King's College History Department

CORE 130
American Civilization

Syllabus

FALL 1998

Dr. Curran
Hafey-Marian 308
Tel: (717) 208-5900, ext. # 5749
e-mail: djcurran@gw02.kings.edu


OFFICE HOURS: Before and after class.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.
I am also available at other times during the day when my office door is open.
Also, by appointment.


Purpose | Readings and Assignments | Tests | Evaluation

Written Assigment | Films | Topics | Learning Objectives


I. Purpose:

A. The Core Curriculum

This Core Curriculum requirement is the first course in the Civilization sequence.

Civilization courses are designed to explore in some depth the complex dimensions of man's world. These courses study the cumulative experiences of the past to provide an understanding of how the past influences the present and the outlook for the future. Individually and collectively what we are is the product of what we have been. This course traces the history of the American people from the first permanent settlement to the development of major power status at the beginning of the 20th Century.

In our examination of our heritage we intend to alert students to the value of this discipline as an integral part of their general education, as a tool for understanding human behavior. If experience is a good teacher, then history, the study of past experience, is a vital ingredient for self-knowledge.

 

The discipline provides other benefits:

  1. It hones skill at evaluating data for authenticity or spuriousness, reliability or unreliability; it trains the mind to weigh and to ponder before acceptance or rejection. It makes the student wary of simple explanations, and ever so conscious of multiple causation.
  2. It expands understanding and knowledge of the uniqueness of the democratic experience.
  3. It conditions us to the deep significance of environment, disease, and technology on collective as well as individual behavior.
  4. It encourages the development of independent thinking, as well as the application of deductive and inductive reasoning in the formation and validation of hypotheses and conclusions. It teaches the process of history, in short, how to do history.
  5. It compels acknowledgment of the complexity and variety of the American experience andrecognizes the painful price paid by so many in the past for the achievements enjoyed in thepresent.
  6. It confronts us with the moral problem of making judgements about those who occupied center stage in our past.
  7. It stimulates and develops problem-solving, skeptical judgement and decision-making analysis. It helps develop a habit of thinking, and a deep reverence for the truth.

General purpose of Civlization Courses

A. The Core Curriculum

(All are applicable to American Civilization)

  1. To be familiar with the main stages of civilization as an expanding force which has produced mportant forms of political, social, economic and cultural organization which are our common heritage.
  2. To identify major events, persons, and ideas which contributed to the development of western, including American, and non-western attitudes and institutions.
  3. To develop concepts which give meaning and order to the raw material of manÝs recorded past.
  4. To identify and analyze significant problems and situations as they relate to the continuing issues of contemporary life.


II. READINGS AND ASSIGNMENTS:

A. Required Text

Murrin, Johnson, McPherson, Gerstle, et al.: Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People, Vol. I, 1996

 

You are ONLY responsible for the following pages in your textbook:

8-10; 12-14; 16-17; 31-5; 41-2; 57-64; 67-72; 85-8; 93-8; 102-5; 133-42; 165-72; 174-88; 194-204; 206-7; 214-21; 229-43; 282-310; 312-39; 359-65; 366-92; 394-418; 420-46; 448-80; 482-515; 518-52; 605-54; 658-91; 694-720

 

B. Collateral Reading

Highman, John. Strangers in the Land. Patterns of American Nativism. 3rd ed., 1990. (039543308-8)

for the final exam.

 


TESTS / DATE / CONTENTS

I: Sept. 12 / Lecture notes, plus relevant textbook pages, / (Chapters 1-4, pp. 1-142) handouts and films.

 

II: Oct. 3 / Lecture notes, plus relevant textbook pages, / (Chapters 5-7, pp. 144-243) handouts, films and the Constitution.

 

III: Oct. 24 / Lecture notes, plus relevant textbook pages (Chapter 9, pp. 282-310)

 

IV: Nov. 14 / Lecture notes, plus relevant textbook pages, / (Chapters 10-15, pp. 312-480) handouts and films.

 

Final: TBA / Lecture notes, plus relevant textbook pages / (Chapters 16-22, pp. 481-720) handouts, films, and Strangers in the Land.

 

[ALL TESTS, INCLUDING THE FINAL, ARE NONCOMPREHENSIVE.]

 

NOTE: A sample test will be distributed with this syllabus. It will familiarize the student with the instructorÝs method of testing. RETESTS ARE PERMITTED FOR ALL FAILED EXAMS, EXCEPT FOR THE FINAL. Maximum grade on all Retakes is "C".


II. EVALUATION PROCEDURE

NOTE: (The instructor reserves the right to curve when necessary.)

WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT

A historical research paper of a minimum of five (5) typewritten, double-spaced pages on an assigned topic is worth 20% of your final grade. (Consult list of topics on attached sheet.) The essay should be in proper academic form; it should NOT be a mere compilation of information but a thoughtful interpretation of an historical event, person or period. It should contain an introduction and conclusion and be supported by documentation in the form of endnotes and a bibliography. Correct spelling, grammar and punctuation are essential.

SELECTION DATE: MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 1997.

DUE DATE: MONDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 1997.

 

NOTE: A PENALTY OF ONE POINT WILL BE ASSESSED FOR EACH DAY'S LATENESS.


GRADE COMPUTATION

A=90
B+=88
B=85
C+=83
C=75
D=70
F=Below 70

 


CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES

Lecture

Films

Written Reports

Oral Presentations

Independent Research Assignments

 

 

CLASS FORMAT

To understand the background of the lectures and to participate intelligently in the discussions which will be part of each class period, it is absolutely essential that you READ the assignment before coming to class. I will not REPEAT what is in the textbook. I will use it as a starting point to probe deeper into each of the designated topics.

 

Handouts will be distributed in class from time to time. They are an integral part of the course. Please read them carefully.

 

The instructor reserves the right to change or modify any part of this syllabus at his discretion.

 

Students are encouraged to visit the instructor should any questions arise. Office hours are listed above.

 


ATTENDANCE

Regular attendance at all classes is expected. You must adhere to the attendance policy established by the institution. It can be found in the Student Handbook, 1997-1998, p. 61. During the orientation part of the first class meeting, I will further elaborate on my absentee policy.

 

PLEASE READ THIS SYLLABUS COMPLETELY AND CAREFULLY. REFER TO IT FROM TIME TO TIME THROUGHOUT THE SEMESTER. IT WILL ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE.


FILM SCHEDULE (Visual Literacy)

[Another Style of Learning]

DATE / FILMS / NO. RUNNING TIME

Aug. 29 America: Home from Home / VT-283 pt. 2 / 50"

Sept. 5 America: Making a Revolution / VT-283 pt. 3 / 50"

Sept. 19 America: Inventing a Nation / VT-283 pt. 4 / 50"

Sept. 26 Gone West& / VT-283 pt. 5

Oct. 10 America: A Firebell in the Night / VT-283 pt. 6 / 50"

Oct. 17 The Civil War / VT-283 pt. 7 / 50"

Oct. 31 The Civil War

Nov. 7 America: Domesticating a Wilderness

Nov. 21 America: Money on the Land / VT-283 pt. 8 / 50"

 

OBJECTIVES OF FILM

A. For historical literacy - to dispense information.

B. To motivate study and to encourage discussion.(First part of the following class period will analyze the film).

C. To show the film as historical document and as an example of historical interpretation.

D. To teach you to apply the same type of critical thinking to the message you receive through the visual media as you apply to the printed word. In short, to enhance analytical skills.

 


Purpose | Readings and Assignments | Tests | Evaluation

Written Assigment | Films | Topics | Learning Objectives


Last Revision: 1998 March 24
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