colonial Resistance
                                    Roark, Chapter 6
·      Thursday: French North American Baptismal Register
February 26               **EXAM 1**

March 3-5                  Reform and Revolution
                                    Roark, Chapter 7
·      Tuesday: James Otis, “The Rights of the British Colonies, Asserted and Proved”
·      Thursday: Brutus, “We Are All Equally Free”

March 10-12              Forging a Nation
                                    Roark, Chapter 8

·      Tuesday: **History Lab 3 (assigned readings available on D2L)**
·      Thursday: The Constitution

March 17-19              Spring Break

March 24-26              Politics and Nationalism in the Early Republic
Roark, Chapter 9 and Chapter 10 (to “Women’s Status in the Early Republic”—p. 239)
·      Tuesday: Thomas Cooper, Editorial, Sunbury and Northumberland Gazette
·      Thursday: Lewis and Clark Expedition Materials

March 31-Apr 2         American Communities and Institutions
Roark, Chapter 10 (from “Women’s Status in the Early Republic”—p. 239) and Chapter 11 (to “Cultural Shifts, Religion and Reform”—p. 264)
·      Tuesday: Harriet Robinson, “Lowell Mill Girls” and illustrations
·      Thursday: Letters from Gottfried Duden and John Doyle
April 7                        Economic Revolution/Social Reform
                                    Roark, Chapter 11 (p. 264 to end)
·      Tuesday: Charles Finney, Sermon

April 9                        **EXAM 2**

April 14-16                 The Transformation of America
                                    Roark, Chapter 12
·      **Tuesday: History Lab 4 (assigned readings available on D2L)**
·      Thursday: Henry David Thoreau, On Civil Disobedience (excerpts)

April 21-23                 Slavery and Abolition in the Antebellum Era
                                    Roark, Chapter 13
·      Tuesday: Excerpts from narratives of former slaves
·      Thursday: Free Soil Party Platform

April 24 (Friday)     Essay due to D2L

April 28-30                 The Conflict Escalates
                                    Roark, Chapter 14
·      Tuesday: William Seward to Henry Hopkins, 16 September 1839
·      **Thursday: History Lab 5 (assigned readings available on D2L)**

May 5-7                      The Civil War
                                    Roark, Chapter 15
·      Tuesday: South Carolina ordinance of secession
·      Thursday: First-person accounts of the Civil War

May 11                       **Final Exam Scheduled (Under unusual circumstances, exam times       
1:30 pm                      may change.  I will announce any changes in class, so be sure to                                                       confirm this time as December approaches.)**

**Dates and readings may be altered slightly during the semester.  Announcements of changes will be made in class.

No comments:

Post a Comment