HIST 490: Senior Seminar – Fall 2005


Faculty:  Section 490.01 (Wednesday 1:10-4pm, Treleaven 101)
Eliza Ablovatski Office Seitz 5
Office hours: T 2-4:30pm, Th 10am-12pm and appt.
PBX: 5892
Email: ablovatskie@kenyon.edu
Class Email: hist49001f04@kenyon.edu

Section 490.02 (Tuesday 7-10pm, Treleaven 101)
Will Scott  

Acland 23
Office hours: M 11, MWF 9 and 11
PBX: 5316
Email: scott@kenyon.edu

Class Email: hist49002f04@kenyon.edu



This seminar is the culmination of your history major at Kenyon.  The research paper you produce in this seminar is an important part of the portfolio that you will submit for your senior exercise.  After this course is over, you will substantively revise it to include in this portfolio.  The revisions you will do are not “corrections” of the paper you will turn in for this class, but rather you will be asked to envision your work from another angle, in a different format, or with insights from a new source or sources.  One of the goals of this class is to prepare you to do just that.


To this end, we will work together to master the basic skills of historical research and writing: formulating a research question, devising and carrying out a research strategy, identifying and using relevant sources, defending and revising your argument, and a t every step, writing clearly and effectively.  At the same time that you are learning and practicing these skills, you will also be helping your classmates do the same by reviewing and critiquing each others work and learning from one another.


Requirements and Class Policies

This is a collective endeavor. Each of you will be researching a totally different topic, but the work will be done as a group as well. You should come to class prepared to answer questions about your own work, share ideas, discuss some shared readings, and help each other articulate and achieve common goals.

Attendance: is essential and required. If you will need to miss a class, you MUST inform your professor in advance. More than two absences will result in failure to pass the class. In the case of an emergency, contact your professor and the Dean of Students about how to proceed. Attendance and participation in the CONFERENCE (Saturday, December 10th) is a course requirement; arrange your schedule accordingly early on.

Late Assignments: will not be tolerated. In a collective effort such as ours, it is extremely discourteous to the others who will be reading your work to turn it in late. Late work will severely affect your grade. If you need to submit something late because of an emergency, you must consult your professor and the Dean of Students. 

Honor Code and Lateness Policy: Please read the Kenyon College policy “Academic Honesty and Questions of Plagiarism” in the Course of Study carefully. It is expected that all work that you turn in for this course is your own and that you will follow the general guidelines of academic honesty, as well as the norms of the historical profession for citation, when writing for this class. Any questionable work or cases of possible infractions of the Honor Code will be turned over to the Academic Infractions Board. You will receive a “zero” for any plagiarized work. In order to be fair to all students, late work will be marked down for each day that it is late and will not be accepted after one week. 

Note on Disabilities: If you have a disability and therefore may need some sort of accommodation(s) in order to fully participate in this class, please let me know. In addition, you will need to contact Erin Salva, Coordinator of Disability Services (x5145). Ms. Salva has the authority and expertise to decide what accommodations are appropriate and necessary for you.



Library and Technology Requirements


Library:  We have scheduled two sessions for you with Mary Stettner, the history department liaison in the library.  Mary’s hours at the reference desk are: Mondays -- 10am-12pm and Thursdays -- 6pm-10pm.  You may also email her at any time for help with history resources and ask any other librarians to help you.  Mary’s email is: stettnerm@kenyon.edu.


Segue: There is an electronic version of the syllabus and a class website on segue (segue.kenyon.edu – log in with your network id and select “Hist 490”).  We will be using segue for electronic distribution and evaluation of drafts.  It is a course requirement to learn this technology and to both distribute your own drafts on segue and to use the discussion board to comment on other students’ work.


