History 642

Proseminar in California History • Fall 2018

Two women pose next to a poster showing Ronald Reagan during his campain for California State Govenor, 1967 (Arnold Del Carlo Photograph Collection)

Tips and Other Resources

Six books, a couple of articles, and a primary-source research paper in 16 weeks. We'll be moving very quickly, so here are some tips and strategies to help. Utilize them early and often.

I am also a resource for you in this course. Feel free to drop by office hours or email me with questions that come up along the way. Please always allow at least 48 hours for a response. For additional academic counseling resources, see the contact page.

Finally, don't be concerned if you find the pace of this seminar to be a bit overwhelming at times. Get to know your classmates and swap emails. You can exchange notes, share thoughts, tackle questions, and offer one another fresh perspectives to bring to discussion.

Guide for Reading Secondary Texts

When tackling each week's assigned reading, consider the following questions:

  • What story is the author telling?
  • What are the questions the author seeks to answer?
  • What is the author's main argument?
  • What kinds of sources are used?
  • What questions are left unanswered?
  • What is your overall impression of the work?
  • What surprised you about this book?
  • Are you convinced?

Writing Resources

Taking on the challenge of writing a lengthy research paper can be daunting. Here are some manageable tasks that will help you get to the finish line.

Crafting a Paper Topic

This is the road map for your research paper. By honing a topic, you'll identify the questions you will ask, the sources you will rely on, and the main goals you hope to accomplish.

Practicing with a Source

Examine and then discuss one of your sources as if you were introducing it in the body of your final paper. This is a great way to practice defending an argument.

Outlining Your Paper

An outline is a way to separate your materials into categories that will structure your paper. It's also another effective way to break down the work of the paper into defined portions.

Writing a (Not Final) Draft

For the rough draft, just write. Try not to get hung up on the details until you've drafted at least a few pages. Once you have some ideas on paper, you'll have tackled one of the biggest challenges good writers face: getting started.

Offering and Accepting Constructive Feedback

Your feedback will certainly help your classmate make improvements to her draft. But reading a peer's writing will also help you improve your own draft, as you judge what works and what really doesn't. Accepting feedback is hard, no lie. But it's crucial to success!

About Plagiarism

According to a California University Student Code of Conduct: “Plagiarism is defined as use of intellectual material produced by another person without acknowledging its source, for example: 1) Wholesale copying of passages from works of others into your work without acknowledgment; 2) Use of views, opinions, or insights of another without acknowledgment; 3) Paraphrasing of another person’s characteristic or original phraseology, metaphor, or other literary device without acknowledgment.” In addition to this, the purchase of work from an essay writing service or the hiring of another person to write a paper or portion of a paper constitutes blatant plagiarism. For upper division seminar courses, I enforce a zero-tolerance policy. In other words, academic dishonesty will result in an “F” for the course and may lead to University action.

Brown Beret and Black Panther at the Alameda County Courthouse in Downtown Oakland at a 'Free Huey Newton' Rally, 1968 (Oakland Museum of California)