What does this course promise?

  • To provide you with opportunities to examine critically a well-known narrative in European history through assignments that require you to interpret primary sources, evaluate and synthesize current scholarship, and compose persuasive arguments supported with evidence in a take-home essay and timed exams
  • To delve deeply into the complex ideas and detailed events of the Revolutionary Era, giving you opportunities to construct a chronology of ideas and events, and to imagine your own “lived experience” of chosen events through the eyes of an historical figure
  • To broaden the rather simple notion that the French Revolution and Napoleonic Era was led by a few great men to an inevitable conclusion. The religious, economic, and political culture form part of a luminous social tapestry; the unfolding of events reveals its contingencies

Lynn Hunt and Jack R. Censer,  The French Revolution and Napoleon: Crucible of the Modern World (Bloomsbury, 2017)

Philip Dwyer and Peter McPhee, The French Revolution and Napoleon: A Sourcebook (Routledge/Taylor & Francis, 2002)

Anatole France, The Gods Will Have Blood (Penguin, 1912)

There are also a number of readings posted on the course BlackBoard site. Please be sure to download and print copies of these readings. You will need to bring them with you to class so we can read them closely together.

  1. Classroom engagement (10% of final grade) The class format consists of mini-lectures, discussion and an ongoing role-play exercise. You will be expected not only to be present at all the class meetings, but to be prepared to discuss the assigned reading (see “Good Discussion Practices: A Guide” on BB). Any classes missed without a Dean’s excuse is considered an unexcused absence. If you must miss class for any reason, please let me know. Frequent absences (more than 2), tardiness and flagrant inattention during class will affect your grade.
  2. “Lives and Voices” historical biography (15% of final grade) Each student will develop a social profile of an historical figure, and will submit regular entries using the voice of that figure. These BlackBoard, journal posts consist of eight, short entries (300-500 words each). Each entry will draw directly on primary sources from the class reading and refer to specific events and ideas referenced in our course. You must complete EIGHT entries TOTAL. Each entry is time-specific, and must be completed by the Friday of the week it is assigned. No late entries will be accepted. Entries assigned on 1/24, 1/31, 2/7, and 4/10 are required. Choose four other entries designated “optional” on the syllabus.
  3. Lives and Voices Storymap (15% of final grade). This project aligns with the Lives and Voices biography to show the movement of revolutionaries and counter-revolutionaries across time and space. Each student will situate the life of the historical figure at key moments as they occurred across the city of Paris, the provinces of France and/or the Atlantic world.  A short, written reflection on this project will be due at the end of the semester.
  4. Reading Analysis papers (20% of final grade) These FIVE assignments draw on primary and secondary class reading and vary from short answers to longer, argument-driven written pieces. I will provide details about each assignment.
  5. Exams and quizzes. During the semester, you will be given at least two vocabulary & chronology quizzes on the reading that are graded pass/fail (5% toward your final grade). You will be given a midterm on February 27th (15% of final grade) and a final exam on Tuesday, April 28 from 2 to 5 PM (20% of final grade). Please note the exam dates as no make-up exams will be offered.

How will my work be evaluated?

From the coursework listed above, you can see that your final grade will be based on a number of different assignments. Each one evaluates your twork within specific outcomes stated in the assignment’s guidelines that I will provide. Every assignment will also include a grading rubric.

More important than simply conveying the correct information back to me is for you to demonstrate your independent and critical thinking, particularly in how you select and weigh evidence, how you organize your ideas to communicate clearly and effectively, and how you pose questions and pursue knowledge in written and oral work.