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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Sarah A. Stein
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

HIST 388 seminars are designed as intensive introductions to the study of history for students who have recently declared their intent to be history majors. Students will receive 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 opportunity for students to plan, research, and created detailed historical prospectuses, 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.

Each HIST 388 seminar centers on a different historical problem: this one focuses on the creation and culture of the Sephardic Diaspora, a trans-national Jewish community, over four centuries and various empires, nation-states, and oceans. The class begins with the creation of the Sephardim as a distinct sub-ethnic Jewish group in the wake of the expulsions from Spain and Portugal in the fifteenth century. We will then follow the path of the Sephardim as they moved to the Dutch and Ottoman Empires, to Western Europe, Africa, and the Americas, culminating our study by attending to the Sephardic community of Seattle.

Student learning goals

Read and analyze secondary historical sources

Read and analyze primary historical sources

Shape an original bibliography and thesis

Develop a historical argument

Hone historical writing skills

General method of instruction

Seminar discussion, informal lectures.

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites.

Class assignments and grading

Weekly reading responses, 2 short papers, one final research paper outline with annotated bibliography.

The following figures are approximate: Participation in discussion 15% Reading preparation 15% Short paper 1 20% Short paper 2 20% Research prospectus 30%


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.
Additional Information
Last Update by Sarah A. Stein
Date: 10/08/2007