Review Date Change and Final Details

  • Looking at the schedule I decided that there was no particular reason why the second article review needed to be handed in on Friday rather than Monday. So I’m pushing the due date back to the 26th. Anyone who wishes to use that extra time to get feedback on their assignments, drafts, etc., is entirely welcome.
  • As I mentioned in class, the final exam will be in two parts. The in-class portion will be the same as the midterm: a set of terms taken from the study term list from which you will choose twelve to answer. I will not, however, be limiting you to the same fifty minutes as the midterm: you may use as much as you wish of the full two hours scheduled. There will also be a take-home essay portion, which will be due on the day of the final, consisting of two essays that answer questions which cover a substantial portion of the course, especially issues which span the two halves of the course. I will distribute the questions and instructions shortly, so you will have several weeks to consider and work on these essays.

Second Article Due Dates shifted

As I noted in class, I’ve shifted the due date for the second article choice to accomodate the late notice. Consider tomorrow (4/1) the hard deadline for the choice. The summary/context assignment has been pushed back to Monday (4/5) as well, to accomodate. The thesis/argument assignment, however, is still due Friday, 4/9.

Final Exam Essays (Fall 2009)

Hist 102: World History Since 1500
Fall 2009
Final Exam Essays
20% of the course grade

Final Exam Essays Due at Noon on Tuesday, December 15th

The test will consist of two essays, equal in value, which you will choose from the following list:

  1. Compare and contrast the liberation of Latin America in the early 19th century and the decolonization of Africa in the late 20th century.
  2. Describe the effects of the world slave trade on sub-Saharan Africa. (Don’t spend time talking about slavery in the Americas or elsewhere; focus on Africa).
  3. Describe the world economy around 1700. Include trade, flows of silver and gold, the role of agriculture, major exporters and the state of technology. How are things changing?
  4. Did the Columbian Exchange benefit Native American populations in any way, or was it entirely disastrous?
  5. How did the Industrial Revolution affect Asia? How do Asian nations respond to the economic and military power of the West after industrialization?
  6. Locke and Hobbes had very different ideas about the role of government and the rights of the individual. Describe their ideas, especially their differences. How have those ideas influenced political history over the last 300 years, and which of these thinkers is closest to our present-day ideas about rights and government? (globally, not just the United States)

Both Essays are due in my office (RH 406F)

before noon on Tuesday, December 15th.

There will be no extensions or late papers accepted

except in cases of documented medical emergency.

This test covers the entire semester: textbooks, documents, and lectures.

  • This is a take-home essay examination, so I am expecting two real essays, with introductions, thesis statements, paragraphs, conclusions, etc.
    • You may think of it as two essays each worth about one-tenth of your course grade; that’s certainly how I calculate it.
    • Don’t assume that “an answer” will be easily found in one section of one book. These essays require broad knowledge and analytical thinking.
    • Be concrete: evidence is always more convincing than generalization or simple logic.
    • The grade is based primarily on the strength of your argument as an answer to the question: thesis, evidence (completeness and handling), logic.
    • Polished prose is not required, but basic courtesies like correct spelling and writing in grammatical standard English will be expected.
    • Be careful to address all parts of the question: when asked to pick between two choices, for example, it’s not enough to say what the positive argument for your side is without discussing the possible arguments for the other side.
    • Clarity is crucial; structure is essential to a clear and effective argument.
  • Citations and Plagiarism
    • failure to acknowledge the source of your ideas or information is unacceptable. Plagiarism will result in no credit for the exam. Poor paraphrasing and poor citation will be penalized.
    • A Works Cited or Bibliography page is not required unless you use sources outside of the course readings and lectures. You must cite the source of information and ideas that are outside of “general knowledge,” including information from your course texts. Format of the notes is up to you: I prefer footnotes for my research, but parenthetical citations are fine as well; any format will be fine as long as it is used consistently and it clearly identifies the source and page of your information.
    • These questions can be answered more than adequately with reference to assigned readings and lectures. You are welcome to do more research and include outside sources if necessary, but you must be sure that they are relevant and of sufficient quality to enhance your argument. Using outside sources instead of course materials will result in penalties.
  • Technical Details
    • Make sure that your name, section, e-mail address and the question are clearly indicated at the beginning of each essay, and that each essay begins on a separate page. Title pages are not required, but feel free to give your essay a title.
    • There is neither a minimum nor a maximum length for these essays, but I would be surprised if you could answer any of them in less than 1000 words or needed more than 2500.
    • Double-spacing and title pages are not required, but readable type and font are.
    • Both Essays are due in my office (RH 406F) before noon on Tuesday, December 15th. There will be no extensions or late papers accepted except in cases of documented medical emergency. Emailed files will only be accepted as proof of completion; printed essays must be delivered no later than 4pm Tuesday, and must be identical to the emailed files.

Book Context due Monday*

Under the category of “Context” the book review assignment says:

Context: What is the background of the author? Is their personal background relevant to the subject of the book? What is the historical context, the time period discussed by the book? What other books discuss the same kinds of things, and how does this book compare? Note that your textbook is an invaluable resource for comparisons and context.

Obviously, there are several different issues going on here, but they basically fall into two categories: Historical context and Historiographical context.

