History 1302: United States History from 1877
Summer II 2010, MW 5:30-9:30 PM, B247
Our ignorance of history causes us to slander our own times.
Nothing capable of being memorized is history.
Welcome to history! I teach under the belief that college must be an intellectually challenging and stimulating experience. If you commit yourself to working hard, this will also be a tremendously rewarding experience: You will learn much more than history; you will learn skills that will help you in any course because everything begins with history.
This is not a lecture-based course; rather, it is discussion-based. You will be responsible for coming to class prepared to discuss the reading assignments, to read and analyze primary sources, and to watch and discuss relevant films, for example. Students are strongly encouraged to visit with the professor during the course of the semester (and afterward).
Are you ready to begin the adventure of studying and analyzing the past?!
United States History from 1877 is a survey course that explores the cultural, economic, political, and social development of the United States of America beginning with the Gilded Age and Progressive Era to the present day with a focus on imperialism and racism or discrimination. This is not only a survey of the past, but it is also a survey of the ways in which historians do history. Through a close examination of primary and secondary materials relating to social and political minorities, especially African-Americans, Native-Americans, immigrants, and women, the instructor and students will investigate the lives of both ordinary individuals and national leaders. We will focus on the paradoxes of the freedom and opportunity proclaimed to be for everyone. By understanding the past and ways to understand and study the past, students will gain a deeper appreciation for the United States’s ongoing accomplishments and struggles.
There are no prerequisites for this course – except that students must have a skill code of 9 (or college-ready) in both reading and writing.
OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL WARNING/ACADEMIC FREEDOM:
This is a college course and students should know that anything is fair game. The college classroom is a unique place in society where any ideas, opinions, and perspectives are welcomed and should be shared–respectfully. Additionally, college professors have the academic freedom to discuss anything they desire, within the bounds of common decency and good taste, as related to the study of History.
Although frequently ignored or hidden, the history of the United States is a tragic story. A major theme of this course will be to discuss many of these events. The lectures, documents, quotations, images, songs, and videos presented in this course will show graphic scenes, will have strong language, and will frequently provoke VERY strong feelings, as they should. This is history, and in order to teach History accurately, this is necessary. Students should note that the instructor DOES NOT in any way indorse or support the cruelties that are essential to discuss or the violence, language, etc shown in films.
A student’s enrollment in this class acknowledges he/she intends to learn course material. To that extent, certain behaviors that would impede this process will not be permitted. These include, but are not limited to, reading newspapers or books, text-messaging, surfing the web, answering cell phones, talking out of turn, etc. If a student is not sure what is appropriate, he/she should ask. Students are responsible for knowing and following common sense rules of behavior. The instructor is committed to creating and maintaining an open and productive intellectually engaging learning environment. Disruptive students will be instructed to leave the classroom – this is college, warnings will not be issued.
IN-CLASS PARTICIPATION IS STRONGLY ENCOURAGED AND WILL BE REWARDED.
By the end of this semester, successful students will be able to do the following:
- Examine social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods, social structures, and cultures.
- Analyze the effects of historical, social, political, economic, cultural, and global forces on the area under study.
- Comprehend the origins and evolution of U.S. political systems, with a focus on the growth of political institutions, the Constitution of the U.S., federalism, civil liberties, and civil and human rights.
- Identify and understand differences and commonalities within diverse cultures.
By the end of this semester, through both primary and secondary reading assignments, class lectures, videos, discussions, hands-on activities, and writing assignments, students will increase both their written and oral communication abilities and, especially, critical thinking abilities through the study of United States history. Further, students will learn how to contextualize primary sources, including letters, court rulings, memoirs, pictures, paintings, films, and songs, to make their own conclusions about the past.
More than anything else, students should learn the following life-long skills that will assist them in any course: 1) to support opinions and “facts” that are supported by experience and evidence, 2) to be more critically minded when they hear discussions of current and/or past issues because everything has a history, 3) to recognize and discuss multiple perspectives, meanings, or definitions on any given topic, event, or term, 4) to recognize and explain why a gap frequently exist between historical memory, perception, or popular beliefs and the historical reality as supported by evidence, and 5) to explain how that many things society take as a given (e.g., “race” or gender) are actually social and cultural constructs that change and vary according to time and place.
