Monday, February 2, 2015

Syllabus for U.S. History Since the Civil War (Erby)

Once again, I’ve avoided assigning a textbook this semester. I constantly wrestle with whether this is a good or bad thing. I tell my students that history is all about interpretation and debate. I feel like textbooks contradict this by providing an overly-neat, packaged narrative that elides questioning. And, as Kerry points out, they’re so expensive. Plus, I’d prefer students spend what I know is a limited amount of time they have available for reading with sources that are more interesting than a textbook. On the other hand, without a textbook, they are entirely dependent on me for the narrative I know they are all hungry for. Not to mention there are some really good textbooks out there ( I, too, like Roark, as well as Foner, and the new Hewitt & Lawson text from Bedford). This semester, I directed them to an open-access text on the web as an optional reading. One of my intentions is to have them assess this text’s coverage of certain events or periods we will have covered in particular depth using mostly primary sources, but I’m already not sure we’ll have the time for that. I’ve actually assigned zero books this semester. This is not altogether out of character of me. In my survey-level classes, I tend to favor using a variety of short, digitized sources that represent a variety of viewpoints. But I do usually assign at least one book. This semester I’ve gone for a novella available online (Abraham Cahan’s Yekel) but I worry that having students read a book online is not at all the same as having them read an ACTUAL book. Finally, if anyone is familiar with my usual syllabi, which list the topics to be covered every. single. class. period., you’ll notice that this one is far less detailed. That’s because I honestly don’t know yet what topics we're going to examine. I'm trying to be flexible and remain willing to sacrifice some content for depth and active-learning strategies.

Dr. Kelly Erby                                                                        History 112 B/C
Spring 2015                                                                 MWF 9-9:50 & 10-10:50 AM
Office: Henderson 311-0                                            Email:
Office Hours: M 12:30-2:30 PM                               Phone: 785-670-2018and by appointment

U.S. History Since the Civil War

This class examines both major developments and everyday moments in U.S. history beginning with the period known as Reconstruction and continuing through the turn of the twentieth century, World Wars I and II, the Civil Rights Movement, and Vietnam. We will explore a wide variety of perspectives that encompass the political, economic, social, and cultural diversity of the American past. Lectures, readings, discussions, exams, films, and assignments seek to bring out and sharpen critical thinking about past and present American society.

 Course Objectives
This course seeks to:
1.     Introduce students to significant events, figures, analytical themes, and key debates in American history since the Civil War
2.     Introduce students to the differences between primary and secondary sources in history and engage students in locating and evaluating these sources
3.     Develop students’ critical and creative thinking skills, including their ability to integrate material in support of analysis, determine the meaning of historical sources, and compare multiple viewpoints in formulating historical questions and arguments
4.     Develop students’ ability to write clearly and analytically

General-Education Aim
This class counts toward general-education requirements for Social Sciences. Here is how the Washburn University catalog defines the aims of general education: “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.” General education thus provides the broad platform of learning and reasoning methods, upon which any particular disciplinary major can then be constructed.
For each course designated as fulfilling general-education requirements, we define one Student Learning Outcome (SLO). For HI 111, and all of the history department’s U.S. history surveys, the chosen SLO is Critical and Creative Thinking, which the University defines as follows:  “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.” You will notice that the course description and objectives above align closely with the SLO.
How do we assess whether a student has accomplished these general-education aims? History department faculty assess the accomplishment of this SLO through a pre- and post-test model, examining student written work near the beginning and again near the end of each semester; ideally, you should all be doing better at the end than at the start. For those curious about the assessment process, the rubric we employ is attached at the end of the syllabus. You will notice that the first three points on the rubric cover the SLO, and the others assess the course’s historical content.

Course Requirements
  1. Class Attendance and Participation (10%): Class sessions will be a mixture of lecture, discussion, and activities. Class attendance and thoughtful participation in class discussion and group work are both mandatory. Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class and absences will negatively affect your grade. Tardiness will similarly lead to a decrease in your grade. Periodic in-class assignments and quizzes will also factor into this grade. Class participation will be evaluated according to the following criteria:
A: Comes to class prepared on a regular basis, contributes thoughtfully in
ways that advance discussion.
B: Usually prepared, misses fewer than 20% of classes, contributes often in ways that advance class discussion.
C: Attentive and possibly prepared but contributes infrequently. Absent for a quarter or more of class meetings.
D-F: Clearly unprepared, contributes rarely or not at all. Absent for half or more of class meetings.
  1. Exams (45%): There will be three exams during the semester. Each will be worth 15% of your grade. More details on each exam will be forthcoming.
  2. In-class “History Lab” Assignments (30%): There will be 5 of these assignments throughout the semester that will require you to work in a group to solve or explore a specific historical problem using primary sources. Unless you have a legitimate, documented excuse, history labs cannot be made up.
  3. Critical Analysis Essay (15%): There will be an individual paper assignment associated with History Lab 4. Formal guidelines for this assignment will be distributed in class.

