Richard R Johnson
Introduction to the discipline of history for new or prospective majors. Emphasizes the basic skills of reading, analysis, and communication (both verbal and written) that are central to the historian's craft. Each seminar discusses a different subject or problem.
The American Revolution: Causes, Nature, Consequences
HIST 388 is designed as an intensive introduction to the study of history for students who have recently declared their intent to be history majors. Students will receive a training in several of the basic techniques of historical analysis. Among these will be the assessment and use of source materials; an understanding of how historians work by means of reading and discussing a selection of assigned readings and the writing of a comparative book analysis; and the opportunity for students to plan, research, and write their own historical essays, all in close collaboration with the teacher and other students in a seminar-style class. It is expected that the skills of research and of oral and written analysis that are fostered by the class will contribute significantly to the students' subsequent success as history majors. In addition, students will be expected to consider and plan their future course of study as history majors. Each 388 centers on a different historical problem: this one focuses on the causes,nature and consequences of the American Revolution. Among the topics covered will be the role of print culture in the coming of the Revolution, the nature of the Revolutionary war, its political settlements, and the costs and consequences the Revolution of differing groups within American society.
Student learning goals
See description of course coverage and its various learning goals outlined above
General method of instruction
Twice-weekly seminar-style meetings: discussion of assigned readings; occasional student presentations
Some knowledge of early American history would be useful but is not a prerequisite. More important is a desire to learn the skills of being an historian, and a readiness to attend every class and to commit to at least twelve hours of study a week outside class in preparation for the class and its assignments.
Class assignments and grading
The class will consist of two seminar-style 90 minute meetings a week: it will involve discussion of the assigned readings and student presentations. Assignments will consist of a commitment to regular attendance in class, digesting substantial weekly readings in primary and secondary sources, and the preparation of three mid-sized (4-6 page) papers (a comparative book review, an analysis of a revolutionary war memoir, and a short individual research project) plus several one-page papers and oral reports. The course is a W-course, with a consequent emphasis upon writing assignments and developing oral and writing skills. Books likely to be required for the course: Morgan, Stamp Act Crisis; Gross, Minutemen and their World; Countryman, The American Revolution; Benjamin, Student's Guide to History; substantial Readings Package of primary and secondary sources
75% divided among papers and reports, remainder for in-class work, discussion and reports. A studentís work will be judged according to the strength, clarity, and concision of its arguments, its capacity to employ and analyze the appropriate course materials, and the relevance of its response to its chosen topic.