Unit 4: Scholarly Argument, Storytelling and Polish

by Dr. H - November 23rd, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving Native American National Day of Mourning, all!

Those who came to class on the Monday before the holiday re-negotiated the rest of the syllabus, so here’s how things will go in our last two weeks –

Mon 11/28 – Bring to class, and be prepared to discuss, the rest of Kerstetter’s book. Also please bring your laptop, as we will spend some time dropping in on the Dakota Pipeline protest as an unfolding case of cross-cultural encounters in the American West, and perhaps even as a “4th case study” in Kerstetter’s argument (?)

You can catch up on the protests with a quick Google search, or by following the #NoDAPL hashtag on Twitter. The confrontation has ramped up this week with use of water cannons and with one protector being seriously injured.

Also due Monday 11/28 – a revised version of your CV / Resume, emailed to me as a Word doc or PDF.

Wed 11/30 – Final Polishing. Bring laptops again, so you can work in class on your essay. I’ll be drawing on the advice in the remaining writing chapters of Turabian, so reviewing the basics there will be helpful in advance.

Fri 12/2 – Please write and post Journal #7. Share some insights / experiences with your own writing process during this semester. What has worked? Where have been your bottlenecks? What advice would you give me about how to teach writing better and help support students’ good writing practices? What advice would you have given to yourself at the beginning of the term, given what you know now? What have you learned about yourself as a writer? What techniques, strategies, or processes will you keep from this semester?

Mon 12/5 – REVISED DRAFT IS DUE, submitted electronically as an emailed Word doc. We’ll use class time to draft and revise your abstracts. No reading; bring laptops to class.

Take the Research Self-Assessment Survey

Wed 12/7 – Course Wrap-Up. Reading packet.

Links for today:
Chimayo sanctuary & El Posito
Roswell MacDonald’s, Walmart, street lights, newspaper, and crash site shrine

Fri 12/9Journal #8 due posted to your WordPress. Prompt: Reflect back on the course and what you’ve learned (both in terms of content and in terms of historical method and scholarly process). Address the four course student learning outcomes (syllabus p. 5); how well did you meet them?

Fri 12/16 – No meeting in person, but e-portfolios should be complete and ready for assessment. Your portfolio will be scored for the presence or absence and overall quality of these required elements:

30 points

Shell built on time by Sept 9 3
At least one example of prior work in history to this course included (can be from Historian’s Craft or any other history class, even if not taken at Worcester State) 3
Your revised, polished HI 460 research paper (PDF) 3
All 8 journal posts 3
Curriculum vitae (PDF) 3
Personal Learning Statement/ Portfolio Intro – approx 500-700 words 5
Capstone Paper Abstract (~200 words) 5
Up to 5 points for distinction, professionalism & excellence 5
Total 30

Please Note– If you need to take an incomplete for this class for any reason, you need to contact me by Dec 16th. This is not automatic on my part, it needs to be a formal request initiated on your part.

Unit 3: Narrative Techniques for Historians

by Dr. H - October 28th, 2016

During this (short) unit, we’ll focus on how to structure and refine your paper’s narrative. What is the story you’re telling? What cross-cultural encounter(s) can you highlight? What is your essay doing that’s new / significant / original?

Note a couple of syllabus changes because of the Career Workshop on Nov 2

Week of 10/31 – 11/4 One-on-one scheduled conferences with Dr. Hangen to discuss Skeleton Drafts

10/31 Prepare by reading Turabian Chapters 5-12 and 14. Bring the book with you to class.

11/2 History Career Workshop – meet in Student Center Foster Room (3rd floor). Feel free to arrive as early as 12 to catch the lunch before the workshop starts at 1:00. It runs until 2:30, so please stay to the end if you are able to.

11/7 No reading – FINAL DRAFT DUE 1 copy of your printed paper. No reading, we’ll screen a film to celebrate your paper’s completion. Updated: Actually, we will explore the resources in #StandingRockSyllabus website and on Twitter.

11/9 Crafting Narratives / Follow-up on Professional Development. Bring both your paper and a working draft of your current resume or CV.

Note: DUE Fri 11/11, email me a finalized first version of your CV

11/14 Revising Workshop. Please print and bring to class only the FIRST TWO and LAST TWO pages of your essay (4 pages total).

Looking ahead: on Wed 11/16 we will discuss Kerstetter, God’s Country, Uncle Sam’s Land pp. 1-80 (Intro, Chapters 1-2). This takes on new significance in light of the 10/27 acquittal in the Bundy case and the simultaneous unfolding situation at Standing Rock over the Dakota pipeline (see relevant tweet below, from 10/27/16). This book seems especially appropos in our time, so be reading and thinking. As you read, pay attention to both content AND form, using Kerstetter as a potential model of scholarly prose.


