This course covers the social history of Europe from about 1500 to 1950. Its goal is to allow upper-division students to examine how the "great events" of Western civilization - the Reformation, the Industrial Revolution, etc. - affected the lives of ordinary European men and women. This course, therefore, does assume that students have taken Western Civilization II.
3 exams, worth 25% each.
Research paper, worth 25%.
The course is divided into three parts. At the end of each section there will be an exam, primarily an essay exam. Each exam will cover only the readings and lectures in that section of the course, although the third exam - the final - may contain a broad question inclusive of the entire course.
The objective of this paper is for you to develop advanced research skills. The paper will be on an "everyday life" topic, dealing with social history, popular culture, etc. Ideally the paper topic will arise out of something you’ve always wondered about, or have an interest in. You must focus on Europe (although you will probably focus on just one country) and be within the time frame of the course, although for some topics you may extend past 1950 to the present. You will probably want to begin with a broad area of interest (i.e., clothing, hunting, music) and then narrow it down (i.e., hats or shoes or cleaning clothes; hunting laws or rifles; popular songs or professional singers.) In your paper, be sure to relate changes in your specific topic to the wider historical context.
BE WARNED! A research paper like this is NOT the kind where you can check out a bunch of books the week before it is due and write an acceptable paper. You will have to dig; much of what you will be looking for will be in parts of books (learn to work a book’s index if you haven’t already), or in articles in scholarly journals. Several journals which are good are: The Journal of Popular Culture, The Journal of the History of Ideas, History Today, Sixteenth-Century Studies, Renaissance Quarterly, The Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Eighteenth-Century Studies, Victorian Studies, Journal of British Studies, Victorian Studies, Past & Present. Make use of the reference librarians! They can help you conduct computer searches of journals and find more specialized journals. You will probably need to track down the footnotes in one book or article to find more information on your topic.
This paper counts for 25% of your final grade, and the quality of your research is a very important component in the grade you receive. You should have a minimum of 7 sources, of which at least one must be a primary source and no more than one may be an Internet source. (Obviously, you may use more than one Internet source if you have more than seven sources.) In order to be counted, a source must not only be listed in your bibliography, but cited in your paper. Examples of primary sources for the topics mentioned above (clothing, hunting, music) would be: a 19th century fashion magazine or a 16th-century law on clothing; hunting laws or an account of poaching in a newspaper; actual lyrics of a 17th-century ballad or an 18th-century sermon against "lewd tunes." Legal statutes, newspapers & magazines, novels, autobiographies, prescriptive books (i.e., "how to" books) are all good primary sources for social history which are fairly easily accessible.
Because this paper is so important - and will take some effort and planning on your part - I would like for each of you to think about a topic, preferably in the form of a question, and hand it in no later than Tuesday, October 5. This is both to let me assist you in finding materials, and to make sure that you have found a topic and that the resources are there for you to research it.
The paper is due Tuesday, November 30.
Late papers will be penalized 5 points off for each weekday (not class day) late and ABSOLUTELY NO PAPERS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3.
Academic Policies: Students should refer to the current MSU Student Handbook and Activities Calendar and the MSU Undergraduate Bulletin for university policies on academic dishonesty, class attendance, student rights and activities. Students with disability must be registered with Disability Support Services before classroom accommodations can be provided. Please inform the instructor if you are a student with a disability and need accommodations for this class.
THIS CLASS IS A NO CELL PHONE ZONE! (This includes texting and browsing, too.)