Assignments

ASSIGNMENTGRADEDUE DATE
Questions10%By 12 noon on the day of class
Spatial History Concepts10%By 12 noon on the day of class
Spatial History Definitions10%By 12 noon on April 22
Project Reviews30%By 12 noon on the day of the related class
Essay Project40%Draft: By 11:59 PM on Friday, April 26
Final Version: By 11:59 PM on Sunday, May 5

QUESTIONS (10%) – Due no later than 12 noon on the day of class

  1. Each week you will post three substantive questions or points for discussion in the class Slack group (https:// spatialhistory2024.slack.com).
    1. Your questions can focus on themes and issues raised in specific readings for that week, on the relationship of the readings, on how the readings can synthesized, or on the relationship of the readings to topics covered in previous weeks. Questions should not be merely factual. Try to include at least one question relating the readings.
    2. To frame good questions you often need to think critically about your initial reactions to a reading. This post by Caleb McDaniel offers some suggestions about how to do that: “How to Discuss a Book for History,” (August 19, 2013), http://wcm1.web.rice.edu/howtodiscuss.html
    3. Keep your questions short and do not spend too much time polishing the writing – this assignment will be graded pass/fail, so as long as you submit questions, you will pass.

SPATIAL HISTORY CONCEPTS (20%) – Due no later than 12 noon on the day of class

  1. Contribute to a glossary of concepts (5% X 2)
    1. For two weeks of class, you will contribute 100-250-word definitions of the topic of the class and at least one term used in the required readings for that class not already in the glossary to the shared Google doc glossary. Do not contribute glossary entries for the class when you are reviewing a project or a tool.
      1. Your definitions should include quotations from the readings, presented as prose not just a list.
      2. You will briefly explain your definitions in class, focusing on the key elements and the areas of debate, as well as how the concept relates to those already in the glossary.
    2. In the weeks when you are not contributing the glossary entries, you will identify one concept in the glossary (Place, Space, Location, Locale, Landscape, Movement) that appears in a reading assigned for that week and briefly annotate the existing glossary entries with comments on how it is defined and used in that readings (make sure your annotation includes a citation to where in the reading the concept is discussed).
  2. Create your own definitions (10%) Due no later than 12 noon on April 22
    1. Write 250-word definitions of place, space, and two other concepts of your choice from the glossary.
    2. Each definition should explain the concept and how your definition draws on and relates to how other scholars have defined the concept.
    3. In the final class meeting we will discuss the definitions created by the class
    4. Submit your definitions by email to Prof. Robertson

PROJECT REVIEWS (10% X 3) – Due no later than 12 noon on the day of the related class

  1. For each week of the class there are suggested additional projects. For three weeks, you will will write a 750-1000-word review of one of those projects. If possible, only one student will review a project each week. Do not choose a project from the class in which you are creating a glossary entry.
    1. The projects are a mix of articles, articles with related websites, and freestanding websites. Explain the project’s goal or argument, how effective it is (what works, what could be further developed, what is missing), the source base, the theoretical framework and how it defines spatial history concepts, what tools and visualizations it employs, and how it relates to the other projects we are reading and fits into the field of spatial history. Do not just describe a project; evaluate how well it does in regards to these features.
    2. For suggestions on how to review digital elements of the project, consult the Journal of American History’s Digital History guidelines, https://jah.oah.org/submit/digital-history-reviews/
    3. You will briefly present your project in class. In no more than 5 minutes, relate the project to the required readings for the class: compare its sources, approach, tools, and argument. Pose a question to the class that the project raises about the week’s topic for discussion.
    4. Submit your review by email to Prof. Robertson.

ESSAY/PROJECT (40%) – Draft due by 11:59 PM on Friday, April 22; Final version due by 11:59PM on Sunday, May 5

  1. Choose one of these options by week 8, for discussion in one-on-one meetings that week
    1. A 15-page historiographical essay responding to a prompt . The prompt will ask you to synthesize the readings for the course, and construct an analytic argument about the field of spatial history based on a close reading of those projects. The prompt will be made available after class on April 15.
    2. A 15-page historiographical essay on a topic of your choice, based on 8-10 projects, at least 6 of which must be read exclusively for this assignment.
      1. You could choose one of the weekly topics and examine additional projects &/or readings
      2. You could explore spatial history in a specific historical field, drawing on readings from different weeks of the class (eg the 19th century US, or Early Modern Europe, or environmental history or the history of sexuality). There is not sufficient scholarship for such an essay in every historical field
    3. A proposal for a spatial history project. It should describe the research question, sources, how data is created, tools used, and how the project fits in the field of spatial history, and include wireframes or a prototype.
    4. Something else that you propose