History 101:  Western Thought since 1600
Hasbrouck Lab 126 - MW 11:15-12:05

Goals:

 

From this class you should gain a better understanding of the development of Western Thought and therefore a better understanding of the historical path that has contributed to a solid (albeit diverse) set of shared ideals.  Equally important, however, this course aims to develop your ability to think critically – to read and think about complex historical issues beyond the simple facts of the case. Certainly the facts are important, and the exams and papers will make sure that you are learning them.  But beyond that, you will learn to think like an historian, trying to understand not only the ‘what’ of history, but also the ‘why’.  You will then need to be able to express your views and interpretations in a clear, logical, and readable manner.  Working with primary sources is a critical feature of this course. The reading load is rather heavy, but it is necessary in order to have you engage the past actively and to expose you to a wide variety of intellectual ideas and viewpoints.

 

Expectations:

 

To succeed in this class you will need to keep up with the reading, participate actively in class discussions, and be prepared for exams on the specified dates. If at any time you are having difficulties with the material or the assignments, or just need to talk, please do not hesitate to contact your Teaching Assistant or come see me during office hours.

 

Attendance: I expect you to be here. You will do yourself a great disservice by not attending class – you will miss material and interpretations from that day’s presentation as well as the opportunity to ask questions and otherwise interact with your classmates – an important part of the learning process.  There are occasionally good reasons to miss class (religious holidays, medical mishaps, family emergencies, athletic & musical contests); you do not need to keep me or your TA informed of the details. However, if you miss more than three (3) discussion sections, your final grade will drop one full letter. If you miss more than five (5) discussion sections, I strongly suggest you drop the course, because otherwise you will fail automatically. This is only reasonable: why should you earn college credit if you miss a substantial portion of the semester?

Conduct in class: You may drink any non-alcoholic beverage that suits your fancy. Please refrain from eating and from chewing tobacco. Also, turn off cell phones and other electronic messaging devices before class.

Laptops may be used for the sole purpose of taking notes in class. Any other use (such as instant messaging, emailing, surfing the web or like activities) will cause you to lose this privilege.

Special needs: The University of Massachusetts is firmly dedicated to making a college education available to all students with the appropriate academic preparation, regardless of physical or other conditions. If you are entitled to special arrangements in order to fulfill the course requirements, please bring verification from the Office of Disabilities within the first two weeks of class.