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Jacqueline Jones, Chair 128 Inner Campus Dr., Stop B7000, GAR 1.104 Austin, TX 78712-1739 • 512-471-3261

Summer 2005

HIS s315L • United States Since 1865

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
85800 MTWThF
11:30 AM-1:00 PM

Course Description

This course covers the period in American history from the end of the Civil War to the election of George Bush in 1989. To make sense of such a sweeping view of history, the class will concentrate on four distinct but interrelated periods: 1865-1896, 1896-1920, 1920-1945, & 1945-1989. There will be exams covering the material from each of these periods and a comprehensive final exam. (See Exams below.) The subtitle of this course is An Interpretive History of Life in America, 1865-1989. The name was chosen for a reason. Despite having a reputation of being nothing more than a mess of names, dates, and places, history is, first and foremost, about people and how they lived their lives. It is about the factors that shaped their existence and the choices they made. Any attempt to write about the past, however, is fraught with danger, because a serious question always looms: how do we know that what we are writing is correct? The obvious answer is, we do not, and cannot, always know the correct answer. But we generally can make good guesses, often very perceptive ones. Consequently, history reflects one's interpretation of the past. Whether you are a professional historian or not, each individual makes her or his own choice about what in history is important to her or him. The purpose of this course is to provide students with a useful framework from which to interpret some of the important themes on life in America's past between the years 1865 and 1989.

Grading Policy

Students will take four Unit Exams. Each Unit Exam will cover a separate chronological period: 1865-1896, 1896-1920, 1920-1945, & 1945-1989. Each Unit Exam will have two parts: objective and essay. The objective section will count toward 20% of your Unit Exam grade. The essay section will count toward 80% of each Unit Exam grade. See the course schedule for the dates of each Unit Exam. There WILL be a Comprehensive Final Exam for this course. The Comprehensive Final Exam will consist ONLY of an extended essay section and will be factored into the students final grade as the equivalent of one Unit Exam. See the course schedule for the Final Examination date. The purpose of the exams is to test your ability to analyze the information contained in the required readings and the class lectures. Memorization will NOT be enough. In order to demonstrate your knowledge of the course materials, you must use clear, concise sentences. You must show that you can organize your thoughts and explain your reasoning. Good grammar, spelling, and punctuation are essential. These are the criteria on which your Unit Exam essay grade and Comprehensive Final Exam essay grade will be based. The instructor will keep any and all exams taken on the Final Examination date for one academic year following. Students may contact the instructor (see above) to pick up exams. Make-Up Exams Students who cannot attend class the date of any of the first three Unit Exams may have the opportunity to take a make-up exam. Students MUST contact the instructor BEFORE the scheduled date of the exam to arrange for a make-up exam. ONLY STUDENTS WHO RECEIVE PERMISSION FROM THE INSTRUCTOR MAY TAKE A MAKE-UP EXAM. Grading To earn an A: 1. You must average at least 90 on the four Unit Exams and on the Comprehensive Final exam. To earn a B: 1. You must average at least 80 on the four Unit Exams and on the Comprehensive Final exam. To earn a C: 1. You must average at least 70 on the four Unit Exams and on the Comprehensive Final exam. To earn a D: 1. You must average at least 60 on the four Unit Exams and on the Comprehensive Final exam. To earn an F: 1. You average less than 60 on the four Unit Exams and on the Comprehensive Final exam.


The text for this course is: James West Davidson, et al., Nation of Nations, vol 2, Since 1865, 5th edition (New York: McGraw Hill, 2005), ISBN 0072996331 Additional reading: Robert M. Utley, The Lance and the Shield: The Life and Times of Sitting Bull (New York: Ballentine, 1993), ISBN 0345389387; Upton Sinclair, The Jungle, Intro. by James R. Barrett (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), ISBN 0252014804; Richard Wright, Black Boy, Intro. by Jerry W. Ward, Jr. (New York: HarperPerennial, 1993), ISBN 006092782; Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi (New York: Dell, 1968), ISBN 0440314887. Most class meetings will have a reading assignment. See the course schedule for the reading assignments. It is essential to complete the assigned reading prior to each class. The reading is designed to provide you with the background necessary to understand the lectures. Lectures will build on the material contained in reading and NOT merely repeat the same information.


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