“History is the essence of innumerable biographies.”
Literary Historian Thomas Carlyle 1830
“A people’s cultural aesthetic is not different from their economic or political aesthetic; it is just visible to us in different form. Elements of material culture, such as quilting, are in fact illustrative of a particular way of seeing, of ordering the world.”
Historian Elsa Barkley Brown 1989
Purpose & Goals
The purpose of The Historian's Craft to provide CSUN students with basic skills used by historians. It is an important class for history majors, and for all students interested in analytical thinking about our past. There are four important goals for students in this class:
1. To understand "what is history," and to learn to think "historically"
2. To learn the basic tools of the historian: An awareness of your ideas, your questions; an awareness of the ideas of others expressed in secondary sources; use of evidence and primary sources; and basic research skills, how to find information
3. To design, research, write, and rewrite a research paper in one semester
4. To learn the general skills required for our senior seminars (and/or for graduate school)
In class we will apply the basic skills of analyzing primary sources, evaluating secondary sources, and understanding historiography to the writing of a research paper. Students will develop a research topic, then write a proposal, a primary source essay, a handful of book reviews, and a historiographic essay in order to piece together a 15 to 20 page paper.
You will find weekly reading assignments, documents, and additional reading on Moodle.
Regarding Class . . .
Be respectful of your instructor and of others in class, please, turn off all electronic contraptions. You may use lap tops for note taking, but please, no multi-tasking, looking up on the wiki, reading, emailing, doing other homework, etc. Also, do not sit in the middle of the classroom, then in the middle of the hour get up, leave, and return. If you are expecting some kind of emergency, just let me know before class and sit by the door. Use class as an opportunity to leave the crazy world outside, and to use your historical imagination--to focus. In 301, we will have lots of discussions and class work--please concentrate and participate.
No Make-Ups unless you have a documented excuse, I will not accept late summaries.
Office Hours. I am on campus much, and I also do advisement for history students. My official Office Hours are Mondays 11-12 AM, Wednesdays 6-7 PM, and Thursdays from 5 to 7 PM. However, you can find me in my office additionally as listed on my advisement page (Just click "Yamane Advising" on my main Index page).
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not wait until the day before or after work is due. I encourage you to come by to see me with questions, comments, or problems, and in fact, I very much value meeting with students individually. In a large class, as many of our classes now are, it helps me to better understand both you and your work. As a general rule, you should push yourself to attend office hours. You will get more out of your classes overall, and more out of CSUN. My office hours follow our class in hopes that 301 students will come up with questions and ideas.
Please also make use of the many learning resources found here at the university--if you are not familiar with them, just ask.
Attendance. Come to class and please, be on time. You are responsible for what is covered and discussed in class. IF you have to miss class, get notes from another student, look them over, then come by to see me with any questions.
Plagiarism. No plagiarism allowed, the using of others' work without proper attributions and citations. Any time you "cut and paste" from the web or copy others' words without marking them with quotations, you engage in plagiarism. It renders the assignment useless (to help you develop critical thinking and basic writing skills), and it is easy for instructors to find. Why even bother? Reading, writing, and thinking about significance is not easy; it requires time and thoughtfulness. If you put-in this time, you will be amazed by your ability write engaging essays. Really. Plagiarized Assignments will earn you an "F" in the class.
Also, you may ONLY use class material in your essays--that is the Henretta text, the required books, and the additional Moodle readings, as well as class lecture and discussions.
1-Leon Fink (editor), Major Problems in Gilded Age and Progressive Era History THIRD Edition (Cengage, 2014)
Recommended: Kate L. Turabian, A Manuel of Writers for Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago Style (University of Chicago Press, 2013)