Course Description & Requirements
There will be three formal class meetings a week.
- I will lecture on Mondays and Wednesdays.
- Your discussion section will meet once a week Thursdays. SECTIONS WILL MEET THE FIRST Wed. and THURSDAY OF CLASS, January 20 and 21.
- Discussion Sections will be organized around assigned readings, a feature film, and materials available in each Viewing America Unit.
- All of the films will be avaialable approximately one week before section. They can be streamed, but the streaming instructions vary by film. To see the streaming instructions please click on the films tab at the top of the site
Attendance and Partcipation
Attendance at lectures and discussion sections is required. You are also required to complete each week's reading and viewing assignments before each discussion section. The reading for the course includes assigned books (which are available at the university book store and on reserve), articles (which are available electronically, primary source documents, background material, and graphs and charts included in each Unit. With the exception of the first discussion section, there will be a brief quiz at the start of each discussion section to ensure that you have been staying up with the reading and viewing. Your quiz grades will be part of your overall participation grade.
Reading, Viewing, and Listening
The reading assigned for the course averages about one hundred and twenty-five pages a week. In addition to the reading for the course, a feature length film will be assigned each week.
In place of a traditional five to seven page paper, and continuing with the course theme of "Viewing America," students are asked to write a series of five Visual ID's based on images and video clips. Students will be presented with ten images and clips relevant to materials presented in course readings, films, web sources, and lectures. Choosing FIVE, they will write a page-long caption for each, that dates, describes, and identifies the action and individuals presented within the context of the course.
Students should indicate the relevance of the images'/clips' subjects to broad themes discussed in the course, conducting close readings of the images as they would with written passages or concepts presented for identification. Consider the audience for the caption an informed member of the general public encountering the image as part of a book or exhibit discussing America from 1940 to 1980.
Each image/clip is to be treated individually, though students may reference or compare Visual ID's if they discern relevant themes that link them. The images and clips may include materials already presented to the class and visuals unfamiliar to students. Some may be obscure, while it is likely one or more may be iconic images from the era. Students are encouraged to creatively analyze the images and make links among multiple course themes.
The paper will be due at midnight, March 23.
There will be an in-class mid-term exam and final exercise. The Mid-term will be on Wed., March 2, the Final Exam will be on May 5, 9am-12pm if the student chooses to take it.
Create Your Own Unit (CYOU)
During your first section meeting, you will be divided into CYOU Project Teams. Each CYOU Project Team will consist of around ten members and be tasked with creating its own unit to add to the Viewing America website. Teams may choose to design their units around the theme of their choice. Before deciding on a particular theme, however, teams should have thought through the following questions:
- Does your theme fall within the period covered by the class?
- Does your theme complement the other twelve units of the Viewing America website?
- Why is this particular theme important?
- Why should the class know more about it? That is, why does this theme matter?
The project teams that can answer these questions most convincingly will be the most successful. Once a theme has been chosen, teams will have to begin preparing their unit by creating their own website. Each team will elect a team leader and assign responsibility for each component of the unit. Each memeber of the team should sign his or her name to the portion of the assignment that they are personally responsible for.
Deadlines for CYOU
- Email a Word document (attached) of your Executive Summary to your TA by Midnight Monday, February 15.
- Oral report of CYOU progress due in section the week of April 4.
- A CD / DVD burned version of your completed CYOU site is due 12 pm Friday, April 22. They must be submitted to Justin McBrien's Mailbox in the Nau Hall, Room 396.
- Each CYOU team will also make a group presentation in section of their project and argument.
- Your completed website must also be posted by 12 pm Friday, April 22.
- The class will vote to determine which of the CYOU student projects is the best. The winning plan will be used as the basis for the lecture on Wednesday, April 27.
- Everyone must vote on their favorite CYOU before Midnight Sunday, April 24.
- A voting system will be available here: ______ when projects are completed.
- To read the CYOU Project Guidelines, click here.
- To view past CYOU submissions in the CYOU Library, click here.
20% - Writing Assignment
20% - Midterm Exam
20% - CYOU Project and Presentation
15% - Participation (including section quiz grades)
25% - Final Exam*
I welcome your feedback. I have changed the course every year in response to student comments. I hope that you will visit me during office hours, catch me before of after class, or before or after sections when I visit yours. You can e-mail me at email@example.com or relay your comments through your TAs.