HSTY 345 Assignments

General Notes

  • Unless otherwise noted, all assignments should be submitted through Canvas by 8:30 a.m. on the date listed on the syllabus.
  • Work will be accepted up to seven days after the due date without any penalty. If you need an extension beyond that point, please get in touch with me at the earliest opportunity to discuss the situation.
  • No work will be accepted after the due date for the final exam except in cases where a specific arrangement has been agreed to in writing.
  • Full details for all assignments will be available on Canvas no less than two weeks before the due date.

Attendance and Participation (100 points)

Your attendance and participation are vital to your success in this course. You are expected to attend all course meetings and to come to class prepared. That is, you should have completed the assigned reading, have it available in class, and be prepared to participate actively in class discussion through comments and questions.

Obviously even under ordinary circumstances, life intervenes in a variety of ways. And these are no ordinary times. Whatever else you take from this section, please stay home if you are feeling unwell. Your health matters more than anything we will be doing this semester. As a policy, you may miss up to four class meetings for any reason (that is, without needing to provide excuse or explanation). For more than four absences, you will lose 3 points per absence. However, you may be exempt from penalties for absences involving health, child or other dependent care, family emergencies, or other similar circumstances. Please talk to me if you have concerns.

Quantitative Exercises (150 points)

These two short assignments will ask students to take quantitative data from the readings in order to reinterpret and/or explain it through a brief essay and a visual representation.

Scholarly Source Analyses (150 points)

One of the key skills for historians is reading scholarly sources to understand their arguments and how they fit within a broader literature on a topic. We will be using the standard form developed by the History Department for this purpose. There will be six opportunities during the semester for you to complete an analysis. On each of the dates listed, you will be able to choose one of two articles or book chapters to analyze. Please note that you have choices for this assignment!

  • All students are required to complete three analysis worksheets for 50 points each. For this required portion, your grade will include the three highest scores on the assignment.
  • You may earn extra credit by completing additional worksheets with a passing grade:
    • If you submit four worksheets, you will earn 20 additional points.
    • If you submit five worksheets, you will earn 40 additional points.
    • If you submit all six worksheets, you will earn 60 additional points.

My goal in offering extra credit is obviously to encourage you to complete additional analyses; it really is an important skill, and hopefully will have residual benefits for your work in other areas during the semester.

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Project (250 points)

During the first half of the semester, you will do original quantitative research using SlaveVoyages, the most extensive database of the trans-Atlantic slave trade (and one of the most storied digital resources in the historical profession). You will select a research question that allows you to extract evidence from the database and then write an essay that makes use of the quantitative evidence you have gathered.

Newspaper Advertising Project (250 points)

During the second half of the semester, you will do more original research, this time using the America’s Historical Newspapers database, which is available through Whittemore Library. This assignment will also have a quantitative component to help you develop those research skills.

Final Reflection (100 points)

For your final submission, you will have a choice. You may simply write a reflection based on a prompt, or you may choose to revise one of the two research projects based on the comments you received.