Historical context is about how the material in your book fits with the rest of what’s going on in the world at the time: if you’re writing about Japanese 19th century industrialization, for example (nobody is, unfortunately), you’d want to note that Japan was a late industrializer compared to other major industrial nations, that it was the age of unequal treaties, and that industrialization happened at the same time as the rise of nationalism, parliamentarianism, and imperialism.

Historiographical context, on the other hand, is about how the book fits with the rest of the books written on the same topic: what are the normal interpretations of this event and how does this book change that; who is this book arguing with, and why?

In both cases, your textbook is a good starting place, because it does look at the broader context, and because it represents a kind of “current consensus” on most issues. Sometimes the book itself will describe the context for you; sometimes you have to work at it a bit.

* Yes, the context assignment was supposed to be due Friday the 6th, but I forgot to mention it in class, so I’m pushing it back to Monday the 9th.

Comments on Book Summaries

I’ll be handing back the book summaries today. Many of them are actually inadequate as summaries — too short, too confused or too much of your thoughts and not enough of the book’s content. If I’ve included “Try Again” or “revise and hand in again” in the comments on your summary, then I will be expecting to see a more complete — or clearer, or more focused, etc. — summary handed in with your statements of the book’s thesis.

In order to make it easier, I’ve moved the Thesis statement due date back to Monday the 19th, giving you most of an extra week. The Thesis statement should be just that, by the way: a sentence or short paragraph clearly stating what the author’s purpose is in writing the book, what they hope to prove by the evidence and argument they provide. Sometimes that thesis will be explicitly laid out by the author in a form you can quote; sometimes (especially with autobiographical writings or seemingly straightforward surveys of major events) it is more work for you to figure it out.

Finally, a note on form: I don’t insist that you all use the Chicago Manual of Style footnote method for history papers, but if you quote something, then I expect to see a citation including a page number. It can be in parentheses, footnote or endnote, but a quotation without a specific source, including a page number, is a grave error.

Miscellaneous announcements: Guest Lectures, Test, Fun

We’ll have two guest lectures from PSU Grad student, military historian and WWII reenactor Dustin Strong: “Napoleon and his Wars” on October 9 and “WWII” on November 16. Mr. Strong’s lectures, like my own, are required, and I will expect to see his presentation reflected in your test answers and essays where appropriate. Mr. Strong has also announced two WWII reenactments open to the public as extra credit opportunities: Sept. 26-27 at Bristow Jones Memorial Airport (Bristow, OK) and Nov. 7 at Forest Park (Ottawa, KS). For the extra credit, include in your summary/reaction paper a description of the battle, and those of you doing WWII topics for your book review are strongly encouraged to talk to members of one of the units, as they are usually very well-informed on the equipment and history of the units they portray.

My apologies to the 2pm section for missing Monday: I have put the lecture outline online, so that anyone who missed class due to the weather or illness can review it. Those of you were there for the 11am class are welcome to look at it as well, obviously.

Regarding the Test on Monday, covering chapters 15 through 20, inclusive, and the lectures, the format will be very much like the pop quizzes: I will choose four or five (or six) terms from each chapter — the terms in the “Key Terms” lists, of course — to put on the test. From those, you will pick twelve (12) to answer: at least one from each of the six chapters, and the rest from any of the remaining terms. I will supply the test and paper; you bring something to write with and everything you can remember about the last month’s readings and lectures.

Finally, for fun, here’s pre-Revolutionary satires on French aristocratic hairstyles, including a recreation of the Battle of Bunker Hill [mildly adult content]. The one that made me laugh was the one with the hairdresser using a nautical navigational tool — the sextant — to arrange the hairstyle.


Looking at the schedule, it turns out that I’ve made an error which means that we’re technically a day behind where we should be. I think I have a solution, but I need time to work it out. Meanwhile, stick with the schedule as we’ve been doing it: read Chapter 18 for Monday.

Non Sequitur: The World’s Oldest Person has died, at age 115. There are a few people left in the world who were born in the 19th century!

Schedule Shift for November/December

In order to allow students and faculty to attend the inauguration of PSU’s ninth president, Dr. Steven Scott, classes from 1-5pm on Friday October 23rd will be dismissed. Since I have one section before that and one during, I’m cancelling both sections and shifting the schedule back a day. Fortunately, I built a few catch-up days into the schedule: using one of them, I’ve pushed all the readings and assignments back a day until the end of the semester. You can see the complete schedule, as always, here, or at the course link above; the schedule for September and most of October remains unchanged.

Schedule Update

Due to my illness earlier this week, I’ve had to shuffle the schedule for the next two weeks. Fortunately, I had built a catch-up/review day into the syllabus on the day before Spring Break: we lose that, but don’t have to lose any other material; everything just gets slipped back one day.

The only exception is the next document assignment: I’ve slipped that back two classes, so that we will be through the whole Enlightenment, Revolution and Napoleon section before you have to write it.

You can find the updated schedule here and the updated document assignment sheet here.

Oh, and a reminder: if you attend an extra credit opportunity event, all you have to do for me is write a short summary and reaction paper, no more than 1-2 pages, as proof of your participation. You can hand those in anytime during the semester, up to and including the last day; there’s no such thing as a “late” extra credit paper.