HIS logo HIS 390
Historical Controversy on the Web

Fall 2009 Syllabus

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12/21: Final grades submitted to MyWCU. Have a good holiday!
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Instructor: Jim Jones
Email: jjones@wcupa.edu;
Telephone: 610-436-2168
Office: 519 Main Hall
West Chester, PA 19383
Hours: WF 11-noon & MWF 1-2pm

COURSE OVERVIEW: The goal of this course is to teach appropriate ways to use web-based material for the study of history. To do this, you will examine a major historical debate -- the "fairness" of the American justice system -- and the ways that people construct their arguments about it. Your task will be to find evidence to corroborate or refute those arguments by examining primary and secondary sources on American history, law, economics, and society.

OBJECTIVES: Successful students will be able to demonstrate the following learning outcomes: 1) a knowledge of historical eras, change over time, and key historical concepts; 2) effective communication of history in formal written assignments and structured classroom discussions using reasoned arguments supported by historical evidence, allowing for multiple causes, effects, and perspectives; 3) critical thinking skills that include the ability to analyze and critique primary and secondary historical sources, and 4) an analytical appreciation of diverse perspectives. Successful students will demonstrate command of the arguments and relevant background information, understand how the Web is used to present data and arguments, and develop responses to the issues raised by this debate.

PRE-REQUISITES: Students must have already completed at least one university-level history course (HIS 151 "US History II" preferred). Students seeking a web technology minor should have had at least one course on Web publishing or design. NOTE to WCU history majors & minors: This course satisfies the upper-level undergraduate requirement in any of the three areas -- US, European or non-Western.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Read assignments before class and prepare comments and/or questions, attend class to discuss assignments, and successgully complete all written and oral assignments.

First exam Essay -- answer one of two questions Friday Sept. 25
Second exam Essay -- answer one of two questions Finals week (Dec. 15-19)
Class participation Read assignments, work with your classmates to get everyone to participate in class discussions Every class
Research project Working in small groups, research an assigned topic, prepare a research paper and present the results ot the class See schedule

NOTE: Late assignments turned in within 24 hours of the due date/time will receive half credit. Assignments submitted later than that will not be accepted, and will receive a grade of zero.

TEXTBOOK: David Coles, No Equal Justice: Race and Class in the American Justice System, The Free Press, 2000, and this web page ( http://courses.wcupa.edu/jones/his390.htm).

NOTICE ON CIVILITY: Since this course addresses a controversial subject on which there may be strongly held opinions, class discussion will proceed according to these rules: 1) Every class member is expected to show respect to every other member of the class, no matter what their position on the historical debate. 2) Any use of racial or ethnic slurs, profanity or threatening language directed against anyone in or out of the class will lead to a single warning from the professor. 3) A second offense will result in the assignment of a final grade of F for the course.

ATTENDANCE: An excused absence is one for which you can provide a valid written excuse concerning a medical condition, legal proceeding, university-sanctioned event or death of an immediate family member (i.e. parent, sibling or child). All other absences are unexcused. You are entitled to a naximum of nine unexcused absences without penalty, but each additional absence will reduce your final grade by 1/3 of a letter. NOTE: If you face an extraordinary circumstance that merits special consideration, discuss it with your professor before you are absent. Requests made after an unexcused absence will not be considered.

CHEATING/PLAGIARISM: Cheating is any act that "defrauds, deceives or employs trickery" in order to obtain credit for work which has not been completed. Plagiarization is the act of "passing off the ideas of another as one's own work." Anyone who cheats or plagiarizes will receive a zero (i.e. a grade much lower than F) for that examination or assignment. A second offense will result in a final grade of F and referral to the University's judicial system.

DISABILITIES: We at West Chester University wish to make accomodations for persons with disabilities. Please make your needs known by contacting the professor and/or the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (located in 223 Lawrence Center) at 610-436-2564. Sufficient notice is needed in order to make the accommodations possible. University desires to comply with the ADA of 1990 by making accommodations

DISCRIMINATION: West Chester University prohibits discrimination, including sexual harassment, of any individual based on race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age, religious creed, disability or veteran status. This course incorporates the University's commitment to an environment free of discrimunation. Any individual having suggestions, problems, complaints or grievances with regard to equal opportunity or affirmative action is encouraged to contact the Director of Social Equity at ext. 2433.