Class Policies
-       There is a D2L site for this course. All registered students should be automatically assigned to it. It is absolutely necessary that you have regular access to this site. The majority of your readings are available there, in addition to other important class documents. I will also regularly post grades to D2L.
-       10% from the final grade will be deducted from assignments not turned in at the beginning of the class period on which they are due. An assignment will continue to lose 10% for every day thereafter it is late. For example, if you earn an A on an assignment but turn it in one day late, you will receive a B as your grade. Weekends count as one day. Makeup work (including in-class assignments) not turned in due to legitimate absences or emergencies (documented illness, death in the family, etc.) will be handled on an individual basis. It is up to you to contact me in such situations. Please be advised that travel plans do not constitute a “legitimate” absence. In addition, exams cannot be made up except under very special, properly documented circumstances.
-       I cannot accept emailed assignments except under very special (and previously approved) circumstances.
-       Tardiness will negatively affect your grade.
-       I do not allow electronic devices in class except when they are being used as part of a history lab activity. Please silence your phone and put it away at the beginning of the class meeting for the duration of the meeting. This is a matter of courtesy and respect for me and for the classroom setting. I will deduct a point from your final grade each time I see you using your phone during class time. I’m serious. I also reserve the right to ask students with a habitual texting “problem” to leave the classroom.
-        If you must miss class for athletics or other University activities, please notify me in advance.
-       Finally, never hesitate to come see me during the semester! I am always more than happy to help students who need extra assistance on an assignment, or who would like to work harder on their writing or discuss further a topic we’ve covered in class.

On Writing
I encourage you to seek out assistance with your writing and ways to improve it. I have posted some guidelines (including a the rubric I use for grading essays) on D2L (in the folder called “Writing, Reading, and Note-taking Resources.”) You are always welcome to come and talk to me about your writing. There are also free writing tutoring services available at Mabee Library that I urge you to take advantage of. 

Mission of the University:
Washburn University enriches the lives of students by providing opportunities for them to develop and to realize their intellectual, academic, and professional potential, leading to becoming productive and responsible citizens. We are committed to excellence in teaching, scholarly work, quality academic and professional programs, and high levels of faculty-student interaction. We develop and engage in relationships to enhance educational experiences and our community.  Washburn University Board of Regents, 2010
Definition of a Credit Hour:
For every credit hour awarded for an undergraduate course, the student is typically expected to complete approximately one hour of classroom instruction, online interaction with course material, or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two additional hours of student work each week for approximately 15 weeks for one semester or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time. 
Safe Educational Environment:
Washburn University is committed to providing an environment for individuals to pursue educational and employment opportunities free from discrimination and/or harassment.  The University prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, age, national origin, ancestry, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, or marital or parental status.  Each unit within the University is charged with conducting its programs and activities in accordance with the University commitment to equal opportunity for all.  If you experience behavior you believe is discriminatory or harassing, contact Dr. Pamela Foster, Equal Opportunity Director at 785-670-1509 or by email at
Academic Misconduct Policy:
All students are expected to conduct themselves appropriately and ethically in their academic work.  Inappropriate and unethical behavior includes (but is not limited to) giving or receiving unauthorized aid on examinations or in the preparation of papers or other assignments, or knowingly misrepresenting the source of academic work.  Washburn University’s Academic Impropriety Policy describes academically unethical behavior in greater detail and explains the actions that may be taken when such behavior occurs.  For guidelines regarding protection of copyright, consult For a complete copy of the Academic Impropriety Policy, contact the office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center Suite 200, or go on-line to:
Student Services Center:
The Student Service Center is the place where students can take care of a range of matters related to admissions, financial aid, student records/registration, and student accounts. The "one-stop" concept in Morgan Hall, room 152 incorporates the front office services of the Business Office, Financial Aid and the Registrar in one convenient location. Stop in and visit with a University Service Advisor for assistance or give us call us at (785) 670-2162. You can also email us at
Student Health Services:
Student Health Services (SHS) provides support for students experiencing challenges with learning and adapting to university life.  SHS offers urgent care for illness and injury; sports, school, and travel abroad physicals (including TB testing); well woman exams; STD and pregnancy testing; immunizations/vaccinations; and care of chronic illness.  Services are provided by Board Certified Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) who collaborate with WU Student Counseling Services and physicians in the Topeka area.  More information can be found at
WU Counseling Services
Licensed mental health professionals are available in the Counseling Services’ office for personal, academic, and mental health support.  This is accomplished by providing a variety of counseling services as well as resources and referrals to students.    More information can be found at
Disability Services:
The Student Services Office is responsible for assisting in arranging accommodations and for identifying resources on campus for persons with disabilities.  Qualified students with disabilities must register with the office to be eligible for services.  The office MUST have appropriate documentation on file in order to provide services.  Accommodations may include in-class note takers, test readers and/or scribes, adaptive computer technology, brailled materials.  Requests for accommodations should be submitted at least two months before services should begin; however, if you need an accommodation this semester, please contact the Student Services Office immediately.
Location:  Student Services, Memorial Student Union/Mosiman Room (MOVED effective 1/6/2014)
Phone:  785-670-1629
Students may voluntarily identify themselves to the instructor for a referral to the Student Services Office.
Center for Student Success:

