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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Stephanie E Smallwood
HIST 388
Seattle Campus

Colloquium: Introduction to History

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.

Class description

Historicizing "Freedom"

In this junior seminar for History majors we will trace the historical evolution of ideas and understandings of "freedom" in American political history, beginning with early modern western Europe and continuing through American colonization and the revolutions that produced the United States and Haiti as independent nations. Through careful reading and analysis of primary and secondary sources, we will explore how and why "freedom" emerged as a key tenet of political philosophy in early modern Europe generally and in early modern England in particular; how ideas about "freedom" shaped and were shaped by English colonization in North America; how "freedom" and "slavery" evolved as mutually-constituted practices in the colonial American context; and the divergent histories of "freedom" produced by the American and Haitian Revolutions.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

The course meets once per week for two hours. As this is a seminar, classroom time will be occupied with student analysis and discussion of questions/themes drawn from the assigned reading. Regular attendance and active participation is thus absolutely necessary. Students should expect to submit discussion questions prior to class meetings; readings will average 100-200 pages per week.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Assignments will be outlined in detail in the course syllabus, available at the first class meeting.

There will be no midterm or final exam; students will be evaluated on the quality and depth of their participation and engagement in weekly discussions, weekly writing assignments, and completion of a 10-15pp. final paper. This is a "W" course.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Stephanie E Smallwood
Date: 10/08/2012