Ben P. Meredith
A second-year examination of the European "discovery", "exploration", and invasion of North America between 1492 - 1790 with particular focus on the cultural interactions and ethnohistory on the first North American frontiers.
The class will examine the European invasions of North American and the subsequent cultural interactions that took place on the frontier between 1492-1790. This examination is broken into five major segments: early European understandings of the world, New Spain in North America, New England and New Amsterdam, New France, and continental rivalries. These segments are presented in text readings, lecture and class discussion format. Readings or lecture alone will not insure students a good grade in this course. Rather, students will need to combine both, since the instructor's lectures and the assigned readings will often not address the same issues in history, but will address complimentary issues.
1) Read text assignments (753 pages total)
2) Complete three 1300-1500 word take-home essays
3) Complete one comprehensive, in-class, essay final examination.
Although there are no prerequisites for this course, students should have taken English P101 or at least be able to read and write at a comprehension level II. Students who are unable to read or write at this level will hamper their potential success in this course. WRITING IS A GRADED ACTIVITY IN THIS COURSE AND POOR WRITING WILL HINDER YOUR GRADE.
1) presenting the details of the assigned readingsAlthough each session will have a discussion leader, each student is expected to participate in the class discussion. This is not a case of "it-isn't -my-turn-so-I'll-just-sit-here". Students are expected to freely discuss the readings during class, and are expected to participate. If you are unprepared, it will show immediately.
Papers will be graded for argument
structure, logic, use of information, analysis depth, format, grammar,
punctuation, and academic difficulty. Students who do not apply good academic
rigor to their work jeopardize their success in the course.
All essays will be presented in proper academic format as the presentation of the essays will contribute to a student's grade on the essay. Since these essays are a representation of you to the instructor, it is in your best interest to have pride in your work.
All essays will be typed or word processed. The essays will be double spaced; margins should be 1 inch on the top, left and right, with a half inch along the bottom. If a student decides to use a computer or word processor, the font should not be excessive.
Students may use footnotes, in-line notes or end notes so long as they are consistent throughout their work. Students must use the Chicago manual of style in formatting the essay. If a student uses the formatting contained in A Pocket Guide to Writing in History, they will meet this requirement. For more information on this format, consult the reference section of the library or the following link.
The essays will have a cover page with the student's name, course name, instructor's name and due date typed on it. The text will begin 3 inches from the top on the first page only and 1 inch from the top on all others. All pages will be numbered.
Essays will be stapled together; do not put a purchased cover on the essays.
Content, correctness in presentation, spelling, punctuation and syntax will affect the grade. Students are encouraged to pay close attention to these elements.
Two weeks prior to the comprehensive final examination, I will give students six essay questions: three long answer questions and three short answer questions. On the day of the final, students will answer one long and one short essay question of their choice from this list. Students will bring at least two, UNMARKED blue books on the day of the test in which to write their answers. They will have 2 hours to answer the questions they chose in full. They may not use notes. I will not graded students on which questions they choose to answer, but on the accuracy and completeness of their answers.
You are all adults and you know if you need to be in class. I will not take attendance. However, I encourage you to attend every class. Attendance will not affect your grade directly, but attendance will affect it indirectly. In class we will cover certain aspects of the subject in much more depth than the book. The depth of these discussions will directly improve your ability to answer the essay and final examination questions.
Instructor's Views on Learning History
1. Analyze, don't merely memorize! Too often students can get through a class with the simple adage of "Memorize, Regurgitate and Graduate!" That philosophy will not work in this class. Memorizing names, dates and terms alone does not always give you information you can use. Information you cannot use is useless information! Don't allow yourself to waste time on useless information, but rather turn that information into something you can use. Think about what we discuss and what you read. Place this information into a context in world events and justify the ideas to yourself.
2. Taking #1 a step further, SAPERE AUDE! When it comes to learning, I firmly believe in, and will work you toward, what Immanuel Kant described as Enlightenment. In "What is Enlightenment?", Kant wrote:
"Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-incurred immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one's own understanding without the guidance of another. This immaturity is self-incurred if its cause is not lack of understanding, but lack of resolution and courage to use it without the guidance of another. The motto of enlightenment is therefore: Sapere Aude! (Have the courage to use your own understanding!)
"Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why such a large proportion of men, even when nature has long emancipated them from parental guidance, nevertheless gladly remain immature for life. ... It is so convenient to be immature! If I have a book to understand for me, a spiritual advisor to have a conscience for me, a doctor to judge my diet for me, and so on, I need not make any efforts at all. I need not think, so long as I can pay; others will soon enough take that tiresome job over for me. ...Thus only a few, by cultivating their own minds, have succeeded in freeing themselves from immaturity and in continuing boldly on their way."