Required Texts: the following books have been ordered at the bookstore

·        Kate Turabien, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (sixth edition)

·        Wayne C. Booth, et. al., The Craft of Research (second edition)


Assignments and Grade Composition:

Class Participation and Professionalism (25%)

Class Participation and attendance are mandatory; students should arrive in class on time and prepared to discuss their own and their classmates' work.  Students are expected to learn and follow the norms of historical scholarship, as well as the Kenyon Honor Code. They should show respect to classmates and the professor, turn in all work on time, address problems as they arise, and learn the necessary technologies (including segue) for full participation in the course. 

Conference Presentation (15%)

At the end of the semester both sections of History 490 will hold a joint research conference at which all seniors will present their own research topic in front of their peers, the history department and guests.  Both classes will be involved in the planning and organization of the conference and participation is required.

Portfolio Paper (10%)

A 5-7 page paper based on 3 scholarly articles about the student’s thesis topic.  The articles will be handed in and made available to the class (or linked to segue if they are from electronic databases).  The paper will analyze the authors’ arguments, their evidence and sources, and will put the three arguments into historiographical context.

Paper Drafts (50%)

This includes the grade for each draft as well as consideration of your editing work and improvements as you progress.

Preliminary Draft (D1)
-First 10-12 pages, including introduction and discussion of problem.
Due Friday October 21

Second (full) Draft (D2)
-20 pages, should observe the stylistic mechanics of a research paper. Due Friday November 11

Final Paper (D3) 
 -Final, polished paper, 25 pages.
Due on or before Sunday, December 18th by 4pm.



Schedule of classes:



Tuesday, August 30/Wednesday, August 31 – Introduction & Brainstorming: What makes a good argument?

            Prepare:  Booth, chapters 3 and 4+ (p. 37-71)

            In class:  Booth assignment, p. 56 (finding a topic)



September 6/7 – Thinking about Research/Finding a Topic

Prepare:  5 pages (~1250 words) of writing on proposed topic based on at least 3 sources (one primary!) handed in on paper and placed on h:/drive

In class: 7 important qualities of historical research and writing



September 13/14 – Library Session with Mary Stettner (Chalmers classroom!)

                        Prepare:  Booth, chapters 5 and 6+ (p. 72-107)                     

In class: segue course page, research skills, library resources



September 20/21 – Library Session with Mary Stettner (Chalmers classroom!)

Prepare:  Post own 5 pages to segue and respond to all others constructively; read Booth, chapters 7-10.

                        In class: research and resources; primary sources



September 27/28no class – Individual consultations with professor

Prepare: Annotated bibliography due at meeting (must include at least 5 articles on topic from databases, microfilm and academic journals as well as 3 books and a description of available primary sources); please *star* the articles you will use for the portfolio paper


September 30 (Friday) – Portfolio papers due (posted to segue and handed in on paper) by 4pm



October 4/5 – Discussion of works in progress in small groups

            Prepare:  read assigned group of portfolio papers and respond on segue

                        In class: critique of three papers in groups


October 11/12 – Reading Day, no class



October 18/19 – Drafting a thesis

Prepare:  Booth, chapter 12+ (p. 185-207)

                        In class: discussion of works in progress, problems

October 21 (Friday): Draft 1 (10-12 pages) due (on segue and on paper) by 4pm



October 25/26 – Draft 1 discussion

Prepare:  read assigned group of papers and respond on segue

            In class: critique of three papers in groups



November 1/2no class: meetings with professor and/or library staff as needed



November 8/9no class: meetings with professor and/or library staff as needed



November 11 (Friday) – Draft 2 (20-25 pages) due (on segue and on paper) by 4pm



November 15/16 –Draft 2 discussions

Prepare:  read assigned group of papers and respond on segue

            In class: critique of three papers in groups



November 22/23Thanksgiving Break, no class



November 29/30 – discussion of concentrations & relation to project/senior exercise

Prepare:  bring concentration form to class

                        In class: conference planning


December 6/7 – revising and editing

Prepare: Booth, chapter 13-14+ (p. 208-240)

                        In class: editing workshop and conference planning





Sunday, December 18 Final Draft Due (25 pages) to professor by 4pm