Richard R Johnson
HSTAA 501 is the first part of a three-quarter sequence (501-521-522) designed to give entering students and those preparing for field and divisional examinations in American history a comprehensive introduction to the principal writings and interpretations of North American history from the period of the European/African colonization to the present day. It also seeks to train students in the arts and habits of critical thought and expression. 501 takes students as far as the ratification of the Federal Constitution of 1787; it combines class discussion of common readings that illuminate central themes and methodologies with individual written and oral reports on particular monographs and primary sources selected by the student.
Student learning goals
See course description and coverage
General method of instruction
Analysis and discussion, presentation of reports
A commitment to attend all class meetings, along with the time and capacity to "read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest" at least three to four hundred pages of material each week. A willingness to deploy and sharpen skills of writing and oral discussion, and to exercise a keen critical intelligence capable of sharing insights and debating issues with other class members.
Class assignments and grading
Two two-hour seminar-format meetings each week, combining class discussion of common readings with individual student reports, oral or written, on monographs or source material chosen by the student. Five oral and five written reports, along with the expectation of active participation in class discussions. Each written assignment is graded and counted equally; class participation is also a factor in determining the final grade.