Topics: History, Historiography, Academia Pages: 13 (2294 words) Published: April 18, 2014
HIST 217 Fall Semester 2011

Fall Semester 2011
History H-217: The Nature of History (15471)
Tuesdays 3:00PM-5:40PM
Cavanaugh Hall 215
Professor Modupe Labode
Office: 420 Cavanaugh Hall
Telephone: 317-274-3829
Office Hours: Tuesdays, 1-2; Thursdays 1-3, and by appointment. Mailbox: 504M Cavanaugh Hall

Course Description: This course is an introduction to the study of history. Readings and discussion will explore the sources that historians use to interpret history and construct narratives. The course introduces students to the concepts, methods, and problems, associated with “doing history”; philosophies of history; and competing interpretations of the past. The course is a regular offering of the History Department and is required for the Museum Studies Certificate and by the School of Education for those pursuing secondary education degrees with a social studies concentration.

The first section of the course will examine the elements of history: its development in the western tradition; shared assumptions which make history “history,” and the nature of historical sources. The second section of the course will look at case studies of historical interpretation and sources. The third section of the class looks at alternative ways of presenting history— particularly public history—and history’s meanings in broader society. Course Objectives: At the end of the course, students will be able to discuss the shared assumptions on which historical analysis is based, including causality (cause-effect); chronology; objectivity as a contested ideal; and interpretation. Students will be able to describe the basic types of sources on which historical research is based and evaluate these sources. Students will also be able to trace the growth of specialized fields of historical research; explain some of the shared assumptions of public history; describe the basics of historical research and writing; and analyze ethics of historical writing and interpretation.

Texts: Texts are available at local bookstores. Electronic versions of the texts may be available. Please finish the reading before the class begins.


Oncourse Readings: Check the “Resources” section of Oncourse for posted readings.

HIST 217 Fall Semester 2011

John H. Arnold, History: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000). ISBN: 978-0-19-285352-3

James West Davidson and Mark Hamilton Lytle, After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection, 6th Edition (New York: McGraw Hill, 2010) ISBN: 978-0-07-336548-8

Course Requirements: Students are expected to:

Complete assigned reading and web visits

Attend class Participate in class discussions

Complete assignments and exams on time. Late assignments may be penalized.

In order to complete the course successfully, you must finish all of the assigned work by the last day of the semester. If you do not complete all of the required work, I reserve the right to give you an “F” for the semester.

Principles of Undergraduate Learning: This course, like all IUPUI history courses, focuses on the following Principle of Undergraduate Learning (PUL):

Understanding Society and Culture: “The ability of students to recognize their own cultural traditions and to understand and appreciate the diversity of the human experience: a.) compare and contrast the range of diversity and universality in human history, societies, and ways of life; b.) analyze and understand the interconnectedness of global and local communities; and c.) operate with civility in a complex world.” This class also emphasizes the “Critical Thinking” PUL:

Critical Thinking: “The ability of students to engage in a process of disciplined thinking that informs beliefs and actions. A student who demonstrates critical thinking applies the process of disciplined thinking by remaining open-minded, reconsidering previous...
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