Spring Semester 2009 (Saint Edmund’s Hall 334)

Dr. G. Dameron

Library 306; Office Hours:  Monday, 9-10; Wednesdays, 2:30-4:30, and by appointment/Office phone:  x2318

E-mail: gdameron (on campus); (off campus)


Seminar Meeting:  Thursday, 5:30-8:50 pm


                                                         PURPOSES AND GOALS

The principal goals of the seminar are the following:  1) to produce a senior thesis of at least 40 pages in length on a topic chosen by the student, 2) to complete the capstone course for the major, 3) to meet the requirement for History majors of a second writing intensive course, 4) to develop and improve the oral presentation of research results to an audience of peers, 5) to provide a collaborative environment in which students can assist other students to do their best work, and 6) to offer a valuable experience in high-level research and writing to those students who intend to pursue graduate degrees in History.


                                                 REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING

The principal requirement of each student is the completion of the senior thesis (40 page minimum).  About twenty per cent (20%) of the final grade depends on attendance in the seminar (required), completion of the assignments listed below, degree of effort, and maintaining regular appointments with the supervising professor.  The supervising professor will determine the final grade. The thesis will be at least forty (40) pages in length, excluding notes, bibliography, and other supporting material (appendices, illustrations, tables, etc.). The thesis is due at the last seminar meeting on Thursday, April 30.   Late submissions will be penalized according to the criteria of the supervising professor.


Criteria for evaluation of the thesis may include the following:  1) the degree of clarity and appropriateness of the historical problem being explored, 2) the level of critical appraisal of the primary sources used to address the problem, 3) degree of familiarity with the relevant secondary sources and historiography, 4) the plausibility of the thesis being argued, and 5) the quality of the organization and clarity of the presentation of the research.  Students should consider this course to be the capstone course of their undergraduate career as History majors and the most important course this semester.



Students will choose an historical problem as a focus for their thesis in collaboration with an advisor from the History Department.  The student will work closely with the advisor, generally on a weekly basis for most of the semester, and (s)he will not pursue a topic that an advisor has not approved.   Students are required to identify their topic and advisor by the January 22 seminar meeting.  The Department encourages students to consider expanding upon a previously written research paper completed for an upper level History course (seminar). 


There will be a 15-20 minute interview of each student on her or his project by the seminar leader and one other History Department faculty member during the regular meeting time of the seminar on either February 19 or 26.


A first draft (usually a third to a half of the full manuscript) is due March 26.  Advisors may wish to generate their own criteria and deadlines for first drafts.


The meetings of the full seminar will be infrequent, but meetings will occur primarily at the beginning and at the end of the semester.  Students should assume that whenever the seminar meets, it will meet for the full time.


Attendance of all seminar members is required on April 23 and 30 when students will be making their presentations in the Hall of Fame Room (Tarrant).



The Department awards the Pfeifer Prize to the student who has written a thesis of superlative quality during the academic year.  The Prize is not awarded every year.


Students with documented learning differences should feel free to discuss any special needs regarding the completion of seminar requirements with their advisors and/or with the seminar instructor.


Plagiarism is a serious academic offense.  According to the Policy on Academic Integrity, plagiarism is the presentation of “another person’s ideas as your own, by directly quoting or indirectly paraphrasing, without properly citing the original source. This includes inadvertent failure to properly acknowledge sources.”   The penalties for plagiarism can range from receiving a failing grade for the plagiarized assignment to receiving a failing grade.  In some cases plagiarism can result in suspension or expulsion from the college.  If a student is in doubt whether a source should or should not be cited, (s)he should play it safe and cite the source.  For information on plagiarism, please consult Rampolla, Pocket Guide to Writing in History.


                                                               REQUIRED TEXTS

Mary Lynn Rampolla, The Pocket Guide to Writing History (Bedford St. Martin’s 2006).  10-0312446738


                                                            COURSE SCHEDULE

January 15

         Introduction: discussion of syllabus and seminar requirements              


January 22


January 29


February 5, 12


February 19, 26


March 5, 12, 19 (mid-semester break)


March 26


April 2, 9, 16


April 23 and April 30 (Hall of Fame Room, Tarrant)


April 30