History 335/W Fall 2010

Tues. and Thurs. 12-1:15 Holmes 248
Dr. Karen Jolly
Office: Sakamaki A408 Phone: 956-7673
Hours: Tuesdays 9-11, Thursdays 2-4, or by appointment
main webpage: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~kjolly email: kjolly@hawaii.edu

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Sutton Hoo Helmet replica

Europe in the Early Middle Ages

The purpose of this class is to introduce you to the formative years in the development of European society and to enhance your historical thinking skills through the study of primary source materials. We will examine the diverse elements that combined to make medieval Europe distinctive: Graeco-Roman cultures of the Mediterranean; Judeo-Christian traditions of the ancient Near East; Celtic, Germanic, and Scandinavian cultures in western Europe; Russian, Slavic, and Magyar cultures in eastern Europe; and the influences of Byzantine and Islamic civilizations. Class discussion and writing exercises geared around the primary sources will develop historical empathy and understanding of the past in context, while the papers and final project will enhance information processing and analytical skills.

In addition to the textbook, students are required to read primary source selections in translation on the web at the Internet Medieval Sourcebook and be prepared to discuss these readings in class. Two topical secondary histories engage students with issues surrounding the study of early medieval Europe. This course is writing intensive: we will use writing to learn the materials through in-class writing exercises and will approach writing as a process in the formal papers.


Humor: Early Medieval Help Desk


See writing guidelines for specific assignment details.
Final grades are calculated on a 100 point scale, as follows:

  • A+ 97-100
  • A 93-96.9
  • A- 90-92.9
  • B+ 87-89.9
  • B 83-86.9
  • B- 80-82.9
  • C+ 77-79.9
  • C 73-76.9
  • C- 70-72.9
  • D+ 67-69.9
  • D 63-66.9
  • D- 60-62.9
  • F 0-59

Points of Information

Attendance and Participation: While 20% of the grade is linked directly to work done in preparation for and during class time, frequent absences or lack of participation will have an adverse effect on the other 80% of the graded work as well. The instructor reserves the right to refuse papers handed in from a student who has failed to attend class regularly without a documented excuse. If you are struggling to keep up with the coursework, please consult the instructor as soon as possible so that we can work out a plan.

Virtual Reality: Students will need to use the Internet on a regular basis to access the syllabus and course readings as well as to submit papers and communicate with the instructor. The syllabus is online at Laulima and at the instructor’s website with hotlinks to the IMS readings. Papers can be submitted through Laulima or directly to the instructor’s email. Students are responsible for checking their UH email account regularly for messages from the instructor and to notify the instructor of any absences or problems.

Disability Access and Support Services: If you feel you need reasonable accommodations because of the impact of a disability, please 1) contact the KOKUA Program (V/T) at 956-7511 or 956-7612, QLCSS 013; 2) speak with me privately to discuss your specific needs. I will be happy to work with you and the KOKUA Program to meet you access needs related to your documented disability.

Go Here Student Success Center at Sinclair Library offers a full range of academic help 24/7. Student Services also provides counseling and support services to meet your needs. For assistance with writing, see links on my main webpage or go to the Manoa Writing Program help for writers, including the Writing Workshop.

Student Conduct: Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to university norms and expectations stated in the Catalog and the Student Conduct Code. Common courtesy is expected in the classroom, including but not limited to: arriving and departing on time or notifying the instructor of a need to be excused, cell phones off, laptops in use only for course work, listening respectfully to other students, and timely submission of work. The instructor assumes students will behave honorably in submitting their own work and has no tolerance for cheating, particularly plagiarism.

Plagiarism, a form of cheating punishable under the UHM Student Conduct Code, is the use of someone else's words or ideas without citation or acknowledgement. This includes exact/unique phrases without quote marks; interpretive arguments (as opposed to general knowledge information) made to sound as your own when they are not; and sentences, paragraphs, or whole papers copied or downloaded into your paper. Any paper submitted to me that violates this standard will receive an automatic F (0 points) with no resubmission. We can discuss the case, but if we fail to agree on whether plagiarism occurred, the case will have to go to the Dean of Students, where the penalty if guilt is found is worse than an F on a paper.

