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History 410 
Spring 2010
Professor Putman

Gateway | Schedule and Readings |Links

U.S. History for Teachers II

The past is intelligible to us only in the light of the

      present; and we can fully understand the present only in

      the light of the past. ...Edward Hallet Carr, Historian  

Readings | Assignments and Grading |Class Expectations

History 410 is a modern American history course designed to help future teachers understand the discipline of history in order to convey it effectively to secondary students. This course will explore the major historical issues, themes, and debates of American history from Reconstruction to the new millennium. It will examine, in particular, the reconstruction of the nation following the Civil War, the rise and impact of the industrial revolution, the changing fortunes of farmers, workers, and women at the turn of the century, race and ethnicity, American imperialism and foreign relations, Progressivism, the Roaring 20s and Depression 30s, the Age of FDR from New Deal to World War, the Cold War, politics, culture, and society in the 1950s and 60s, the rise of New Right, and America at the end of the Cold War.

This course is not designed, however, to outline or enumerate the content of modern American history (i.e. the who, what, and when), but rather it is intended to explore and analyze the meaning of our nation’s past (the why). We will do so by engaging, analyzing, and discussing primary documents, essays by historians, films, and other appropriate material. The class begins with the premise that to teach history one must know the discipline—that is, what historians do, and how they do it—and appreciate its significance to American society. Because it is structured as a professional preparatory course, the Department of History expects enrolled students to have the same seriousness of purpose as beginning graduate students in history. If you do not wish to read for class and are not willing to participate in classroom discussions, I suggest that you find another class.


James West Davidson, After the Fact, 6 th edition, Vol. 2 (2010)
Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman and Jon Gjerde, Major Problems in American History, Vol. 2 (2007)
Virginia Scharff, Taking the Wheel
Bradley Wright, Comic Book Nation

         Additional readings and documents will be available online or on Electronic Reserves.



Grades will be based on a variety of writing assignments, a group Facebook project, an in-class group lesson plan presentation, and class participation totaling 500 points. You must turn in every assignment or else you will receive an F for the course. In addition, because class discussions are a crucial part of this course, attendance is required. Missing more than 9 classes will result in a F for the course!


imageTextbook analysis:                                                               50 points

Group Lesson Plan:                                                             50 points

image Teachable Unit:                                                                75 points
image Group Facebook page (web site &  proposal):                      75 points total

Primary Source Research Paper:                                           75 points

image Class participation/Journal:                                                    100 points
image Reflections Essay::                                                              50 points


A brief note on grades:  A student will earn an “A” for only excellent and outstanding work.  A “B” represents very good work, which means more than just doing the job.  A “C” is given to those who demonstrate adequate competence and satisfactory completion of assignments.  “D” work is that which fails to demonstrate competence and/or fails to fully complete the assignment.  I don’t think I need to explain the meaning of an “F” to you. Finally, I always assume that each student puts his or her full effort into an assignment, so please don’t try to make a case for a higher grade based on how much time and effort you put into an assignment.  I can only grade performance not effort.  

Student Learning Goals:

1. Students will understand and analyze the major themes and issues in modern American History and the historical forces that have shaped them.
2. Students will investigate and perform activities concerning the teaching of US History in a secondary school.
3. Students will explore and critically analyze both primary and secondary source material.
4. Students will probe the nature of historical interpretation.
5. Students will undertake historical research using primary source material and improve writing skills.


Expectations and Class Participation:

I expect you to have the readings finished and be prepared to discuss them in class.

Late papers will be graded down one full grade for each day late (two grades if a weekend).

On every writing assignment, I expect clear, effective prose (writing) with correct grammar, spelling, complete sentences, correct verb tense, etc… If you are unsure, please consult a writing guide.

Group presentations depend on the full effort and participation of all group members. Any student or students that appear not to have participated fully may receive a lower grade than the final group presentation grade.

Because this course is a professional preparatory course, which will affect your ability to teach history in a successful and effective manner, I expect you to put your full effort into the class.

Finally, please consider the old adage: you only get out of it what you put into it.

SDSU Academic Honesty Policy:

Institutions of higher education are founded to impart knowledge, seek truth, and encourage one’s development for the good of society. University students shall thus be intellectually and morally obliged to pursue their course of studies with honesty and integrity. Therefore, in preparing and submitting materials for academic courses and in taking examinations, a student shall not yield to cheating or plagiarism, which not only violate academic standards but also make the offender liable to penalties explicit in Title 5.

Cheating shall be defined as the act of obtaining or attempting to obtain credit for academic work by the use of dishonest, deceptive, or fraudulent means. Examples of cheating include, but are not limited to (a) copying, in part or in whole, from another’s test or other examination; (b) discussing answers or ideas relating to the answers on a test or other examination without the permission of the instructor; (c) obtaining copies of a test, an examination, or other course material without the permission of the instructor; (d) using notes, cheat sheets, or other devices considered inappropriate under the prescribed testing condition; (e) collaborating with another or others in work to be presented without the permission of the instructor; (f) falsifying records, laboratory work, or other course data; (g) submitting work previously presented in another course, if contrary to the rules of the course; (h) altering or interfering with the grading procedures; (i) plagiarizing, as defined; and (j) knowingly and intentionally assisting another student in any of the above.
Plagiarism shall be defined as the act of incorporating ideas, words, or specific substance of another, whether purchased, borrowed, or otherwise obtained, and submitting same to the University as one’s own work to fulfill academic requirements without giving credit to the appropriate source. Plagiarism shall include but not be limited to (a) submitting work, either in part or in whole, completed by another; (b) omitting footnotes for ideas, statements, facts, or conclusions that belong to another; (c) omitting quotation marks when quoting directly from another, whether it be a paragraph, sentence, or part thereof; (d) close and lengthy paraphrasing of the writings of another; (e) submitting another person’s artistic works, such as musical compositions, photographs, paintings, drawings, or sculptures; and (f) submitting as one’s own work papers purchased from research companies. Those guilty of committing plagiarism or cheating will receive an F for both the assignment and the entire course.

“Students agree that by taking this course all required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to Blackboard’s SafeAssign for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers will be included as source documents in the SafeAssign reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers. You may submit papers in such a way that no identifying information about you is included. Another option is that you may request, in writing, that your papers not be submitted to SafeAssugn. However, if you choose this option you will be required to provide documentation to substantiate that the papers are your original work and do not include any plagiarized material.”