History 333: Labor in America
Dr. Michael B. Kassel
The study of labor is obviously important to those of us who live in a town like Flint, Michigan, but, when we broaden the definition to include the overall history of working people we find how important the story of labor is to all Americans. While this course will certainly focus on organized labor, it will also look at the history of work and workers from Colonial times to present day. This course, which is a combined lecture/discussion class, will also focus on the role ethnicity, race and gender have played in this history of American labor.
Boris and Lichtenstein, Major Problems in the History of American Workers Upton Sinclair, The Flivver King
Zinn, Frank, and Kelley, Three Strikes
-plus material on library reserve and online course companion
Evaluation & Grading
This course will consist of both lecture and discussion, which will be based heavily on the assigned readings. Your work in this class will be evaluated based on your participation in class discussion, three highly-target take home essays, and the presentation of a book report, to be presented to the class on an assigned day. Total class points are 500, distributed as follows:
140 points (10 points per week)
Take Home Essays:
300 points (100 points each)
Essays: Five to seven (5-7) pages, typed, double-spaced, using 12-point Times New Roman font or equivalent. Each essay should follow formal essay guidelines, using third person voice and avoiding contractions. Direct quotes and paraphrased material must be cited using Turabian/Chicago style footnotes or MLA style (your choice). While you must cite material from readings, you do not need to cite material from our lecture notes, which will be treated as general knowledge for the purpose of this class. Because clear writing is essential to a clear argument, twenty-percent of your essay grade will be based on the quality of your writing. Each essay is worth 100 points.
Book Presentations: Oral book presentation will be based on an outside reading of your choice that corresponds to one of the class’s thirteen major topic areas (see topic calendar below). You are free to pick any book related to an aspect of labor in America, but all are pending my approval. You will read the book and provide a summary of the work that will include a discussion of its thesis, sources, methodology, findings, and effectiveness (in other words, how well does the author make his or her point / prove his or her case). The oral presentations are important because they will give the class familiarity with a dozen or so readings in American Labor history.
Class Participation: Each week you can earn up to 10 class participation points. Five points are based on attendance, and 5 points will be based on you in-class discussion participation.
Plagiarism and Academic Misconduct: Students should be aware of the University’s policy on academic integrity and plagiarism as published in the latest University of Michigan-Flint Catalog.
Policies for make-up exams and late writing assignments: In the case of severe illness or other extreme hardship, you may be allowed to make up an exam, depending on the nature of the absence. If you know in advance that you will not be able to make a scheduled exam, I may allow you to arrange to take an exam early, depending upon the individual situation. I may also ask to see documentation related to your absence before agreeing to allow for a make-up or early exam.
Writing assignments are expected to be handed in on time. Because I realize that “things” happen, you may hand in an essay (except for the final essay) up to seven days late, with a...
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