DANBY | BIS 363 SYLLABUS
Fall Quarter, 2006, Monday and Wednesday 11:00-1:05, UW1-202
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Office Hours Monday through Thursday 10:00-11:00 AM, and by appointment.
How has the history of the
This is a core course in the American Studies concentration, and is structured by these ideas:
Knowledge-production: You will learn how to figure things out for yourself and how others have produced knowledge of their own. We will stress research, inquiry, and research questions. We will also stress close, careful reading of historical texts as a way to seek answers to questions and generate new questions.
Comparison: We will compare the cases of
Mexicoand in order to notice similarities and highlight differences. While both countries are intrinsically interesting, we will try to step back from those specific cases to consider larger patterns. Cuba
Overlapping nations: This is also a class about the
. We will see that in important ways both United States of America Cubaand Mexicooverlap with the , and it is not always clear where one nation ends and the other begins. (In some of your courses this may be called "transnationalism.") United States
Most essentially, this class consists of a series of structured research tasks, which will produce a research paper at the end of the class. Your individual tasks will also be coordinated with a larger research cluster. The purposes of the cluster are to (a) help individual members with their research (b) take on certain small tasks in facilitating classroom discussion throughout the course (c) conceptualize and facilitate an hour of class during the last two weeks of the course.
Here is an initial listing of proposed cluster areas, with a few sample starting questions for each. We are not limited to these areas, and their definitions can change, but it seems best to start with specific examples of what clusters might do. You should begin thinking about which of these areas interest you. Clusters will be 4-6 people. I will set them up, based on people's declared interests, by October 16.
∑ Under what legal and material conditions is work done?
∑ How have the different
∑ What have been the effects of having substantial numbers of nationals working abroad?
∑ What are the legacies of slavery and other systems of forced labor?
Trade and commodities
∑ How is the nation's economy influenced by major commodity exports? To what degree is it vulnerable to changes in commodity process and what forms does that vulnerability take?
∑ How have the country's foreign relations been influenced by trade?
∑ What roles has tourism played in the national economy of each country?
∑ When Mexicans or Cubans talk about a national culture, what do they mean?
∑ What has been the role of government in promoting or defining national culture?
∑ In what ways and to what extent is national culture transnational, or hybrid? What are the politics of this? (What, for example, do people mean by Mexican or Cuban music?)
Politics and political institutions
∑ How have national political institutions developed over time?
∑ How do contemporary political institutions actually function? How do different people and groups maneuver within them? How, for example, do political parties work? What political roles do military institutions play?
∑ How have political institutions been influenced by foreign interests and foreign relations?
Foreign relations and neocolonialism
∑ How much room for maneuver do national governments have in constructing foreign relations?
∑ How have relations
∑ How do these countries relate to other countries in the region?
Race and ethnicity
∑ What roles have ideas of race and ethnicity played in the political process of nation-building, and in political divisions?
∑ What roles have
ideas of race and ethnicity played in how
∑ What do these terms mean in different contexts?
∑ Who owns land and/or has rights to land? How has the answer to this question changed over time? How has it affected the nation's politics?
∑ What roles does government play in the use of land and other natural resources?
∑ How are questions of environmental policy linked to who owns or has rights to land?
∑ What kinds of religious practice are widespread? Apart from declared affiliation, what roles do religious practice and belief play in people's lives?
∑ What are the relations between government and religious organizations?
∑ What are the relations between different religious organizations?
∑ What are the links between religion and colonialism?
What is the relation of these large areas to
your actual work? First, you will want to choose a topic for your individual
paper that is (a) comparative (that is which considers both
Note that in the syllabus, we will move historically. There are events in each historical period relevant to each of the topic areas listed above.
∑ E-responses: 10%
∑ Research worksheets 25%
∑ Paper 40%
∑ Turning in paper outline/bibliography and draft on time 5%
∑ Class and group participation, facilitations 20%
E-responses need to be posted by 9AM on the day of the class, and you are urged to post sooner than that, ideally the previous evening. You are expected to (a) contribute on time, (b) contribute thoughtfully, and (c) from time to time, comment thoughtfully on other people's postings. You are also welcome to post questions and ideas that are not related to the prompts that I post. My evaluation, therefore, will take into account (a) timeliness, (b) quality of content, (c) overall contribution to the e-discussion of the entire group.
Research worksheets need to be done on time, and thoughtfully. They will contain some questions that ask for reflection. Some of these worksheets will be started during one class session and then finished before the next class. You'll also need to be present in the relevant class sessions to do these.
The research paper will explore a specific
question for the cases of both
The assignment to hand in a complete draft of the research paper is intended to give you timely feedback, and to be sure that you are writing something that fits the assignment. You will get full credit on this as long as you submit a complete draft, with references, that is in reasonable shape.
Participation is assessed via individual and group worksheets and observation in class. To the extent possible, I try to assess work within groups individually, rather than assessing a group grade. I will ask you on worksheets to describe your own work in the group, and I will ask groups to conduct at least some of their discussion via group electronic discussion boards (which I will set up), so that some of the out-of-class interaction is visible.
More on Research Tasks
On October 4, we will meet in the library for some initial exploration of the scholarly literature in
On October 18, we will meet again in the library, this time in our research clusters, and do some structured work on actually finding scholarly research sources relevant to our topic. You will have a longer worksheet for this meeting, which I will collect from you at the beginning of the next week, which will ask you to assess a scholarly article that your group has found, and to come up with an initial idea for the question that your individual paper will pursue. There will probably also be a short group worksheet that will be handed in at the end of that session.
