Seminar for Majors: The Civil War
OFFICE HOURS: Tuesday 2-3, Wednesday 3-4, and Thursday 3-4, and by appointment, in Holland Hall 532 (down the hidden hall toward the windows facing the Library). In general, I'm readily available right after class for as long as needed, and I often read at the Cage between classes. I welcome interruptions. Also, I work a fair amount in my office, so you can look for me there.
PHONE NUMBER: Office: x3162 (and my home phone is in the book. Use it with discretion)
E-MAIL: fitz (I try to check my e-mails morning and late afternoon weekdays, and sometimes on weekends too, especially before papers are due. If you have questions about the readings or assignments, this might be a useful tool. Also, e-mail me promptly if you see a problem with the syllabus or in getting access to the books)
Note: You should check your e-mail daily too. I often send course announcements or reading assignments out this way. This is particularly important before papers.
COURSE OBJECTIVE: This course provides an overview of historical methods through an examination of the Civil War, particularly the impact of war on society. A major focus will be the Confederate experience, the social cataclysm of war, and what it did to the South and the nation.
In addition, the course aims to provide some basic experience in writing college-level term papers, and to introduce students to the profusion of online primary resources available in this field, and how to utilize them.
James McPherson, What They Fought For
Paul Escott, After Secession
Gary Gallagher, The Confederate War
James McPherson Tried By War
Wakeman, An Uncommon Soldier
Drew Faust, The Republic of Suffering
Other materials will be distributed in class or online from time to time as assignments.
READING SCHEDULE (this is tentative, it isn't a contract. I can change dates as needed)
Feb. 7: Introduction to Class
Feb. 9: To Secession
Mc Pherson, What They Fought For, all
Feb. 11: The Secession Crisis
Online readings, various Secession Convention statements: to be distributed before class
Feb. 14, 16, 18, 21: The Confederacy: Government and Society
Read Escott, After Secession
Feb. 23, 25, 28: The Confederate Military and Southern Society
Read Gallagher, The Confederate War
Mar. 2: Class Discussion—No Reading
First Analysis Paper Due
Mar. 4, 7, 9, 11: The North: Mr. Lincoln’s War
Read McPherson, Tried By War
Mar. 14, 16: An Uncommon Experience of War: A Woman in the Ranks
Read Wakeman, An Uncommon Soldier
Mar. 18: In Class Film
Second Analysis Paper Due
March 21, 23, 25: Spring Break--
March 28, 30, April 1, 4, 6: Death and Society: The Human Impact of War
Read: Faust, This Republic of Suffering
April 8: “Final” Exam
April 11, 13: CLASS CANCELLED, INDIVIDUAL APPOINTMENTS WITH STUDENTS
April 15: Class Discussion on Primary Research Methods
April 18: LIBRARY PRESENTATION ON RESEARCH TECHNIQUES
April 20: CLASS CANCELLED, INDIVIDUAL APPOINTMENTS WITH STUDENTS
April 22 and 25: EASTER BREAK
April 27, CLASS MEETS, DISCUSSION OF STUDENT PRESENTATIONS
April 29, CLASS CANCELLED, INDIVIDUAL APPOINTMENTS WITH STUDENTS
May 2, 4, 6, 9, 11 CLASS MEETS, STUDENT PRESENTATIONS
May 13, CLASS CANCELLED, INDIVIDUAL APPOINTMENTS WITH STUDENTS
May 16, CLASS MEETS, DISCUSSION OF PROGRESS
Finals Week, Monday, May 23, 2-4 PM: TERM PAPER DUE
GRADING POLICY: Each analysis paper is worth 10% of the grade, the final exam is worth 25% and the term paper is worth 40%. The rest is class participation, which means showing up on time, all the time, having done the reading and being prepared to talk about it intelligently.
PLAGIARISM: My wife is one of the primary authors of the campus plagiarism policy, so I’m obliged to honor it. Plagiarism is using somebody else’s words, or their exact ideas, without acknowledgement. Please consult me if an issue comes up.
SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS: Students who have a certified disability probably already know the procedure for informing professors. Please tell me early in the semester, with the appropriate documentation, and remind me periodically (especially before exams) that I need to respond to your situation.
PERSONAL ISSUES: Professors get a lot of excuses from students, but if something is going on in your life that affects your classroom work, you probably should let me know privately.
OTHER NOTES: Attendance is mandatory, as is class participation and keeping up with the reading. Attendance is taken periodically, and unexcused absences (more than three times per semester) can effect the final grade. You are expected to be prepared by doing the reading for the day specified, ready to talk about it intelligently. This isn't a lecture class; you do most of the talking.
E-mail is an excellent way to ask questions or follow up on issues that you don't want to raise in class, or think of after class. It can help with paper assignments too, when you need clarification. Feel free also to email to the class list, "history-270b," if you'd like to do so. Just be polite when you criticize other people's ideas.
Also, check your e-mails regularly, because sometimes I have to communicate to class when something important comes up.
Final note: Most professors suspect themselves of some unusual virtue, and here’s mine: I tend not to mind when people disagree with me, or with one another, because it means you are paying attention. Just be polite about it, and remember that we are talking about sensitive topics.