Robert T Mckenzie
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 goal of HIST 388 is to introduce new majors to the discipline of history. It is designed to be a thoroughly practical course that will train you in the methodology of history at the time when it will do you the most good, i.e., at the beginning of your history program. Boiled down to its essence, our goal will be to learn what history is and how historians think and work. To make our discussions more coherent and concrete, most of the course readings and all of the writing assignments will focus on a particularly crucial and fascinating era in U.S. history, the period immediately preceding and during the American Civil War.
Student learning goals
To learn how to think critically about primary historical sources
To learn how to think critically about secondary historical sources, i.e., books and articles written by historians
To learn how to develop your own historical interpretations grounded in primary evidence
To understand better how to communicate historical arguments effectively
In sum, to master the basic skills essential to flourishing as a history major.
General method of instruction
Class meetings will combine brief lectures will extended small-group discussion.
There are no prerequisites. Class members are expected to be history majors who have recently been admitted to the major.
Class assignments and grading
Grades will be assigned on the basis of four short essays and contribution to discussion.
Grades will be based on four essays (ranging in length from 3-7 pages) and extensive weekly discussion. Papers: 70%; Class discussion: 30%