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College of Arts and Sciences | Appalachian State University

American Stories:
Narratives of Family and Nation in the 20th Century
Fall 1999

Course Description:

The focus of this Watauga core course is American society in the 20th century. Our guiding concept is that the American experience can best be grasped by listening to the multitude of stories through which that experience is interpreted. Immigration, settling and resettling, movements to cities and suburbs, succeeding and failing, being included and excluded, going to war or protesting against it, singing and movie-making, competing and worshipping -- stories "realize" these historical activities. We are particularly interested in how stories told in the student's family intertwine with the larger "national" stories told by historians, preachers, politicians, schools and the media.

"Stories" is, we believe, a sophisticatedly interdisciplinary course, embracing a variety of skills and contents. Mastery of key personalities, trends, and events in recent American history; practical genealogy; the art of biography and autobiography; interviewing skills; library usage and research; interpretation of primary historical data; appreciating the profound links between the personal and the political -- these are only some of the areas in which students are expected to grow. The course has a "pay-off" point: the famous "Stories Paper," which is both a biographical and interpretive account of a person from the student's own family. In this exercise, the skills developed in the course are brought into play.

There is an on-line homepage for this course where you can find this syllabus as well as links to some of the required readings and other helpful resources. You can find the page through the Watauga College homepage and following the links to Watauga College Courses and "American Stories," or go directly to the page at the following web address http://www.appstate.edu/~stanovskydj/stories.html

The Faculty Team:
 
Mark Evans
Office: East Hall B-5
Office Phone: (828) 262-2416
Home Phone: (828) 297-2931
E-mail: lifeforce@boone.net
Bud Gerber
Office: East Hall 162
Phone: (828) 262-2442
E-mail: gerberle@appstate.edu
Derek Stanovsky
Office: East Hall 152
Phone: (828) 262-2441
E-mail: stanovskydj@appstate.edu

Required Texts:

William Strauss and Neil Howe, Generations: The History of America's Future: 1584-2069 (NY: William Morrow, 1991)

Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams (NY: Oxford University Press, 1999)

Dorothy Day, The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of Dorothy Day (NY: Harper, 1952)

Jim Forest, Love Is the Measure: A Biography of Dorothy Day (NY: Orbis Books, 1994)

Stephen B. Oates, Let the Trumpet Sound: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. (NY: HarperCollins, 1982/94)

Diana Hacker, A Pocket Style Manual (Boston: St. Martin's Press, 1993). Note: this is the standard style manual for all Watauga College courses and for many other classes at ASU.

Rental Text (ask for IDS 1101):

Leon Litwack and Winthrop Jordan, The United States: Becoming a World Power, Vol.II, 7th Ed. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1991)

Grading:

The student's grade will be determined in a consultation of the teaching team. Roughly speaking, the Biographical Report together with the final paper will count 25% of the grade and will be the end product of the course. The biographical units count 75%. The student will also have quizzes and writing assignments in connection with the three biographical studies. Monday classes will be followed by a quiz on Tuesday, when such quizzes are appropriate.

In order to pass the course, the student must complete the work required for all four parts of Stories: the three biographical units and the final paper.

Interaction with "Tools":

In keeping with the Watauga philosophy of unified curricula and educational community, the faculty teaching "Tools of Human Expression" participate in the Stories project. Various Tools instructors handle the paper differently. Some will grade it and count it as a paper for Tools. Some will review it, looking for elements of good writing and narrative expression. Others will consult with the student on it.

Many of the readings and topics in "Tools" will be appropriate to the themes of "American Stories." Many "Tools" faculty will use readings that usefully supplement readings in "Stories."

NOTE!  THIS ALL MEANS THAT YOU WILL SUBMIT A COPY OF YOUR FINAL PAPER TO YOUR TOOLS INSTRUCTOR!!!!!!!

Class Schedule:

TH 8/19 Introductions to faculty, course, students and syllabus.

M 8/23 Generations. Large Group meeting, Sanford 104. [Phase I Begins.]

Read Strauss & Howe pp. 7-12; 27-40; 43-49; 58-60.5; 60.5-68 (skim); 69-79 (skim, but study p. 74); chart 6-6 after p. 96.
T 8/24 Large Group meeting, Sanford 104.
Briefly review generational charts: Strauss & Howe pp. 122, 130, 138, 146, 158, 166, 174, 182, 196, 208, 218. Your intention here is to get an idea of how Strauss & Howe are organizing their data. Read pp. 228-232; 233-240 (skim); 247-254.5; 254.5-260 (skim).
Browse John Winthrop's "A City Upon a Hill" sermon from the course homepage.
TH 8/26 Small Group meetings:
Group 1 - Mark Evans, Sanford 104
Group 2 - Bud Gerber, Sanford 404
Group 3 - Stanovsky, Sanford 103
Read Strauss & Howe pp. 261-294 -- Very Important!
M 8/30 Large Group meeting, Sanford 104.
Read Strauss & Howe pp. 295-316; 317-334 (This, at last, is Your Life)
Read and print-out the on-line Faculty Biographies: Mark Evans; Bud Gerber; Derek Stanovsky.
T 8/31 Small Group meetings.
Read Strauss & Howe pp. 335-343; 374-377.2; 380-383; 395.7-401.8; 408.7-417 (This is the history of your future!)
TH 9/2 The Education of Henry Adams. Large Group meeting, Sanford 104.
Read Adams pp. 5-72 (Editor's Preface, Preface, Quincy, Boston, Harvard, Berlin). Browse pp. xxxv-xlv (Chronology).
Skim Strauss & Howe pp. 206-216 (The Gilded Age)
Browse An Education on the Education of Henry Adams from course homepage.
LABOR DAY (Monday, September 6) -- NO CLASS

T 9/7 Small Group meetings: Interview Forms Due.

