Winter 2004                                                                                                                                             Mr. Cohen

History 650: The Practice of History


Required Texts

Marius, Richard and Melvin Page, A Short Guide to Writing about History (Longman, fourth edition)

Course Requirements

            The Practice of History is designed to do two things: to give you the opportunity to pursue a topic of great interest to you through writing a 20 to 25 page research paper, and to teach you how to go about writing such a paper. It is organized as an advanced writing workshop. You will be turning in assignments throughout the term intended to lead you toward the final product of a thoughtful, imaginative, and well-written historical essay. And you will be receiving advice and criticism from your paper advisor, your classmates, and me at each stage of your project. The end result will be a paper based on your original research into primary sources supplemented by secondary sources that will both provide you with specific historical information and help guide your thinking as you formulate your argument. Your essay should not be a simple narrative of historical events. Rather, it should pose a specific historical question—one sufficiently narrow to be addressed in a single term—and offer an answer based on your research. In addition, it must be typed, double-spaced, with standard margins, full footnotes or endnotes (correctly rendered), and complete primary and secondary source bibliographies.

            Your grade will be determined equally by the seminar instructor (me) and your paper advisor. My half of the grade will be based both on the your final paper—the cogency of your argument and the quality of your writing—and on your work throughout the term: written assignments, oral reports, class discussion, and, when called for, constructive criticism of your colleagues’ work. So in addition to producing an interesting and informative research paper at the end of the term, you must complete all course assignments carefully and on time and participate actively in the seminar’s common activities. Your paper advisor’s half of the grade will be based entirely on the quality of your final essay.


Class Schedule

I) Introduction

1/6 Introduction to the seminar; preliminary reports on student projects; library workshop part I

1/8 Library workshop part II; tutorial assignments; discussion of Marius, A Short Guide to Writing about History, 1-15, 36-57; bring three copies of your current research proposal or seminar paper to class

II) Research Proposals (Marius, 85-101)

1/13 Tutorials on Research Proposals (and discussion of Marius): Groups A & B [receive primary source exercise; exercise due in my office and to your tutorial group on 11/16 at 4 p.m. ]

1/15 Tutorials on Research Proposals (and discussion of Marius): Groups C & D [receive primary source exercise; exercise due in my office and to your tutorial group on 11/19 at 4 p.m.]

III) Handling Primary Sources (Marius, 29-57)

1/20 Tutorials on Primary Source Exercise: Groups A & B

1/22 Tutorials on Primary Source Exercise: Groups C & D

IV) Writing a Prospectus, an Outline, and a Bibliography (Marius, 91-114, 124-128)

1/27 full class session on writing a prospectus, an outline, and a bibliography (bring a preliminary outline to class)

1/29 NO CLASS ** prospectus, outline, primary source bibliography and secondary source bibliography due in my office by 4 p.m.** [receive questions for organizing five-page drafts]

V) Doing Research and Organizing Rough Drafts (Marius, 115-134)

** Individual meetings with me during the week to discuss your prospectus, outline, and bibliographyand with your paper advisor to discuss your project and your progress**

2/3 full class session on organizing rough drafts: bring your favorite anecdote

2/5 full class session on research and writing, with guests from the history faculty

Midterm Break: 2/12-15

2/17 Five page drafts due before class; Full class session: midterm oral reports on your project; library check-up with Gretchen Revie (bring questions to class that you would like to discuss)

2/19 NO CLASS: pre-scheduled individual meetings with me to discuss 5-page drafts; work on full drafts

VI) Writing Rough Drafts and critiquing rough drafts (Marius, 135-153)                                             

2/23  **Full rough drafts due in my—and your advisor’s—office by 11 a.m.**

Pick up handout on how to evaluate rough drafts; exchange rough drafts with other members of your tutorial; using the handout as a guide, read and comment on the drafts of the colleagues in your tutorial

2/24 Tutorials on Rough drafts: Groups A & B

2/26 Tutorials on Rough drafts: Groups C & D

VII) The Final Draft and Oral Class Presentations

3/2 NO CLASS: work on final drafts (individual meetings with me and your advisor as necessary)

3/4  NO CLASS: work on final drafts (individual meetings with me and your advisor as necessary)

3/9   Class Presentations

3/11 Class Presentations

3/12  **Final Draft Due in my (and your advisor’s) office by 4 p.m.**