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Week 1.1: History of Slavery in the US: Course Introduction

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Leslie Schwalm

on 21 August 2018

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Transcript of Week 1.1: History of Slavery in the US: Course Introduction

History of Slavery in the U.S.

Crosslisted as
Readings and homework
Midterm & Final Exams--take-home essays
Reaching Professor Schwalm
Weekly Office Hours
Tues. 11-12 222 SH
Weds. 10-11 410 JB
Thurs. 2-3 410 JB

Email (48 hour turn-around)
Course Website
Course format: What to expect
Assigned readings for each meeting
Structured discussions
Questions always welcome
*Arrive on time

*Keep current with readings

*Your questions are important and always welcome

*Assignment due dates are FIRM

*Regular attendance and all assignments are
course components

*If you miss class, you are still responsible for material covered and announcements made

*Check ICON frequently for important course announcements

What it means to be a citizen of our class
I would like to hear from anyone who has a disability which may require some modification of seating, testing, or other class requirements so that appropriate arrangements may be made. Please contact me during my office hours.

1991 Ph.D., History, University of Wisconsin at Madison; dissertation on enslaved women and their experience of the Civil War; minor in African American Studies
Where are the books & readings?
Prairie Lights Bookstore (Downtown--Dubuque St.)

Take notes in longhand.

Review your lecture notes with a highlighter—what are the most important themes?

Use the study questions (in the course syllabus) to GUIDE you for each assigned reading

Read with a pen in your hand: be an active reader

Ask questions

Begin work on paper assignments early and ask for help

Use feedback from Writing Fellows to sharpen and improve your written work

Laptops can be used in back row
If you BUY the books, MAKE THEM YOURS.
WARNING: We sometimes cover a LOT of ground in one class meeting!
According to a recent study published in
Psychological Science
, “Students who took notes on laptops tended to transcribe the content verbatim." Those students took many more notes, but seemed to process what they heard much less. In a test taken a few minutes after completing the lecture, students who had taken notes using longhand performed much better. The difference was particularly striking on conceptual questions, where students had to take two pieces of information they’d heard in the lecture and synthesize them into a conclusion.
. .
I love to spend time in the archives doing research
The NYPL Central Reading Room is gorgeous!
Here's where I did my most recent research
Who are we this semester?
The National Police Archives in Guatamala--not so nice
Our Writing Fellows!!
Working with a Writing Fellow means you get to spend extra time thinking about your writing, learning about your writing, and learning how to sharpen and correct your own written work. This kind of peer feedback is invaluable to academic sucess!!!
Reading Responses
Reading responses will help you get more out of the assigned readings. In 1 to 1/2 single-spaced typed pages, tell me.....

1. What does it say?

In a few sentences, summarize the topic that the historian is investigating in this section you want to write about. Be sure you indicate the page or pages you are focused on. Don’t quote the author’s words—but stay as close as possible to what you think the author means here. What time and place is this part of the reading focused on? What kind of details or evidence does the historian present here? Is this part of the reading advancing an argument? Or describing a particular aspect of the experience of slaves or slave owners, or an aspect of the institution of slavery? This part of your assignment asks you to use your skills in summarizing scholarly writing.

2. What does it mean?

Now, in your own words, briefly write about what this section or reading means. This part of your worksheet asks you to think about what you understand about and from this reading.

3. Why does it matter?

What is the importance of this passage or this reading to a larger understanding of US slavery? What does the author believe its importance to be? What do YOU think its importance is? This part of your worksheet asks you to explain what is significant about the information offered in the section or reading you have chosen.

By week 8, you must hand in 4 reading responses
Between week 8 and week 16, you must hand in an additional 4 responses.

Your first two responses should target one paragraph of an assigned reading that you find especially challenging, or interesting, or provocative.
Your next two responses should target 2-3 pages of a reading.
In the second half of the semester, your responses should address an entire reading assignment. Each worksheet is worth 5 points, for a total of 40% of your course grade. Submit your responses on ICON.

Both the midterm (25% of course grade) and final (25%) exams consist of take-home essay assignments. THESE ESSAYS EACH HAVE TWO DUE DATES TO ALLOW YOU TO WORK WITH YOUR WRITING FELLOW IN REVISING YOUR WORK.

A polished draft of your Midterm essay is due to your Writing Fellow on 9/26 by 9:30 AM (submit via ICON).
A LATE SUBMISSION TO YOUR FELLOW WILL RESULT IN A GRADE DROP ON THE FINAL VERSION. Failure to meet in conference with your fellow will result in another deduction from your grade.

The final version of your essay is due to Prof. Schwalm 10/9 @9:30 AM (submit via ICON).

The polished draft of your Final essay is due to your Writing Fellow by 11/28 @9:30

the final version is due to Prof. Schwalm 12/10 by noon of that day (submitted via ICON).

I write and publish on slavery, emancipation, the Civil War, and black lives in the aftermath of emancipation
Take 5 minutes and write down:

What do you already know about the history of slavery in the U.S.?

What do you want to learn?

A 2017 national survey by the Southern Poverty Law Center shows how poorly we teach students about this hard history:
8% of high school seniors can identify slavery as the central cause of the Civil War
2/3 don't know it took a constitutional amednment to formally end slavery
58% of teachers find their textbooks inadequate on the history fo slavery
What's the result?

We teach slavery without context and try to present "feel good" stories

We teach about slavery as though it were only a southern institution

We rarely acknowledge the role of white supremacy and racism in sustaining the practice of slavery

13 different majors
1 first year student
My work this semester:

to give you the opportunity to learn the hard history of slavery:

how and why it began

how and why slavery changed over time

to confront the ideas and institutions that sustained and profitted from the practice of slavery

to explore the experiences of enslaved people

wrap up with a focus on how slavery ends, but also the long-term consequences of slavery


to give you the opportunity to sharpen your skills and abilities in learning history and better understand why history is important

to provide you with the opportunity to read the best work by the best historians of slavery

to provide you with the opportunity to read and analyze for yourself the primary sources that document the history of slavery

to help you sythesize the new content you'll learn this semester into a clearer understanding of US history

To help you develop your skills and to keep you on track this semester, you have assignments that help me assess your progress:
4 second-year students

9 3rd-year students
7 4th-year students
1 grad student
What's a good reason to go to your professor's office hours?
Austin Turpen and Allexis Mahanna

Writing Fellows are undergraduate Honors students from majors across the university, mainly in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. All fellows have experience writing both within their majors and in other disciplines. As we recruit applicants, we invite recommendations from faculty members and solicit applications from students who apply
to the program independently. Admission to the Writing Fellows program is competitive. Students typically apply in their sophomore year and serve as fellows until they graduate
Professor Leslie Schwalm
How did habits of racial discrimination shape the disposal of human remains during the Civil War?
Small group/paired in-class work
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