As a Washburn student, you may experience difficulty with issues such as studying, personal problems, time management, or choice of major, classes, or employment.  The Center for Student Success (Office of Academic Advising, University Tutoring and Writing Center, First-Year Experience, and Testing and Assessment) is available to help students either directly through academic advising, mentoring, testing and developing learning strategies or by identifying the appropriate University resource.  If you feel you need someone with whom to discuss an issue confidentially and free of charge, contact the center at 785-670-1942,, or visit Mabee Library, Room 201.
Withdrawal Policy:
During fall and spring semesters, students may go online and withdraw from full semester courses through the second week of class with no recorded grade.  From the third through the eleventh week a “W” is recorded for any dropped course.  After the eleventh week, there are NO withdrawals, and a grade will be assigned for the course. These deadlines will be different for short-term, out-of-sequence, or summer courses.  To view the deadline dates for your courses visit the “Last Day” Deadlines web page at:  Depending on the timing of the request to withdraw from a course, students may be eligible for a full or partial refund. Information regarding tuition refunds is available at  Please note: tuition refund amounts and deadlines are changing effective Fall 2014. In addition, depending on the timing of the request to withdraw from a course, students may be responsible for repaying all or a portion of their financial aid. Students who do not attend their courses and fail to officially withdraw themselves will receive a grade of “F” and may also be required to repay all or a portion of their financial aid based on their non-attendance. For further information, contact the Financial Aid Office at 785.670.1151 or e-mail
Attendance/Administrative Withdrawal:
Although it is the student's responsibility to initiate course withdrawals, an instructor, after due notice to the student, may request withdrawal of the student from a course because of nonattendance through the same date as the last day a student may withdraw from a course. This would NOT absolve the student of financial responsibility for tuition/fees for the course in question.  The inclusion of this information in the course syllabus is considered due notice.
Official E-Mail Address:
Your Washburn University e-mail address will be the official address used by the University for relaying important messages regarding academic and financial information and the University will consider this your official notification for important information.  It may also be used by your instructors to provide specific course information.  If you prefer to use an alternate e-mail address to receive official University notices you can set a forwarding address in the Outlook Web App by following the steps below.
Outlook Web App: Set Forwarding Address
1. Go to
2. Sign in
3. Click the Gear in the upper right
4. Choose Options
5. Select Forward your email from the list on the right
6. In the lower portion of the screen, enter the email address to which you want to forward all your email.
7. Click the start forwarding button 
It is your responsibility to ensure that your official e-mail box does not exceed your message quota resulting in the inability of e-mail messages to be accepted into your mailbox.
Success Week:
Success Week for undergraduate students is designated as the five week days preceding the first day of scheduled final examinations each Fall and Spring semester. Success Week is intended to provide students ample opportunity to prepare for final examinations.  For academic programs, the following guidelines apply:
A. Faculty are encouraged to utilize Success Week as a time for review of course material
in preparation for the final examination. If an examination is to be given during Success Week, it must not be given in the last three days of Success Week unless approved by the Dean or Department Chair. Assignments worth no more than 10% of the final grade and covering no more than one-fourth of assigned reading material in the course may be given.
B. Major course assignments (extensive research papers, projects, etc.) should be due on or before the Friday prior to Success Week and should be assigned early in the semester. Any modifications to assignments should be made in a timely fashion to give students adequate time to complete the assignments.
C. If major course assignments must be given during Success Week, they should be due in
the first three days of Success Week. Exceptions include class presentations by students and semester-long projects such as a project assignment in lieu of a final. Participation and attendance grades are acceptable.
The Success Week policy excludes make-up assignments, make-up tests, take-home final exams, and laboratory examinations. It also does not apply to classes meeting one day a week for more than one hour. All University laboratory classes are exempt from this policy.

