History 121

United States since Reconstruction • Spring 2018

George Benjamin Luks, Street Scene (Hester Street), 1905

Assignments and Grading

Your success in this course depends upon strong, thoughtful work in each of the following:

  • Midterm = 20%
  • Essay = 20%
  • Final Exam = 30%
  • Friday Reflections = 20%
  • Class Participation = 10%

Below you'll find details for each of these requirements. Be sure to dates for scheduled quizzes and exams. Please note: make-up exams are rarely granted and only with official, written documentation. No make-ups for quizzes.


Students will write a 5 - 7 page paper on class readings and films. Papers must be typed, double-spaced, properly footnoted, and submitted in hard copy. Details will be offered in class.

Midterm and Final Exam

Both exams will include short identifications and essay questions. Both will cover course readings, lecture material, and films. The final exam will be cumulative.

Friday Reflections

Friday classes will be online activities that you can complete anytime before the following Monday’s lecture. These activities will range from Mediasite lectures, films, primary source analysis, and essay preparation exercises. Each activity will require a short, half-page reflection. There will be 10 total, with each worth 2 points. All Reflections must be submitted on iLearn by the start of the following Monday’s lecture. Late Reflections will not be accepted.

Class Participation

Regular attendance and active participation are not only critical to ensuring that we have a rich and lively learning environment, but they are also a requirement in this course. Come to class prepared to share your perspectives, ask questions, and engage with your fellow classmates in discussions and group activities.

Classroom Policies

About Disturbing Material

American history, when studied with precision and depth, is messy. In order to examine difficult questions about this country’s past, historians must engage with all kinds of material, including material that’s upsetting. This class will expose you to the concepts, viewpoints, expressions, and images of previous eras. Some of it will be challenging. Your decision to enroll in this course is considered a voluntary agreement to participate in classes where you may encounter this kind of material. However, if a class provokes feelings of trauma or panic, you may step out of the room without penalty. Just remember that you will still be responsible for any class content you miss.


We will always begin promptly, so please arrive on time. Also, DO NOT pack up and begin to leave before lecture is over. Besides being a distraction to your classmates and to me, you will miss the important points that I save for the end. If you have an unusual situation that requires you to arrive late or leave early, please sit in the back of the room and aim to leave out of the back door.

Electronic Devices

I ask that students DO NOT use laptops or electronic tablets for note taking. Studies show that note taking with paper and pen maximizes learning. Plus, electronics can distract other students (and the professor). If you need digital copies of your notes, you can snap a photo of written notes later. If you have a disability or other learning need that requires you to use a device in lecture, please let me know and we'll work it out. Always silence cell phones before class, and stow them away. Please note: Please note: I do not allow audio recording of lectures except with DPRC authorization. Absolutely no video recording.

Discussion Etiquette

When participating in class discussion, do be courteous and respectful. At times we will venture into topics that may spark debate. Diverse perspectives are always encouraged, but when disagreeing, please always strive to be generous and open-minded rather than dismissive.

Missed Exams and Extensions

I will not make arrangements for make-up exams except for those who have a valid emergency. Routine illnesses, commute troubles, travel plans, work-related conflicts, printer failure, etc. are not considered emergencies. Remember, exams are scheduled well in advance, so be sure to check the class schedule and plan accordingly. No extensions for Friday Reflections.

Henry Sugimoto, Our Mess Hall, 1942