In addition to the books listed below, the instructor will distribute reading assignments for every class. Students are required to read all assigned material. The reading load is NOT designed to be heavy.
As with any lecture or discussion material, any reading material is fair game for the exams, quizzes, or in-class discussions. Students should bring reading handouts and Eyewitness to America to each class.
-David Colbert, Eyewitness to America: 500 Years of American History in the Words of Those Who Saw it Happen
-Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi
Students are required to participate in class discussions, and students are required to submit all written work. There will be NO exceptions to this rule. College instructors expect students to spend at least one-hundred hours outside of class reading, writing, and studying course material. Specifically, for every hour you are in class you need to study for two-to-three hours.
**Please note that each class is about the equivalent to a week and a half in a regular semester.
IF A STUDENT FAILS TO SUBMIT THE MIDTERM EXAM, THE BOOK PROJECT, THE FINAL EXAM, OR THE SEMESTER PROJECT, HE/SHE WILL RECEIVE AN AUTOMATIC “F” FOR THE ENTIRE SEMESTER. ANY STUDENT WHO MISSES TWO OR MORE CLASS SESSIONS WILL RECEIVE AN AUTOMATIC “F” FOR THE ENTIRE SEMESTER. ADDITIONALLY, ANY CHEATING WILL RESULT IN AN “F” FOR THE ENTIRE SEMESTER.
–THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THESE POLICIES!–
The breakdown of the requirements is as follows:
Semester grades will be assigned as follows:
90.0% and above = A
80.0% – 89.9% = B
70.0% – 79.9% = C
60.0% – 69.9% = D
59.0% and below* = F
*Students will also receive an “F” if they do not submit the required work, if they have poor attendance, or if they cheat.
During the first ten minutes of each class, students will be given a quiz. These quizzes may include identification items, short answer questions, essay, and/or objective questions. The instructor will drop ONE of these quiz grades. These questions are not designed to be difficult. Rather, they will greatly help the student in learning the material, placing that material in her/his long-term memory, and excelling on course exams.
Students will complete two exams this semester – a midterm and a final exam. Both of these exams will be in the form of take-home essays. These exams will have short essays, long essays, and ID essays. Since history is the study of change over time, all essays (and lessons, for that matter) will be cumulative. Students will need to consider the historical significance, context, and background—dates are important. Exams must be completed independently – students may not discuss the exam with anyone else. Students may NOT use any sources other than those provided by the instructor or the course texts. More details will be provided in class.
Students will write a brief paper over Coming of Age in Mississippi over a specific theme or question. Students will NOT write a summary of the book. Students may NOT use any sources other than those provided by the instructor or the course texts. More details will be provided in class.
In consultation with the instructor, each student will complete a series of at least four mini-projects this semester using the guidelines on the sheet “Living History Journal.” Students may select any combination of topics that relate to anything since the Civil War. Students will give a presentation at the end of the semester. Submitted projects must include a typed or multimedia summary/reflection on the project with a bibliography, if applicable.
A student’s participation grade will be based on his/her informed contributions to classroom discussions and exercises. Students will participate in graded in-class activities all period, every period.
SPECIAL NOTICE ABOUT ATTENDANCE:
Attendance is mandatory. Students are expected to attend every class, to arrive on time, and to remain the entire period. It is the student’s responsibility to find out what he/she missed in the case of an absence. In college there is no such thing as an “excused absence.”
Students may earn up to five extra credit points over the semester – these points will be applied to the final numerical average. So, if the student has an 86% and earns 4 points, he/she will receive a 90% or an “A”. Students may earn up to five points by doing a short paper (two pages) on film as history, on literature as history using Herland or Brave New World, or by visiting and critiquing a historical site or museum, or for any similar assignment, subject to approval. BEFORE doing any of these, students must speak with the instructor. Any projects are due the last day of regular class.
GUIDELINES FOR WRITTEN WORK:
In-class assignments and other written assignments must be completed in blue or black ink – any other work will not be graded. In-class work must also follow normal guidelines of Standard English – this includes complete sentences. Of course, students are not expected to create polished in-class work.
Out-of-class assignments must be typed with Times New Roman size 12 as the font, with one-inch margins on all four sides, and double-spaced – spelling, grammar, and format count. Use professional/formal English (this means NOT using text-message language, contractions, clichés, or slang, for example).
