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.

Friday Test

For those of you who couldn’t make it today, here are the parameters and instructions for the test on Friday (2/13):

I will choose terms from each chapter, roughly 7-10. You will pick twelve (12) to write about, in the same style as the pop quizzes. You have to pick two from each chapter, but the remaining 4 can come from any chapter.

You’ll have the full 50 minutes. I’ll bring the test, as well as paper; all you have to bring is a suitable writing implement — pen, pencil, etc. — and everything you’ve learned since the beginning of the semester.

Also, I handed out paper copies of the study terms for the next test, chapters 19-22. If you’d copied them from the master list previously, you should go back and do it again, as I’ve trimmed it somewhat in the last week.

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.

Apology and comments

First, the apology: the first round of document analysis assignments is taking me longer than I expected to get done. I’ll have them Friday, for sure, though, so you’ll get them back before you have to start the next one, on Columbus.

I’m noticing — and this is part of what’s taking me so long — some patterns, though. Here are some suggestions and thoughts that should get you started thinking about the next one:

  • The “content” section isn’t just summary: you can (and should, if you can) discuss the tone and style of the piece, reliability, whether the author is being up front about goals and honest about the situation, etc.
  • The “historical use” section isn’t just “what I learned from this document” though that can be a good starting place. It’s more about what bigger questions — and I can’t emphasize that enough: “questions” — can be asked which this document helps to answer.

I’ll add to this list as I notice more patterns, things that might have been unclear on the first round.

More comments:

  • The Author section is boring, sometimes. But that doesn’t mean that you should copy, i.e. plagiarize, what’s in the document introduction. It can be used as “setup” for the context and content sections.
  • The Context section, which is where you should be talking about the geographic and historical environment, will usually benefit from attention to the textbook in addition to the document introduction.

The average and median grades for the document assignments was a C.

Samples: Here are three samples of the document assignment, and one from the pop quiz (since you do have a test coming up next week, as well!). They aren’t ‘perfect’ but they are very good answers: complete, careful, thoughtful. Notice that the pop quiz answer on Martin Luther and the first document analysis are actually fairly short: you don’t have to be long-winded if you get right to the point. Note also that the other two document analysis answers are longer, in fact longer than average for what was handed in: to be complete, to cover the issues and get a lot done and done well, sometimes takes extra time, energy and space.

Continue reading


I forgot, when I put the syllabus together, to note where the CD-Rom readings can be found. The Machiavelli for Monday, in particular, is a bit off from our schedule: It’s in chapter 19. If you don’t have the CD-ROM, or want to read the whole thing, you can find it here. (The assigned readings are chapters V and XVIII; Machiavelli’s most famous line is here)

Extra Credit: Pittsburg Memorial Auditorium

There are a number of events coming up at the Pittsburg Memorial auditorium (503 N. Pine; 620-231-7827) which qualify for extra credit:

  • February 13th – PSU Opera presents The Pirates of Penzance 7:30 p.m.
  • February 15th – PSU Opera presents The Pirates of Penzance 3 p.m.
  • February 19th – PSU Wind Ensemble
  • March 2nd – PSU PALS presents To Kill a Mockingbird
  • March 6th – Jazz Concert featuring Eric Marienthal
  • March 8th – Children’s Symphony
  • April 9th – PSU Wind Ensemble Concert
  • April 11th – Tristatesmen Barbershop Chorus Concert
  • April 28th – PSU Jazz Concert