On November 1, we will have another meeting in the library on locating archival material. There will be a short in-class worksheet, and another, assessing an archival source, which will be due a couple of weeks later to allow you time to get hold of that source.
On November 13 I will ask individuals to submit a one-page sentence-based outline of their proposed research paper, and a short bibliography.
During the third through eighth weeks, I will set aside some parts of class time for cluster meetings. I will also ask clusters to report back to the whole class on what they are finding, and to provide their own reflections on class reading. As part of these activities, I may also ask clusters to write up quick in-class summaries of their work and thoughts.
On November 20 I will ask you to submit a draft paper.
In the ninth and tenth weeks clusters will do their facilitations. The term "facilitation" is designed to move us away from some of the associations we may have with the word "presentation." Most importantly, a facilitation is supposed to be interactive, to spark and encourage discussion. Think of it as puttig on a class discussion. The facilitations will last fifty minutes. Groups will also be asked to assign the class one short reading, post an e-response prompt, and to incorporate e-responses into their in-class facilitation.
Your individual paper will be due during exam week. Along with that I will ask for a self-assessment that will include reflection on the worksheets and research activities, both individually and in clusters.† In case it’s useful, here’s a copy of my grading worksheet for this paper.
I suggest that you choose an individual research topic that is related enough to your cluster's work so that you can benefit from the activities of the cluster. (For example, if your cluster ends up presenting about the comparative development of the Cuban and Mexican film industries, you might write a paper comparing one Mexican and one Cuban film.) But -- and this is important -- the discussion-facilitation presented by your cluster at the end of the quarter should be a coherent whole, not a series of individual reports.
Late work: The worksheets will be subject to my normal late-paper policy, which is that late submissions will be penalized 15% (of the total possible grade) up to the first week they are late; 30% thereafter. They will not be accepted after December 8. The final paper and worksheet are also subject to that policy, with the added proviso that if they are more than a couple of days late, I may not be able to read them at all. It's your responsibility to organize your life so work gets done on time, reliably. Please do not tell me about malfunctioning disks, printers, software, and so forth. There are no exceptions to the late-work policy -- there simply is no way that I can fairly assess the personal emergencies, job pressures, and other factors that impinge on different people's lives, and adjust their assignments accordingly. Please do not try to show me doctors' notes, court orders, or anything like that. There is however one appeal: if you feel that for any reason, part of your grade does not reflect your learning in the course, write me a short e-mail explaining why, and I will take that into account when assessing the final grade.
All assignments are due in class. The normal and most secure means of submitting work is on paper, delivered into my hands in the class when the assignment is due. I am also willing to accept work in e-mailed messages or as e-mailed attachments, but you send things this way at your own risk: I cannot take responsibility for server errors or for any of the other things that might go wrong between your attempt to send a file and my ability to print the thing out. If you are going to e-mail me assignments please consult these additional notes on sending things electronically.
There is no reason to tell me if you are going to miss class. However if a serious illness or personal emergency is going to affect course work over a week or more, please tell me so we can plan how to get you back on track as quickly as possible. For a few other points see Occasionally-Asked Questions
Our scheduled classes are times for work. Focusing on the task at hand is important for your own learning; it also makes you a better participant in small-group discussions and other activities that will help others learn. It is therefore expected that you will use class time for class work, and that you will not distract others from class work. This means, for example, avoiding private conversations, turning off cell phones, not having anything distracting happening on your laptop screen, and if you have to arrive late, walking in the back door as quietly as possible. It is my responsibility, and prerogative, to determine what is appropriate classroom behavior.
To request academic accommodations due to a
disability, please contact Disabled Student Services in the
You are reading a web document. It can be located by putting "danby" into the faculty directory accessible via the main uwb page, or by putting "colin danby" into a search engine like google. Changes in readings or assignments will be made on the web version, as well as being announced in class. If you miss classes you need to check for any modifications to assignments.
I find contact with students outside of class extremely useful in improving what I do in the classroom, and I encourage you to see the regular class time as only part of the service provided to you in this course. Please feel no hesitation about contacting me outside of class, about using the scheduled office hours, and about setting up meetings at other times. Aside from visiting during the scheduled office hours or chatting after class, the best way to get in touch is e-mail. I don't use voice mail.
This course includes writing, and it is assumed that written work is your own, and that when another person’s ideas or words are used they are fully acknowledged. This is what the UWB catalog says:
"Plagiarism is the use of the creations, ideas or words of someone else without formally acknowledging the author or source through the use of quotation marks, references, and the like. Plagiarizing is stealing someone’s work and presenting it as one’s own work or thought. Student work in which plagiarism occurs will ordinarily not be accepted as satisfactory by the instructor, and may lead to disciplinary action against the student submitting it. Any student who is uncertain whether his or her use of the work of others constitutes plagiarism should consult the course instructor for guidance before formally submitting the course work involved."
You must use quotation marks and references whenever you use someone else's writing, in any assignment. Mere paraphrase does not exempt you from this requirement. Please see these additional notes on plagiarism. All plagiarism cases will be turned over to the Vice Chancellor’s office.
Chomsky, Carr, and Smorkaloff, eds., The
Joseph and Henderson, eds., The
Think of these as reference books as well as sources of assigned reading. I am not going to assign a ton of reading. The selections are short, and I will usually ask you to read only a few for a class -- I am more interested in close, attentive reading than in "covering" everything imaginable. But whatever your interest, there will be additional items in these books relevant to your work. Please bring to class the reader for the country we are working on that week. You will see that we are doing
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