Required Texts
For a variety of reasons, I have not assigned a traditional textbook. Instead, we will read a variety of different sources relating to American history and representing multiple viewpoints. The vast majority of these readings are available electronically on D2L.

If you feel a textbook would help you succeed in this course, I recommend this free one available online:

Course Schedule
-       You are expected to come to class having read the assigned material, as indicated in the schedule below. The amount of reading due each class period varies so plan accordingly.
-       Please note that the course schedule is subject to change during the semester depending on class needs and time constraints. I will announce all changes in class and, when necessary, alert you by (official Washburn) email. It is ultimately your responsibility to keep track of all changes.
-       You are REQUIRED to bring copies of all assigned readings with you to class for discussion. It is your responsibility to print those that need printing in time for class.       

Weeks 1-4: The South & West Transformed
Wed. 1/21: Introductions.
Fri. 1/23: Determining the Meaning of Black “Freedom.” Reading: excerpt from Eric
Foner, Forever Free

Mon. 1/26: Healing the Nation. Reading: Alan S. Lichtin, “The Myth of
Secession and States’ Rights in the Civil War”
Wed. 1/28: The Myths of Reconstruction.
Fri. 1/30: Sharecroppers and Railroad Workers. Reading: “Driving the Last Spike of the
Union Pacific”

Mon. 2/2: Redefining Indian Policy. Reading: Collection of documents.
Wed. 2/4: The Native Perspective.
Fri. 2/6: The Native Perspective, con't.

Mon. 2/9: History Lab 1
Wed. 2/11: History Lab 1, con’t.
Fri. 2/13: History Lab 1, con’t.

Weeks 5-6: The Gilded Age & Progressive Era
Mon. 2/16: The Rise of Big Business. Reading: Abraham Cahan, Yekl: A Tale of the New
York Ghetto to p. 20
Wed. 2/18: Immigration & Urbanization. Reading: Abraham Cahan, Yekl: A Tale of the
New York Ghetto to p. 41
Fri. 2/20: The New Industrial Workers. Reading: Abraham Cahan, Yekl: A Tale of the
New York Ghetto to end

Mon. 2/23: The Progressives. Reading: Jacob Riis photographs, How the Other Half
Wed. 2/25: History Lab 2
Fri. 2/27: Exam
 Weeks 7-8: World War I & the Inter-War Period
Mon. 3/2: The War for Democracy. Readings: Wilson’s 14 Points and Arthur Link,
“Wilson and the War for Democracy”
Wed. 3/4: The New Woman. Reading: Vickie Ruiz, “Flappers in the Barrio”
Fri. 3/6: The New Negro. Reading: selections from Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. DuBois

Mon. 3/9: The Great Depression. Reading: Mirra Komarovsky, The Unemployed Man
and his Family
Wed. 3/11: The New Deal. Reading: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “Fireside Chat on the
Purposes and Foundations of the Recovery Program”
Fri. 3/13: History Lab 3

Week 9: Spring Break
3/16-3/20: No class.
Week 10: World War II
Mon. 3/23: World War II & Domestic Policy. Reading: Franklin Roosevelt, “The
Four Freedoms” speech and Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt, “Removal of
Japanese Americans from the West Coast”
Wed. 3/25: Women & the Home Front.
Fri. 3/27: Exam

Weeks 11-12: The Post-War Period
Mon. 3/30: Introduction to the “Cold” War. Reading: Reading: George Kennan, “The
Sources of Soviet Conduct” and Joseph McCarthy’s speech at Wheeling, West
Wed. 4/1: Consensus and Consumerism. Reading: excerpt from Elaine Tyler May,
Homeward Bound
Fri. 4/3: Gender in the Suburbs. Reading: Betty Friedan, The Problem that has No Name

Mon. 4/6: History Lab 4
Wed. 4/8: History Lab 4, con’t
Fri. 4/10: History Lab 4, con’t
Weeks 13-16: Civil Rights and Vietnam
Mon. 4/13: Organizing for Justice.
Wed. 4/15: From Birmingham to Washington D.C. Readings: Ella Baker, “Bigger than a
Hamburger” and watch video footage of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech
Fri. 4/17: The Rise of Rights Consciousness *CRITICAL ANALYSIS ESSAY DUE

Mon 4/27: History Lab 5
Wed. 4/29: History Lab 5, con’t
Fri. 5/1: Introduction to Vietnam. Reading: watch Vietnam news footage

Mon. 5/4: The Anti-War Movement. Reading: collection of student manifestos
Wed. 5/6: A Conservative Backlash.
Fri. 5/8: Coda.

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