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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Alexandra J Harmon
HSTAA 315
Seattle Campus

Researching Indians' History

Finding and interpreting sources of information about American Indians' history. Offered: jointly with AIS 370.

Class description

Techniques for discovering sources of information regarding the history of American Indians (and, by extension, the history of other people); methods of library and archival research; bases for evaluating and interpreting historical evidence and secondary accounts; selected aspects of Indians' history in the Pacific Northwest.

Student learning goals

Identify the principal sources of information regarding Indians' (and other peoples') history.

Know how to locate and access a variety of evidence and other sources of information regarding Indians' (and other peoples') history.

Understand what is entailed in evaluating the credibility of evidence and secondary accounts regarding historical events.

Be able to pose a question about history and propose an answer by drawing on sources discovered in the course of original research.

Demonstrate knowledge of the history of American Indians in the Pacific Northwest (selected aspects).

Put new research skills to use in addressing questions that arise in other university courses or practical life circumstances.

General method of instruction

Weekly research assignments combined with seminar-style class meetings to discuss readings, explain the assignments, visit library divisions or archives, share and interpret the results of students' research, and consider strategies for further research. Occasional exercises that isolate particular skills and enable students to practice them.

Recommended preparation

Previous college-level history and/or American Indian studies coursework are recommended. Also necessary is a personal schedule that will accommodate considerable time in the library and off-campus archives.

Class assignments and grading

Weekly research assignments, each one requiring students to locate, explore, and document their use of a particular kind of historical evidence or information source; one short essay analyzing historical evidence supplied by the instructor; oral presentations of research results; a final essay addressing a question about history formulated by the student in collaboration with the instructor and other students and drawing on primary as well as secondary sources located by the student.

Each assigned task -- documentation of each weekly research effort, participation in each class session, the first essay, the final oral presentation, and the final written presentation of research -- has a maximum point value. A student's total points for the quarter determines his/her course grade.


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 Alexandra J Harmon
Date: 01/26/2010