Course Outline

I. Parachuting over the Landscape

Reading: Secondary books, general overview and interpretation of significance
Writing: Focus on key ideas and issues of interest
  • 08/24 Introduction: Student Learning Outcomes
  • 08/26 Reading Preview (Gillett Ethnogenesis article on Laulima)
  • 08/31 Roman World Transformed, Rosenwein, ch. 1
  • 09/01 Emergence of Sibling Cultures, Rosenwein, ch. 2
  • 09/07 Creating New Identities, Rosenwein, ch. 3
  • 09/09 Political Communities Reordered, Rosenwein, ch. 4
  • 09/14 Myth of Nations, Geary intro, ch. 1-3 (bring notes)
  • 09/16 Medieval Origins of Europe, Geary, ch. 4-6 (bring notes)
  • 09/21 Book Review Workshop (bring full draft)

II. Truffle-hunting in the Forest

Reading: Primary sources online at IMS
Writing: Focus on analysis of historical evidence, historical empathy

III. Satellite Images

Reading: Relating themes and issues to specific evidence from IMS
Writing: Focus on building historical arguments with evidence
  • 11/09 Research Strategies (primary source paper due; topics due)
  • 11/11 No Class: Veteran’s Day
  • 11/16 Politics, McKitterick ch.1
  • 11/18 Society, McKitterick ch. 2
  • 11/23 Economy, McKitterick ch. 3 (annotated bibliography due)
  • 11/25 No Class: Thanksgiving holiday
  • 11/30 Religion, McKitterick ch. 4 (thesis and outline due)
  • 12/02 Culture, McKitterick ch. 5
  • 12/07 Wider World, McKitterick ch. 6
  • 12/09 Research Paper Workshop: bring a complete draft paper
  • 12/16 Final research papers due at noon


General Writing Guidelines

All paper assignments should be submitted electronically in MS Word (save as .doc or .docx) and sent to kjolly@hawaii.edu by noon of the due date. The format should be double-spaced 12-point font with footnotes single-spaced at the bottom of the page. Citations should follow the Chicago Manual of Style for humanities notes (N) and bibliography (B), NOT science style of in-text author-date. See Diana Hacker online style guide. Papers are graded on
  1. clear thesis and argumentation, indicated in the introduction and in the organization of the paper;
  2. adept analysis of sources and other information as evidence or examples; and
  3. vigorous, readable prose style free of grammar and syntax errors.

Drafts are accepted for comment if received at least 72 hours before the due date.

Late papers without a documented excuse lose 3/100 for every day late.

If a submitted paper contains in the first page more than 3 errors of grammar, syntax, or vocabulary making it difficult to read, the instructor will hand it back ungraded.

Rewrites are allowed only for papers originally submitted on time. If you choose to rewrite a paper, you must do a complete redraft modifying the content and organization, not just “fixing” sentences. Rewrites are due one week after the paper was returned by the instructor. The two grades will be averaged.

In-class Writing and Paper Workshops

The purpose of these less formal writing assignments is to help students engage with the material and to learn through writing and discussion. Before coming to class, students are expected to have completed the reading. They should bring to class a brief paragraph, identifying key issues, thoughts, and questions regarding what the reading reveals about early medieval European history. We will use these paragraphs as a springboard to discussion in class.

Each section of the course lists reading and writing objectives. For Part I, students should identify points of interest in the reading and questions for further research. In Part II, students should evaluate the evidence in light of the broader view provided in Part I and endeavor to understand the points of view expressed. In Part III, students should bring to class IMS readings they think are relevant to the topic.

During class, we will do informal writing based on what students bring in, as a means of fostering discussion and to advance their analysis of the evidence. These in-class exercises are designed to improve performance on the formal written work. For each of the three formal assignments, a class day is devoted to a writing workshop. Students are expected to bring a full draft of their paper to the paper workshop, where we will work in groups critiquing one another’s work.

All of the assignments in this category will be given “plus, check, or minus” grades: minus for incomplete, check for minimum performance, plus for active engagement. Needless to say, attendance and participation is an integral part of success in this course. The instructor will respond to in-class writing exercises and examine drafts brought to paper workshops. If you are unable to attend class, you must notify the instructor in advance, by email or phone. In the event of a documented problem or emergency, the instructor will work with the student to develop an alternate assignment.

Book Review (3-4 pages)

The idea of a book review is not to repeat what the book says or describe it—that is a "book report." Rather, a review analyzes the book and engages with its ideas. Examine the thesis and arguments, use of evidence, contribution to the field, and meaningfulness for our understanding of the medieval past and the present.

Reading suggestions: Preview the book by skimming the introductions and conclusions. Read a chapter at a time, focusing on arguments, not data. Do not take copious notes or highlight as you read. Rather, read to the end of the chapter, keeping your main questions in mind, and then write a brief summary or set of notes after you have finished a chapter. Bring these notes to the class discussions on 9/14 and 9/16. Bring a full draft to the paper workshop on 9/21.

