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Course Logistics

Winter History

Dr. Reagan periodically takes class time to give feedback on assignments and instruction/clarification on course logistics.

Table of contents
  1. Week 5
    1. Essay 1 Feedback
    2. Rubric for Advanced Papers
    3. Historical Hierarchy
  2. Week 6
    1. Asking Historial Questions, Finding Historical Answers
    2. Historical Research
  3. Research Sources
    1. JSTOR
    2. Research Guides
    3. Tips

Week 5

Essay 1 Feedback

  • Good job - everyone is doing solid work.
  • Main thing Sophia and Dr. Reagan are looking for: there is no one place in scholarship where some thing is satisfying and nothing more can be achieved.
    • There is always space to develop and refine.
    • This is what is being looked for: the process of taking what one has and taking it to the next level.
  • Looking for growth; wherever you find yourself, continue pushing in that way.
  • Essays are looking good.
    • Continue pursuing genuine intellectual curiosity.
    • Speak in your own voice; speak in a voice that is comfortable for you.
      • The strongest writing we encounter is the most direct, precise, and simple.

Rubric for Advanced Papers

  • Specific standards around advanced papers have criteria.
  • Does it have an argument that is unique? > B range
    • Is it specific and nuanced? > A range
  • What does it mean to have a sophisticated argument?
  • Argument: some of the questions being asked when analyzing the quality of the argument.
    • Does it engage with the other arguments and ideas from reading?
      • In a somewhat simplistic way: is the quesiton rooted in a passage from another text? (B-range)
      • In a more sophisticated way: does the student’s argument engage with the argument other scholars or historical persons have presented? (A-range).
    • Does it present a unique claim?
      • Is it working the material to generate intellectual contributions?
    • Does it have a nuanced understanding based on analysis and close reading?
      • Not making blanket claims that gloss over complications and contradictions inherent in life and social organization.
      • Not giving simplistic answers.
        • e.g. “the Civil War can be traced all to economics.”
      • There is no “hard and fast” rule, but embraces the complexity of the issue.
    • Is it seeking ultimate causality?
      • Important piece of historical thinking: Diamond - proximate vs. ultimate causality.
      • Prime movers in the forces of history.
    • Does it account for alternate explanations in class or in the literature?
      • Is there a level of complexity or contradiction that has beeen introduced?
  • Organization: how the idea is expressed relates to the content of the idea. It takes playing with and developing each time.
    • Does the paper meet standards for scholarly organization?
      • Are you producing the core of your argument early in the essay?
      • Does it meet standard scholarly organizations?
    • Is the paper organizationally consistent?
      • Does every section of the structure (paragraphs or sections) relate to immediate pieces of the claim?
      • Is background and context fully required? - sometimes, yes, but usually, no.
    • Are the ideas and analysis fully develped and logically placed.
    • Are there no extraneous, tangential, or hanging points of analysis?
      • Is there an extra shard of analysis that could be made somewhere else / doesn’t belong in this paper?
      • Is it tightly constructed in this way?
    • Is the conclusion full and lead to new areas of inquiry?
      • Gives the full steps of the analysis, and pointing to new directions.
  • Finishing:
    • Free from excessive typos or errors?
    • Evidence that the paper has been revised.
      • Often the thesis is in the conclusion; go back and articulate it cleanly in the introduction.

Historical Hierarchy

  • In general, illegitimate hierarchy is bad.
  • However, legitimate hierarchy sometimes exists.
  • What types of questions are we asking?
  • The past is full of different philosophical, physical, scientific, physiological, rhetorical, sociological, biological, etc. questions that can be asked.
  • Trick: looking for a hierarchy of questions as it relates to hierarchies and social change.
  • Reading responses - doing specific, close readings into many of the primary sources.
    • How is language being used?
    • Often, less rhetorical analysis, and thinking of these questions in a more historical, analytical claim.
  • Distinction in historical vs rhetorical vs philosophical stakes:
    • Rhetorical and philosophical stakes are good, but not the focus of the class.
  • In addition to picking the topic, we need to ask particular types of questions about it to make it historical.
  • Passage in reading response or topic for culminating project: need to frame the questions historically.
  • Important steps to create a higher order of questions:
    • Think through the process that gets us to a particular question.
  • Select and choose from hierarchy of questions.
    • How is an argument being developed rhetorically? philosophical? moral assumptions? conditions and content that makes the claim meaningful?
  • Important questions:
    • Are explanatory
    • Are social (tie back to social relationships and forms)
    • Immediately explorable/answerable, tie back to the text or other texts
    • Explain conditions
    • Explore change over time

Week 6

Asking Historial Questions, Finding Historical Answers

  • Moral, literary, etc. questions are not the focus of historical study.
  • How do we take our intellectual curiosity and turn it into something historically fruitful?
  • We can ask many different types of questions; for us, though, causality is important.
    • Why did something happens.
  • Moving from the individual to the social.
    • Boyer and Morais: Why did John Lewis punch William Hutcheson?
    • Certain types of answers can be generated.
      • Individual or pyschological answers: Lewis was violent, mean, etc.
      • Literary answers: themes of anger and masculinity, etc.
      • Social answers: working class masculinity, violence necessary to break from the AFL, etc.
        • Further: why was violence necessary? Potential answer: legacy of violence from the Gilded Age.
    • These types of social answers are really the goal.
    • Seek a chain of questions, answers, and ultimate causality.
    • After time, the original question becomes one piece of evidence in the larger framework of claims.
  • Observation > Question > Hypothesis

Historical Research

  • Think about the topic and try to identify a source.
  • Start Your Research > Articles & Research Databases > Search JSTOR > Sign In to NetID > JSTOR

Research Sources


  1. MyUW (
  2. University of Washington Libraries (
  3. Start Your Research > Articles and Research Databases
  4. A-Z Databases ( > J > JSTOR
  5. JSTOR ( > Advanced Search

Research Guides

  1. MyUW (
  2. University of Washington Libraries (
  3. Start Your Research > Research Guides
  4. Research Guides ( > Subject (e.g. history, sociology)


  • In searching, industr* will return everything with industrial, industry, industrialism, industr-