Capstone Experience (HIST 352 and 452)

Junior Tutorial (History 352)

The junior tutorial provides a formal introduction to the study of history at an advanced level. The seminar interrogates the question: What do historians do? It does so by exploring three interrelated questions: a) What approaches or categories do historians employ to study the past? b) How do historians talk to each other? c) How do historians write history?  These questions are investigated with reference to texts, both ancient and modern, chosen at the individual instructor's discretion, that allow students to gain an appreciation for multiple categories of historical analysis (eg: gender-based, environmental, materialist, military, cultural); for the practice of historiography; for the multiple categories of source materials and the methods involved in selecting, processing, and evaluating historical evidence; and for the varied rhetorical or narrative styles of history writing. In addition, the seminar asks students to engage in a substantial amount of writing, on both individual and multiple texts. Students must pass the junior tutorial in order to be eligible for the senior seminar.

Senior Research and Writing Seminar (History 452)

HIST 452 Syllabus Sample

The senior seminar, which is designated as writing-intensive, asks senior history majors to enter fully into the field of history by making a coherent, well-researched, and well-supported contribution to the field in the form of a substantial (7,500 word minimum) research paper and bibliographical essay that a) advances a lucid argument, b) engages with a body, or several bodies, of historiography, and c) interrogates deeply a wide range of primary sources. The seminar will guide students towards this goal, through individual, group, and class work, by emphasizing the multiple steps required in such a serious undertaking. These steps include the articulation of a clear and effective research question, the gathering of secondary and primary sources, the choices and opportunities involved in different writing styles, and the necessity of multiple drafts, especially a formal rough draft that will be due two thirds of the way through the semester. The seminar instructor will provide substantial assistance to students at every step of the research and writing process, including extensive comments on the rough draft.

Students will need a grade of C or better on their senior research paper to be eligible to undertake an oral presentation and defense. In awarding a grade lower than C, the seminar instructor will consult with at least one other member of the history department. Such students will be given a specific set of recommendations for revision. Once their papers have reached a C-level, they will be eligible for the oral presentation and defense. Each student will have the opportunity to present their paper in a condensed form to a panel of history department members, who will then engage the student in a question and answer period. The presentation and defense will be graded on a Pass/Fail/Distinction basis.

In order to minor in history, students must complete five courses above the 100 level, excluding History 352. No comprehensive examination is required.