These are the questions you should ask as you read and address in your review:
  1. What is the purpose and thesis of the book? Look at the Preface or Introduction to find out what the author set out to do and why.
  2. What are the themes of the book? Look at the Table of Contents as well as the introductory material to find out what key ideas and issues the author addresses.
  3. What is the author's approach to the past in relation to the present? Examine the author’s historical reasoning and relevance to today.
  4. How does the author use sources, evidence, and examples to support arguments? Look at the endnotes, bibliography, and index.
  5. For the purposes of this class, how does the book contribute to our understanding of the early Middle Ages? How does it complement or supplement the textbook?
Obviously, these questions are interconnected, but you can still use them to organize your paper into clear paragraphs and sections. However, you should follow the usual rules for paper writing and have a good introduction and conclusion tying all of your thoughts together. Some “don’ts:”
  • Don't organize around a description of the book's contents in sequence. Any description of the contents should fall under one of the questions above. For example, a listing of the chapters might serve as evidence for your assessment of how the organization of the book advances its thesis.
  • Don't adopt the author's voice as your own. The review should be in your voice, analyzing the author’s arguments and contributing your own arguments on the issues. First person (“I”) is usually unnecessary because the arguments are assumed to be yours.
  • Don't quote excessively from the book. Use quotes only when you want to give the exact flavor of the author's work or when you want to comment on style.
The final book review is due 9/28.

Primary Source Analysis Paper (5-7 pages)

Choose one of the primary source selections from the IMS readings online. Track down the full source from which it is excerpted and do some research on its background and context. Analyze the source as evidence for the period: what does it tell us about early medieval people, their culture, worldviews, or life styles? Remember to take into account the nature of the source and the purposes for which it was written; who wrote it, the person’s social status and point of view; and the potential for modern bias to get in the way of understanding the text.

Research guidelines: Pick an area that interests you and try tracking down several primary sources to see which one is doable: is there a full text source in translation in our library or online? Are there secondary sources and background on the author or text? Is it a text that illustrates an issue or provides some basis for argument? Submit your chosen text by 10/21.

Analysis guidelines: Relate the specific text as a piece of evidence to the general context found in the textbook and in comparison with other types of evidence. Keep in mind that any source is merely a fragment and cannot be used to generalize about early medieval society as a whole. Aim for a qualified thesis that makes an argument about what the evidence can tell us and what its limits are, but also try to engage it with some historical empathy. Submit thesis and outline on 10/28.

Writing guidelines: The paper should have a thesis (main argument) clearly articulated in the first paragraph. This argument should NOT be a description of the text and what it says, but your analysis of what it means as a piece of evidence. Sub-arguments spinning off from that main thesis should form the basis of the paper’s organization. Bring a full draft to the paper workshop on 11/4.

Final paper (reorganized and cleaned up) is due 11/9.

Final Project (7-10 pages)

2 options for topics (submit 11/09):
  • Option 1: Pick a time and place, narrowing to a specific region and era (for example, late tenth century Anglo-Saxon England) and correlate to a topic from the McKitterick book (politics, society, economy, religion, culture, wider world). Focus on an issue for which there is adequate primary source evidence (written or visual artifacts).
  • Option 2: Pick an artifact (manuscript illustration, art object, building, archaeological find, etc.) and analyze what it signifies as historical evidence, relating it to at least one aspect from the McKitterick book.

Research guidelines: Locate relevant primary sources (1-3) and secondary sources (3-5), including scholarly books and journal articles, but excluding textbooks, general audience books, and encyclopedias. Hint: Check the bibliographies in the textbooks. Submit an annotated bibliography by 11/23.

Analysis guidelines: Find an issue or controversy that arises from the evidence and explore different sides or different ways of interpreting the evidence. Your views may change as you explore, but make sure that your arguments are balanced and take into account all of the evidence, not just what supports your views. Preliminary thesis and outline due by 11/30.

Writing guidelines: Initial drafts may be more exploratory as you write to find your ideas. Subsequent drafts should develop a clear thesis up front and a strong organization built around arguments, not descriptions (check the first sentence of every paragraph for flow). Full draft due at the paper workshop on 12/09.

Rewriting: The key to success is to thoroughly revamp your paper. You may need to turn the whole paper upside down by getting the strong arguments that come through at the end and putting them up front in the introduction, then reorganizing around these key arguments. Final draft is due 12/16 by noon.

updated 09/21/10