CONVOCATION / ASSESSMENT DAY (Thursday, September 9) -- NO CLASS

M 9/13 Large Group meeting, Sanford 104.

Read Adams pp. 86-110; 143-165; 190-200 (Treason, Diplomacy, The Battle of the Rams, Eccentricity, Darwinism)
Read Litwack & Jordan pp. 387-397 (Reconstruction and Restoration)
Browse An Education on the Education of Henry Adams from course homepage.
T 9/14 Small Group meetings.

LEE SMITH, AUTHOR OF ORAL HISTORY, WEDNESDAY 9/15 AT 7:30 P.M.

TH 9/16 Large Group meeting, Sanford 104.

Guest Speaker: Chuck Watkins.
M 9/20 Large Group meeting, Sanford 104.
Read Adams pp. 201-214; 239-277 (The Press, Chaos, Failure, Twenty Years After)
Read Litwack & Jordan pp. 521-542 (Culture and Thought)
Browse An Education on the Education of Henry Adams from course homepage.
T 9/21 Small Group meetings.

TH 9/23 Small Group meetings: Progress Report Due.

M 9/27 Large Group meeting, Sanford 104.

Read Adams pp. 278-302; 317-336; 354-363; 385-420 (Chicago, Silence, The Dynamo and the Virgin, Twilight, The Abyss of Ignorance, Vis Nova, A Dynamic Theory of History, A Law of Acceleration, Nunc Age)
Read Litwack & Jordan pp. 487-494; 550-566 (The Crash of 1893, Diplomacy and Power)
Browse An Education on the Education of Henry Adams from course homepage.
T 9/28 Small Group meetings.

TH 9/30 Small Group meetings.

M 10/4 The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of Dorothy Day. Large Group meeting, Sanford 104.

Read Forest pp. 1-37; 60-96
Read Litwack & Jordan pp. 569-601; 625-659 (The Progressive Era, The 20's)
Read A Biography of Dorothy Day by Jim Forest,  A Biography of Peter Maurin by Dorothy Day, and Peter Maurin Biography and Photos by Jim Forest from course homepage.
Browse Photos and Web Exhibit from course homepage.
T 10/5 New Small Group meetings:
Group 1 - Bud Gerber, Sanford 404
Group 2 - Derek Stanovsky, Sanford 103
Group 3 - Mark Evans, Sanford 104
TH 10/7 Small Group meetings: Bio Reports Due.

M 10/11 Large Group meeting, Sanford 104.

Read Day pp. 9-93 (Confession, Part One)
Read Forest pp. 97-158
Read Litwack & Jordan pp. 663-691 (The Depression)
Read "Work" from course homepage.
Appalnet showing: "Journey to America" (VC 6892) and "The Great Depression"
(Check out the Wobblie homepage too.)
T 10/12 Small Group meetings.

TH 10/14 Small Group meetings.

M 10/18 Large Group meeting, Sanford 104.

Read Day pp. 113-151; 169-181; 204-222
Browse articles on "Chastity" using Thesaurus from course homepage.
Video: "Entertaining Angels" [shown on Monday evening]
(Bio Reports returned to students in class.)
T 10/19 Small Group meetings: Conference Day.

FALL BREAK (Thursday and Friday, October 21-22) -- NO CLASS

M 10/25 Large Group meeting, Sanford 104. [Phase II Begins.]

Read Day pp. 222-235; 263-286
Skim Litwack & Jordan pp. 695-726 (World War II)
T 10/26 Small Group meetings.

TH 10/28 Library Research Tours.

M 11/1 Let the Trumpet Sound: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. Large Group meeting, Sanford 104.

Read Oates pp. 3-112 (Odyssey, On the Stage of History)
(Litwack & Jordan readings TBA)
Browse Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project at Stanford University from course homepage.
T 11/2 New Small Group meetings:
Group 1 - Derek Stanovsky, Sanford 103
Group 2 - Mark Evans, Sanford 104
Group 3 - Bud Gerber, Sanford 404
TH 11/4 Small Group meetings.

M 11/8 Large Group meeting, Sanford 104.

Read Oates pp. 115-276 (Freedom Is Never Free, Seasons of Sorrow, The Dreamer Cometh)
T 11/9 Small Group meetings.

TH 11/11 Small Group meetings.

Research Draft (First Topic, 4 pages minimum) due Friday 11/12 in instructor's box.

M 11/15 Large Group meeting, Sanford 104.

Read Oates pp. 279-383 (Life's Restless Sea, Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around)
T 11/16 Small Group meetings.

TH 11/18 Small Group meetings.

Research Draft (Second Topic, 4 pages minimum) due Friday 11/19 in instructor's box.

M 11/22 Large Group meeting, Sanford 104.

Read Oates pp. 387-498 (The Road to Jericho, The Hour of Reckoning, Free at Last)
T 11/23 Small Group meetings.

THANKSGIVING (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, November 24-26) -- NO CLASS

M 11/29 Small Group meetings with original instructors.

Group 1 - Mark Evans, Sanford 104
Group 2 - Bud Gerber, Sanford 404
Group 3 - Derek Stanovsky, Sanford 103
T 11/30 Small Group meetings.

TH 12/2 Small Group meetings.

M 12/6 Small Group meetings.

T 12/7 Small Group meetings.

Final Stories Paper due by Friday, December 10 at noon in your instructor's box. (Remember: A copy of your paper must also be turned in to your "Tools" instructor by this time as well.)