Slight change in plans

In order to help you get the most out of the readings and prepare for the next document assignment, I want to switch the order of readings for the end of this week. Your next document assignment is due next Monday, on the Tokugawa House laws: read it before class on Friday, so we can discuss it and make sure that you have a clear idea of what you’re doing before doing the written assignment. Feel free to bring a draft or notes, of course, to aid the discussion. We’ll discuss the Thomas Malthus on Monday, instead.

Reminder: Document Analysis due Wednesday

For those of you who didn’t make it to class today for whatever reason, that’s not a misprint in the title. After a bit of peer feedback and discussion, I announced that I was giving everyone the opportunity to revise the Columbus paper and turn it in Wednesday.

Also, we will be discussing the Friday test on Wednesday: think about the study terms, particularly which ones I’m most likely to put on the test.

Covering the 20th century

The lectures over the next few weeks won’t match up with the textbook quite as closely as usual. The 20th century can be looked at in a lot of different ways: though I like what Fernandez-Armesto is trying to do with the last four chapters, I think that a more chronologically focused presentation might be helpful. So here’s what’s going to happen over the next few weeks:

Topics readings
11/14 (F) Science and uncertainty. Chapter 27: The Twentieth-Century Mind: Western Science And The World(from ch. 28) Soldier’s Accounts of Battle and François Carlotti, from “World War I: A Frenchman’s Recollections” and British Soldiers on the Battle of the Somme
11/17 (M) Politics of crisis and war: totalitarianisms and nationalisms Chapter 28: World Order And Disorder: Global Politics In The Twentieth CenturyBenito Mussolini, from “The Political and Social Doctrine of Fascism”
11/19 (W) Technology of war: WWI and WWII
Technologies of WWI and WWII
11/21 (F) Test 7 (Instructor Absent)
11/24 (M) Long Essay Part One: Timeline
11/26 (W) Thanksgiving Break
11/28 (F) Thanksgiving Break
12/1 (M) Cold War and internationalism Chapter 29: The Pursuit Of Utopia: Civil Society In The Twentieth CenturyCold War Chronology

UN “Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” 1948

12/3 (W) Technology and ecology Chapter 30: The Embattled Biosphere: The Twentieth-Century Environment
12/5 (F) Long Essay Part Two: Thesis, Outline
12/8 (M) Social and cultural change
Sayyid Qutb, from Milestones, 1964
12/10 (W) Test 8
12/12 (F) Long Essay Due
Catch-up/ReviewLast day of instruction

Essay Revision Assignment due Nov. 10th

You have the opportunity, if you chose to take it, to revise one of the essays you’ve written and had graded this semester. The requirements are simple:

  • You must hand in the original essay, with my grading sheet attached, along with the revised essay.
  • It is due Monday, November 10th. (I will return the latest essays Wednesday, the 5th, so you’ll have some time, if you chose that one).
  • The revised essay grade will replace the original essay grade. The lowest essay grade will still be dropped at the end of the semester.
  • The revised essay will be graded as a stand-alone essay, not in relation to the original essay.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Revision is not copyediting: fixing grammar and punctuation won’t change your grade, unless they were horrendous and I noted it as a factor in the grade.
  • Revision should be substantial, representing a new understanding of the question and material: thus, the name, “re-vision.” Just because I’m not grading the degree of revision doesn’t mean that I’m not looking at the degree of revision: if the essay is only slightly revised, the grade will only move slightly, if at all.
  • Focus on my comments regarding the thesis and argument first, then add evidence as necessary to support that argument.

If you’re having trouble figuring out what my comments mean, ask me. If  you need a reminder about the standards by which I grade, you can find them here. If you need to look over the assignment parameters again, you can find them here and here.

Adjustments to the schedule

As with last time, I think a little more time on the essays is called for, especially since there’s almost no chance that we’ll be done with the French Revolution context by the end of today. So the essay will be due Friday, the 17th. However, it is very important that you read The Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen for Wednesday the 15th, as we will be discussing it directly.

Here’s the direct link to the schedule and here’s the essay assignment page.

Test 1 results

The most popular term this time around was “monsoon” — almost everyone picked it. “Pepper’ and “Aztec” tied for second place, followed closely by “humanism”, “joint-stock company” and “imperialism.” The least popular term was “Siberia” — almost 90% of you avoided it — with “Mughal”, “Vasco da Gama” and “Mali” also in the single-digits.

Just a reminder: memorizing the glossary definition won’t get you much beyond C-range, if that. Memorizing the paragraph in which the term first appears only works sometimes, but usually there’s a lot of context if you read futher back and forward from there. Also, you really don’t want to ignore what I say in class: Part of my job is to provide further context and significance….. Conversely, what I say in class is intended to supplement the textbook, not replace it.

The high score in the class was 29.5 out of a possible 32. So here’s how the grades come out:

grade minimum score distribution
A+ 29.5
A 27.5 A-level: 18%
A- 26.6
B+ 24.2
B 21.6 B-level: 52%
B- 19.2 median score: B
C+ 16.8
C 14.2 C-level: 20%
C- 11.8
D+ 9.4
D 6.8 D-level: 10%
D- 4.4
F 0

Here are some sample answers which scored 4 out of 4. I’m not endorsing copying their form or style, nor are they necessarily perfect, but they get the job done: cover the ground and get to the point.
Continue reading

Slight Change in Schedule

In order to give you more time to absorb my comments on your papers, and to give me more time to make them, I’ve switched the due date of the next one to next Monday. I’ve revised the Schedule accordingly.

Also, I will be using some of the best test answers and essays as exemplars, anonymously: if you do not want your work used (without your name or any other identifying information), let me know.