Any work emailed, must be saved as a .doc, .docx, or .rtf file – otherwise it will receive a zero.
GUIDELINES FOR SUBMITTING WORK:
All out-of-class work is due at the beginning of class. In addition to a hard copy, students must submit an electronic copy to turnitin.com by the beginning of class. To enroll in the turnitin.com course, please follow the following steps:
1) Go to http://www.turnitin.com
2) Click “Create account” at the top
3) Click on “NEW USERS” toward the bottom on the right
4) Under “Create an account” click “student”
5) By “class ID” put 3345306
6) By “class enrollment password” put historyrocks
7) Continue completing the requested information
8) Hit “I agree”
9) Click on “HIST1302, Summer 2010, Brazosport College”
Once receiving graded work back, students should wait 24 hours before asking any questions about the grade. During this time, students should review the feedback and any relevant notes. Grades will only be changed if a mistake was made. Students should have clear and specific questions prepared if they are wondering why a certain grade was assigned to a paper.
LATE WORK POLICY:
THERE WILL BE NO LATE WORK! And there will not be any makeup exams, final essay exams, quizzes, or participation projects – no exceptions, no excuses. This is college – learn to meet deadlines. You are provided a list of major dates for a reason. OUT-OF-CLASS WORK IS DUE AT THE BEGINNING OF CLASS (5:40 PM, ACCORDING TO MY iPHONE, AT VERY LATEST) – NO EXCEPTIONS, NO EXCUSES. You should NOT procrastinate; you SHOULD START EARLY.
VERY IMPORTANT TIPS FOR BEING SUCCESSFUL IN THIS CLASS:
This is not designed to be a difficult course. Students who attend class, take notes, READ and study the required and recommended readings, and who study outside of class should have absolutely no problem making a decent grade in this course. The instructor is available to students for any questions or concerns about the subject material. Improvement does count.
When reading primary sources, students should focus on being able to: 1) describe two or three important points from the document, 2) indicate what the document means, 3) explain why the document is important (i.e., context and significance), 4) state a reaction to the document, 5) quote one sentence (or so) that is especially effective from the document, and 6) explain why the quoted sentence was selected.
When reading secondary sources, students should focus on being able to: 1) discuss the thesis, 2) state the arguments and examples used, and 3) analyze the strengths, weaknesses, and provide an overall opinion of the source.
When studying any historical concept, event, or person, students should focus on being able to discuss the who, what, where, and why-it-is-important of the term. Context, background, and significance are also important.
The professor will be more than happy to review early assignments.
Brazosport College assumes that students eligible to perform on the college level are familiar with the ordinary rules governing proper conduct, including academic honesty. The principle of academic honesty is that all work presented by you is yours alone. Academic dishonesty including, but not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, and collusion shall be treated appropriately. Please refer to the BC Student Guide for more information. Turnitin.com and other technologies will be used, as necessary, to ensure academic honesty.
STUDENTS MUST COMPLETE ALL WORK INDEPENDENTLY UNLESS OTHERWISE INSTRUCTED. PLAGIARISM, CHEATING, OR ANY RELATED OFFENSIVES WILL RESULT IN AN AUTOMATIC “F” FOR THE ENTIRE SEMESTER – NO EXCEPTIONS!
If a student needs to drop the course for whatever reason, it is his/her responsibility. THE INSTRUCTOR WILL NOT DROP STUDENTS FOR ANY REASON. All students who remain in the course will receive a grade based on their performance.
Brazosport College is committed to providing equal education opportunities to every student. BC offers services for individuals with special needs and capabilities including counseling, tutoring, equipment, and software. Please contact Phil Robertson, Special Populations Counselor, 979-230-3236 for further information. STUDENTS MUST NOTIFY THE INSTRUCTOR OF ANY ACCOMMODATIONS DURING THE FIRST WEEK OF CLASS.
The course instructor reserves the right to make changes to any part of the course requirements, policies, deadlines, content, etc. Students are responsible for keeping track of any and all changes. The instructor assigns grades solely based on performance, not effort or anything else. There will not be any opportunities for extra credit beyond those stated in this syllabus, so please do not ask. If a student anticipates any difficulty meeting course requirements or deadlines, he/she should contact the instructor well in advance. If an emergency should happen, documentation is required, and the instructor will be more than happy to help the student complete the course successfully.