Unit 2: Research Strategy, Historiography and Early Draft(s)

by Dr. H - October 15th, 2016

October is pumpkins, apple cider, wonderfully crisp mornings, spooky decorations (this year: a political horror show) and … writing. Writing. WRITING. 5612777489_9bc6cc397e_zHere’s an overview of Unit 2, from Oct 10th to Oct 26th when your Skeleton Draft is due.

Class meetings
10/10 University holiday, no class meeting

10/12 Meet in the library for a research working session with Dr. Hangen and Dr. Griffiths

10/17 Source Analysis workshop – bring one primary source you’ll be using

10/19 and 10/24 A 2-part workshop on historiography; bring your current draft of the historiography section either on your laptop or as a printout

10/26 Skeleton Draft due in class (printed). We’ll watch a film in class – title TBA

Due Dates
10/21 Make sure by this date you have 6 journal entries posted to your WordPress (see prompts below)
10/26 Skeleton Draft due – see Project Guidelines tab for the details

Journal #5 Prompt
Write about your Launch Pad book. Write a book review or thoughtful critique of it, or describe what you’ve learned from it and how you’ll be incorporating or drawing on it in your paper. Or outline its strengths and weaknesses. What does it make you want to read next?

Journal #6 Prompt
Take one primary source (it can be the one you brought to class, or another one) and write a close reading / analysis of it. Consider elements such as genre, creator, motivation/intention, audience, provenance, rhetoric, structure, surface meaning, historical context, and deeper meaning. What are the “dogs not barking”? What still puzzles / intrigues you about this source?

Photo: Creative Commons licensed image from kellywritershouse

J4 Prompt and Library Day #2

by Dr. H - October 11th, 2016

J4 Journal Prompt, due Friday Oct 8. Use this journal entry to outline your finalized topic and your research inquiry / strategy. There is no class on Monday, Oct 10th.

Reminder, please meet in the back of the LRC research area (same spot as last time) with your laptops on Wednesday, October 12. We’ll be working with Dr. Ross Griffiths on deeper / more specific research into your topics. I’ve given him a list of the topics, but also please come prepared with your questions and challenges. The goal of our session is to help you work through any of your current research bottlenecks. I look forward to seeing you there.

J3 Prompt

by Dr. H - September 27th, 2016

For Wed 9/28 – bring a rough draft of your topic to class, printed out so we can work with it in a peer review session

For Fri 9/30 – Online journal #3 is due, posted to your site (600-700 words). The prompt is to analyze / dissect one of Blackhawk’s footnotes, of your choice. What’s the context within the text itself? What sources does it use? What does it contain? How many of them can you track down yourself? What further questions does the text-footnote dialogue generate for you? What good is a footnote, anyway? What does this exercise teach you about scholarly production, or the historical profession itself, or about history’s “ways of knowing?” (PS – the fancy word for that is epistemology… i.e. how we know what we know…)

One of the basic tasks of any well-written piece of historical scholarship is to convey the significance of the book/article’s subject. So: briefly summarize Violence Over the Land, and explain in your view — why does Blackhawk’s book matter?

Violence Over the Land

by Dr. H - September 20th, 2016

Over the next two class sessions, we’ll be discussing Ned Blackhawk‘s fine award-winning monograph, Violence Over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West (2006). We’re reading it for two reasons.

1) as an examplar of new Western history, i.e. one that acknowledges the presence and historical agency of Indians as well as Spanish colonizers and others — and does so by reading traditional sources in new ways

2) for practice with reading an entire book-length scholarly work over a short period of time – a reading skill that you will need for this class, and which will benefit you going forward

For Wed 9/21, prepare to discuss pp. 1-145 Intro and Chapters 1-4

For Mon 9/26, prepare to discuss pp. 145-293 Chapters 5-7 and Epilogue

Also pay some attention to the other supporting material provided in the book, including the visual images and the appendices from pp. 295-372 and how they help deepen the reader’s understanding of this important episode in Western history.

Reminder, you have a second journal entry on the syllabus for Friday Sept 23. I’ll push the date back to Monday, Sept 26 since I didn’t post the prompt until Friday the 26th. Please write a post (600-700 words) about your initial topic and research explorations. You could include our library visit, or something from your background reading so far, or something else you’ve read as part of your early research. What are your guiding research questions / curiosities at this point? Please be sure to mention which Launch Pad book you have chosen – ideally you should have that book in your possession by this point and should be reading it this week.

