Hist 33D: Journal & Final Project
(pdf print version)
- For the writing assignment in this course you are required to keep
a journal on a regular basis throughout the course. You will
write about two entries per week (total of 8), with each entry
averaging about 450 words in length. That is about 3/4 page, single-spaced,
in 12 point font.
- Each entry will be based on your thoughts about newspaper or magazine
articles you read during that week, or readings, lectures and
films for this course. Occasionally, web sites, books for another
course, conversations or personal experiences may be appropriate.
You should relate the issues you discuss to the course topic. For
articles you should include a clipping, copy, or printout. There should
be a rough balance of entries on articles and on course materials.
For the entries on the course material, feel free to exercise criticism,
ask questions, and raise important issues, especially if you are uncomfortable
doing so in class. You will be graded on how insightful your discussion
or how convincing your argument is, not on whether you agree with me.
Tip: Jot ideas down during lecture or whenever, and develop them later.
- In a large bluebook, use the first right-hand
page to keep a handwritten running table of contents with
the entry number (1-8), the source and date, and a short
descriptive title. Example:
1. LA Times, Sept. 1, 2003, "White House Likens Iraq to Postwar Germany
to Retain Support"
2. LA Times, Sept. 8, 2003, "The Race Factor: Thousands of African Americans
will donate …"
3. Oct. 4, 2003, Maus and the "Gray Zone" Grid [from
- In the rest of the bluebook, glue, tape or staple the article (or
photocopy) on the left hand page, and attach your typed
entry facing it on the right hand page. Write the
entry number in the upper right hand corner. (You do not need
to photocopy course materials.)
Please single space to fit each journal entry on one page. Each entry
should begin with the date and a short headline indicating the
source and topic of your entry.
- In each entry you should first briefly summarize the
relevant information in the article (or whatever), for about ¼ of the
entry. The main portion should be your thoughts and analysis
of the article, relating it to the course topic.
You should not write vague opinions or make unsubstantiated claims.
Rather, you should explain your opinion, giving clear reasons
and pertinent evidence.
(If you are unclear on this, see the professor's example on the
course web site.)
- Journals will be collected several times over the course of
the quarter, at the beginning of class.
Collection dates will be announced in advance. I expect about 2 entries
- The journals will be graded as follows: each entry can receive
up to 4 points for a total of 32.
The grading scale will be check-minus, check,
check +, or +. No entry: 0 points. Late entry: -1 point per day.
FINAL PROJECTS: Proposal and Web Page
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- Finding a topic. A good way to find a topic
is to look though the textbook, the course reader, and the course web
site for ideas. When you find something you would like to know more
about, check for bibliographical references. If you have trouble finding
a topic, or literature on a topic, please come to talk to me—sooner
rather than later!
- Proposal Format. The purpose of the proposal is to
find a suitable topic of interest.
It should have three main elements:
- a descriptive title that indicates the main theme you are
- a short description and explanation of your topic, including
an explicit list of a few questions that you hope the book will address.
- full reference or bibliographic information on three or four
web sites and books that you think may be relevant, including URL,
site author/hosting institution, or library call number.
- Forming groups. I encourage you to talk among yourselves
and find other students with similar topics. I will facilitate the formation
of groups in class.
- Proposal grading. The proposal will be marked check
minus, check, or check +. A check
minus must be resubmitted until the professor approves the project.
- By the end of week 6 each group should submit a preliminary
version of ALL parts of their final project. Each project should include
most of the following:
a) introductory text for homepage: narrative introduction, thesis statement(s),
and description of content of rest of site;
b) annotated bibliography;
c) annotated linkography;
d) in-depth reviews of some books and web sites;
e) collection of thumbnail images, with captions, including sources
(URLs or books);
f) "authors" page with information about project members and narrative
about research process;
Individual contributions. It should be clear who made
or contributed to each part of the project. Sign a page you alone created,
initial your linkography and bibliography annotations, sign "written by
x and edited by y" for collaborative texts. Half of the grade will be
based on your contribution, half on the overall quality.
- Content/Grading. When I grade, I look for five things.
First, a thesis statement tells me the purpose of the project,
what it is trying to elucidate, argue or explain.
Second, I look for an argument supporting that thesis.
Third, I look for concrete evidence—specific cases or examples—used
to support the elements of the argument.
Texts and annotations with any two of these three is a "C;"
all three elements earn a "B."
Fourth, I look counterevidence or comparisons—whether
you assess the material relative to other works. If the first three
elements are also present, this brings a contribution into the "A"
Finally, I look to see whether the texts are carefully written
and proofread, and have clear organization or perhaps even stylistic
grace. This can lift a project up to a "+" or, with numerous
typos and errors, drop it down to a "–."
- Due dates. Proposals Oct. 14 (beginning of week 4);
drafts Oct. 30 (end of wk 6); final Nov. 20 (wk 9).
Late submissions will be penalized one point per day, beginning at 11am.
- Web publication. The final projects should also be
submitted by e-mail or on disk. They can be in word-processor format
or in html. I will work with each group to publish the projects on the
- Presentations. I would like each group to present
their work to the class. We will have time during the final class meetings
(including evening sessions) to do this
- Plagiarism—presenting someone else's work as your
own, or deliberately failing to credit or attribute the work of others
on whom you draw (including materials found on the web)—is a serious
academic offense, punishable by dismissal from the university. It hurts
the one who commits it most of all, by cheating them out of an education.
Offenses will be reported to the appropriate university authorities
for disciplinary action.