Copyright Andrew Joseph Pegoda, 2010
All federal and state copyrights reserved for all original material presented in this course through any medium, including lecture or print. Unless otherwise noted, all course materials are the intellectual property of the instructor and are thus copyrighted. Individuals are prohibited from being paid for taking, selling, or otherwise transferring for value, personal class or other information notes made during this course to any entity without the express written permission of Andrew Joseph Pegoda. In addition to legal sanctions, students found in violation of these prohibitions may be subject to disciplinary action from the college administration.
TENTATIVE COURSE CALENDAR:
|7/19:||History: An Introduction & African-Americans after the Civil War
After going over the syllabus, we will discuss the various types and definitions of history, and we will discuss the social, political, and economic status of African-Americans after the Civil War until about 1920. Students will read, view, and discuss various primary documents as a class, as well.
|7/21:||Immigrants, Big Business, and Progressives
In this lesson, we will discuss the rise of industrial America by studying the growing significance of oil, steel, and railroads, for example. We will discuss the impact of “new immigrants” and view The Immigrant. Finally, we will discuss the various social responses or reform movements that resulted as a response to the social, economic, and technological changes from 1870 to 1900. Students will read, view, and discuss various primary documents as a class, as well.
|7/26:||Imperialism through World War I
Eyewitnesses 290–414 (continued)
In this lesson, we will trace key events since the rise of the United States as a world power. We will briefly discuss the Mexican-American War and the importance of Manifest Destiny in United States history. We will then discuss the discrimination against Native-Americans in the West, the theft of Hawai’i and other islands in the Pacific Ocean, the Spanish-American War, and finally World War I. We will view Shoulder Arms and discuss what it tells us about the causes of war and the meaning of world war in a new era. Students will read, view, and discuss various primary documents as a class, as well.
|7/28:||Roaring Twenties and Great Depression
In this lesson, we will discuss the consequences of World War I with a focus on the worldwide Great Depression and New Deal. Students will watch selections from Gold Diggers of 1933 to analyze the difference between Hollywood’s history and the historian’s history. We will also look at images and art from the era under study. Students will read, view, and discuss various primary documents as a class, as well.
|8/2:||World War II
MIDTERM EXAM DUE
In this lesson, we will discuss how the Great Depression was solved, and the role of the United States and other nations in the war. By viewing selections from Mildred Pierce, a film noir, and a social advice film, Who’s Boss, we will devote special attention to rise of women working outside of the home and the social and psychological consequences of World War II. Students will read, view, and discuss various primary documents as a class, as well.
Coming of Age in Mississippi (progress)
In this lesson, we will discuss the consequences of World War II by focusing on fears, such as communism, created by the Cold War. Students will analyze Invasion of the Body Snatchers for what it tells viewers about racism, communism, conformity, mass culture, and suburbia in the 1950s. Further, students will discuss the role of new atomic weapons by viewing clips from Atomic Café. Students will read, view, and discuss various primary documents as a class, as well.
|8/9:||Civil Rights Movement
Coming of Age in Mississippi (be finished)
In this lesson, we will discuss key events in the Modern Civil Right Movement of the 1940s through the 1970s. Topics to be discussed include desegregation and bus boycotts. We will discuss the paradoxes of “race” by viewing Imitation of Life. In addition, we will watch clips from key moments in the struggle for Civil Rights. Students will read, view, and discuss various primary documents as a class, as well.
BOOK PROJECT DUE
In this lesson, we will discuss the Vietnam War and the related society and politics. We will discuss the ironies of the war by watching a clip from Apocalypse Now, and we will discuss the social and psychological consequences of the war by watching selections from Hearts and Minds and Coming Home. Students will read, view, and discuss various primary documents as a class, as well.
|8/16:||Ketchup 🙂 Day, Miscellaneous Topics, and Presentations
SEMESTER PROJECT DUE
In this class, students will present their projects to the class and, as time allows, we will discuss the growing significance of globalism, the computer revolution, and the new “Jim Crow.” Students will read, view, and discuss various primary documents as a class, as well.
FINAL EXAM DUE