Seminar for Majors: The Civil War

PROFESSOR FITZGERALD

History 270

Spring 2011

 
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.

 
REQUIRED READINGS
:

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

No Reading

 

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.

 

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