SUBSTANCE USE/ABUSE: West Chester University is committed to improving retention, graduation and time-to-degree rates by assisting students during key transitional periods in their academic careers. Because the professor believes that alcohol and drug issues can compromise student success, he has participated in the "Partners in Prevention" training program to learn how to recognize addiction and provide referrals to assistance. If you wish to talk about any of this -- in strictest confidence -- please contact the professor outside of class.

Date Topic Assigned Reading
Aug. 30 Introduction to the course none
Sep. 2 The Henry Louis Gates Affair Surf (the web) on your own (SOYO)
Sep. 4 Definitions: justice, justice system, fair  
You can freely drop classes through Saturday Sep. 5 and add them through Sunday Sep. 6
by going on-line. If you add any class late, you are responsbile for ALL earlier assignments.
Sep. 7 Labor Day (no class) Read ahead
Sep. 9 The Constitution: Art. 3; Amend'ts. 4, 5, 6, 8, 14 SOYO
Sep. 11 Crime and race Read Perry
Sep. 14 Crime, race and class Read Thornberry
Sep. 16 Crime at WCU Read CLERY report
Sep. 18 Social class and justice  
Sep. 21 The usefulness of statistics Evaluate NACJD
Sep. 23 Review  
Sep. 25 First exam  
Sep. 28 The O. J. Simpson Trial Coles, 1-15
Sep. 30 Consequences of the Simpson verdict  
Oct. 2 Wealth and justice SOYO
Oct. 5 Search and seizure Cole, 16-62
Oct. 7 "Quality of Life" policing.  
Oct. 9 Florida v. Bostick, no. 89-1717, 501 U.S. 429  
Oct. 12 Fall Break (no class)  
Oct. 14 The Scottsboro Trial (Powell v. Alabama) Cole, 63-100
Oct. 16 Subsequent Supreme Court decisions  
Oct. 19 Report on Miranda v. Arizona Check Lexis-Nexis
Oct. 21 Report on the context for Gideon v. Wainright 372 U.S. 355 (1963) and Douglas v. California, 372 U.S. 353 (1963). Check Lexis-Nexis
Oct. 23 Report on Clarence Earl Gideon SOYO
Oct. 26 Selecting a jury Cole, 101-131
Oct. 28 Report on Strauder v. West Virginia Check Lexis-Nexis
Oct. 30 West Chester & Philadelphia Railroad Co. v. Miles Check Lexis-Nexis
Friday Oct. 30 is the last day to drop a class or to complete work from the previous semester.
Nov. 2 Separate but Equal: Plessy v. Ferguson Check Lexis-Nexis
Nov. 4 Report on Sacco and Vanzetti SOYO
Nov. 6 Report on Emmett Till SOYO
Nov. 9 Criminal Sentencing Cole, 132-157
Nov. 11 The Last Lynching in Chester County  
Nov. 13 Race relations after World War II SOYO
Nov. 16 Report on the Supreme Court's 1972 and 1976 death penalty decisions Check Lexis-Nexis
Nov. 18 Report on the U.S. Sentencing Commission SOYO
Nov. 20 Report on "three strikes and you're out" laws. SOYO
Nov. 23 The Rosa Ingram trial Read Martin
Nov. 25 Thanksgiving (no class)  
Nov. 27 Thanksgiving (no class)  
Nov. 30 Challenges to the system Cole, 158-168
Dec. 2 Report on the Dept. of Justice investigation in Philadelphia  
Dec. 4 Evaluating the Supreme Court Read Kennedy, pp.1622-31 & 1656-61.
Dec. 7 Cohesive communities Cole, 169-180
Dec. 9 Merit versus patronage  
Dec. 11 Conclusion(s)  
Dec. 14 Review for last exam  
Dec. 16 FINAL EXAM Wednesday, 10:30-12:30pm

Go to Jim Jones' web site list.