Course Information and Policies

Course Website

The course website at the URL will be your central source for information about this course. (Note that orange text flags links on this site.) It will be updated throughout the semester, and information found there supersedes information on the syllabus handed out the first day of class.

Note that the main course website is NOT part of OnCourse, and you will find it easier to use if you link directly to You do not need to login to OnCourse to access the main site. You will, however, need to use OnCourse to view your assignment grades and any other restricted information about the course. I will also use the OnCourse email system to communicate with the class, so you should check your IU email account regularly.


Recent scholarship on early America is awash in excellent books that, in the words of historian Linda Colley, seek to chart “a world in a life, and a life in the world.”  In this seminar, we will be reading and discussing some of the best examples of this recent literature, including two books that received the Pulitzer Prize. We will also examine first person primary sources - accounts of life during the Atlantic "Age of Revolutions" written by people on the ground.   Much of the material can be found in the OnCourse resources folder for this course, or through links within the schedule located on the course website. The following texts are available for purchase at the IU Bookstore, and they can also be obtained easily and cheaply from other retailers. I have also placed them on reserve in the Kent Cooper Room of Well Library. Purchase is strongly encouraged, as you will need to refer to these readings during our class meetings. You should bring the assigned book or printed copies of the readings and your notes with you to class.



Assignments & Grades

Attendance is required. If you know you cannot come to all the class meetings, consider taking another course.

30% Participation / Weekly Discussion Question Question about the reading should be posted to OnCourse 2 hours before class.
20% 4 short exercises Due in class, unless otherwise noted. Exercises for Sept. 15., Sept. 22 and Sept. 29 required of everyone. The remaining one will be your choice.
10% Annotated Bibliography for Research Paper Due October 13
10% Writing Sample & Peer Review Due October 30 at midnight
30% Final research paper (15 pages)

Draft Due December 1

Final Paper Due December 15

This course is a seminar, and its success will depend in large part on your preparation outside of our formal class meetings. Evaluation will be based on your informed and regular participation in class discussion, and on writing assignments. There are no exams.

The main assignment for this course is a substantial (approx. 15 page) reseach paper on a course-related topic of your choice. The other short (2 page) assignments are designed to foster in-class discussion and help you gradually develop your final project over the course of the semester. You can find details of these assignments on the website and they will be discussed in class as they come due. Note that a draft of the final paper of at least 8 pages is due by December 1. The draft will not be formally graded, but deductions will be taken from the final grade if it is poorly done or not submitted on time.

Please see assignment Evaluation Standards for more information on how grades will be determined.

Professional Conduct

My basic expectation in this course is that everyone will conduct themselves in a professional and collegial manner. Please assess your own actions according to standards that would apply in the work place. What would your boss think if you answered your cell phone, checked email, or skipped out in the middle of a business meeting? Or if you failed to show up?

Special Needs

Special needs may be created by disabilities, chronic illness, or religious requirements. Please come talk to me about them as soon as possible. The same is true for conflicts you know about ahead of time. It is easy to make arrangements ahead of time and hard to fix things afterwards


Attendance at all classes is expected. Your presence in class is very important to the success of this seminar. When you miss a session, it is as if you skipped more than a full week in courses that meet more frequently. I will consider excusing absences only if you notify me in advance that:

Habitual lateness or absence will result in deductions from your final course grade, not just the participation component. After 2 absences, you will be docked a grade for each additional miss. You cannot pass this class without at least 60% attendance.

Bottom line: Let me know about difficulties as soon as they arise, and come see me to discuss solutions as soon as it becomes possible.

Academic Honesty

All of your academic work is expected to comply with Indiana University’s Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct. Be scrupulous in citing your sources in all your written work. All quotations, derivative ideas and uncommon facts must be duly cited. While I encourage conversations with other students about the course material, all of your written work must be the original product of your own research and thought. Plagiarism or copying will result in failure of and withdrawal from the class, and will become a permanent part of the student's transcript and academic record. For further guidance about avoiding plagiarism, see the College of Arts and Sciences web pages on Plagiarism: What it Is and How to Avoid It.