Library Day #1 – Mon 9/19

by Dr. H - September 16th, 2016

Reminder, please meet in the LRC Cafe with your laptops on Monday, Sept 19. We’ll be working with our new university archivist and librarian Dr. Ross Griffiths on the initial exploration into some of your possible paper topics.

Conquests & Consequences

by Dr. H - September 12th, 2016

In our first full week, we’re reading and discussing the lively Higham / Katerburg textbook, Conquests and Consequences. On Monday in class I described Frederick Jackson Turner as the Hogwarts “house ghost” of Western history, hovering over the field with palpable presence. You can definitely see that in the choices our authors make in retelling Western history in a deliberately non-Turner way.

Monday, Sept 12

Good discussion of chapters 1-6 of Conquests and Consequences. We discussed Turner’s thesis (see previous post). If you missed class, please come in to office hours to discuss the essay so I know you understand it. It’s essential background for this course.

I introduced how to use Library of Congress subject headings as a search tool, by using a large scholarly library’s catalog (my go-to is Harvard’s Hollis Classic). Here’s an explanation about LOC headings from a different library. Our library’s LOC subject books are the large red volumes at the LRC reference desk. Very handy!!

I handed out information about the Launch Pad books – everyone needs to choose one, and get it SOON so you can read it during September. That reading will be the basis of our class discussion on Oct 5.

I also demo’d the use of Zotero for managing research and citations.

If you haven’t taken care of it already, please email me your WordPress blog’s link and take the research self-assessment survey (see previous post).

Wednesday, Sept 14

Please prepare to discuss Chapters 7-15 of Conquests and Consequences.

Friday, Sept 16 – Journal entry #1 due

Writing prompt: History of the American West is a new topic for many of you. What have you learned about the field in our reading and discussions this week? Choose and analyze one passage from one of our readings that discusses a cross-cultural encounter. Your journal should be 600-700 words long, published on your WordPress site as a blog post.

Week 1 – Fall 2016

by Dr. H - September 7th, 2016

Welcome! Off to a strong start…

This week:
By Friday 9/9 – update your WordPress shell, create & populate an About page
Take the Research Self-Assessment Survey before Monday 9/12

For Mon 9/12:
Complete Research Self-Assessment Survey
Monday is technology day, bring laptops
Also bring Conquests and Consequences, we will discuss Ch 1-6 *and* Turner’s thesis

Links from Wed 9/7:

Turner’s Thesis – PDF ExcerptsFull Hypertext

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

Online guidebook for LBBNM – full series here

New York Times: Custer’s Last Stand Was Only the Beginning (12/18/2010)

CivilWarTalk forum thread on “Custer’s Last Stand

Welcome to Fall 2016 Capstone!

by Dr. H - July 20th, 2016

Welcome to the History department capstone for Fall 2016!

Our capstone course is designed to help you synthesize and integrate learning in the major and your college education, demonstrate mastery of historical thinking and the student learning outcomes of the history major, and facilitate your transition from WSU to your chosen post-graduate plans. It is meant to be the culminating learning experience of your history degree. We’ve designed it to be a senior-level research seminar focused on a deep, narrow topic in which you produce

  • a semester-long inquiry resulting in a substantive original research paper adhering to the scholarly conventions of the discipline of history
  • a polished portfolio of your work in the History major as an example of professional self-presentation

This class will lead students through the process of formulating an effective research question, developing a research strategy, understanding and interpreting primary sources, situating oneself within existing historical scholarship, creating a polished research paper, and presenting oneself professionally.

My version of HI 460 in Fall 2016 tackles the American West as a region of cross-cultural encounters. “Encounter” is a neutral word that encompasses everything from conflict, colonialism and conquest to trade, development, alliance, and peacemaking. Any time period, story, place, person, event, or theoretical perspective about this region is welcome, so I invite you to make this semester’s work truly your own by delving deeply into something of interest and relevance to you.

The course will meet MW 12:30 – 1:45 pm in Sullivan 314. Bringing your laptop each day is highly recommended. Course books are posted under the “Readings” tab so you can get started finding them through your favorite bookseller if you want; they will also be available in the campus bookstore.

Please note! The Conquests and Consequences book is SUMMER READING – please obtain it early and read it during August so you can see the broad span of Western history and begin to identify topics you’re interested in researching and writing about. The course will move VERY fast once classes start. If you have questions or concerns before our first meeting on September 7, please feel free to contact me at thangen (at) worcester.edu.

PS: Previous versions of this course use the same website, and their information is left up as an archive. You can safely ignore any post not tagged “Fall16.”