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 Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait, 1937

Thesis Seminar in Women's and Gender History
HIST-7402-R

Class meets Tuesdays, 6:00-8:30 p.m.*, at this Zoom url: https://zoom.us/j/9144847554

(*Although we won't always meet for the full 2.5 hours, please set aside that amount of time. We'll definitely need it September 22 and November 3 and 17 and perhaps on other occasions too.)

Click here for the schedule of classes and assignments.



Texts for the seminar:

Octavia Butler, Kindred

Nupur Chaudhuri, Sherry J. Katz, and Mary Elizabeth Perry, eds., Contesting Archives: Finding Women in the Sources

Martha Howell and Walter Prevenier, From Reliable Sources: An Introduction to Historical Methods, chapter 5

Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History (9th ed., 2017)

Review essays by various authors (distributed via PDF)

Camilla Townsend, Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma

Kate Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (8th ed., 2013)

 


Thesis Work
In this seminar, both class work and conference work revolve around the thesis. Below are the due dates for various writing assignments. Deadlines are not negotiable. Some assignments will be discussed in seminar meetings, others only in conference. For details, see the class schedule, the appendix to this syllabus, this website's page on writing assignments , and the page on conferences. (Click on the links.)

Tuesday, September 1 (email to PM) - preliminary prospectus and bibliography
Friday, September 11 (email to the whole seminar) - core question and research tasks
Friday September 18 (email to the whole seminar) - annotated bibliography of secondary sources and essay
Friday, October 2 (email to PM) - historiographical portion of your introduction to the thesis
Friday, October 16 (email to the whole seminar) - short report on a collection of archival sources
Friday, October 30 (email to the whole seminar) - final draft of your prospectus and bibliography
Friday, November 13 (email to the whole seminar) - primary document and analysis
Monday, November 23 (email to PM) - first draft of the introduction to the thesis
Friday, December 11 (email to PM) - preliminary outline of the thesis
Tuesday, January 19 or 26 (email to whole seminar) - detailed outline of the whole thesis (different dates for different groups, TBA)

To facilitate a substantial, legible response from PM, submit all assignments in MS Word.

When we reconvene after the winter break, the whole seminar will read each student's detailed outline, first draft of a chapter, first draft of the whole thesis, and final draft.

All assignments must be submitted on time, without exception. All submissions must be fully and correctly documented; see Rampolla's Pocket Guide for rules and templates. All submissions must be proofread and edited. If you need editorial help, contact Carol Zoref (czoref@sarahlawrence.edu), who can refer you to a writing assistant.

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C L A S S    S C H E D U L E

9/1
9/8
9/15
9/22
9/29
10/6
10/13
10/20
10/27
11/3
11/10
11/17
11/24
12/1
12/8
12/15

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9/1
Introduction to the Course

Read and be ready to discuss Lyde Sizer, "What is a Thesis?" (click here). Also, in preparation for this meeting, review the research-based texts (as opposed to theory or primary documents) that you read in Visions/Revisions. Select the one book or article that best exemplifies the kind of scholarship you wish to produce in your thesis. Be ready to explain to the class why you see this text as a model and how you aim to emulate it.

EMAIL PM YOUR PRELIMINARY PROSPECTUS AND BIBLIOGRAPHY (your conference paper for the second half of Visions/Revisions or a suitable substitute).



9/8
To Rescue the Past

Read Butler, Kindred, and be ready to disscuss discuss what thesis writers can learn from this work of historical fiction?

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NO LATER THAN FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, EMAIL THE WHOLE SEMINAR A ONE-HALF PAGE STATEMENT OF THE ONE CORE QUESTION (YES, ONE) THAT INFORMS YOUR THESIS AND THE SPECIFIC RESEARCH TASKS THAT FLOW FROM THIS QUESTION.

 

 

9/15
Core Question

Read classmates' core questions and research agendas. Be ready to discuss them and to lead a discussion of your core question and the research agenda it generates.

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NO LATER THAN FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, EMAIL THE WHOLE SEMINAR AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY OF YOUR MOST IMPORTANT SECONDARY SOURCES AND A THREE- OR FOUR-PAGE ESSAY THAT BOTH ANALYZES THE CONVERATION THIS BIBLIOGRAPHY REPRESENTS AND EXPLAINS WHAT YOUR THESIS WILL ADD TO THE CONVERSATION. (Before you write the essay, read one or more of the review essays distributed via PDF. They exemplify the kind of thinking you need to do, though you needn't describe and assess any of your secondary sources in as much detail as you would in a book review. Your essay's central task is to situate your own work historiographically. Your choices as to which sources to discuss and how to address them should serve that task.)



9/22

Bibliography

Read classmates' bibliographies and essays. Be ready to discuss them and to lead a 20-minute discussion of your own bibliography and essay.

 


9/29
Conventions and Technicalities

In preparation for this meeting, explore Rampolla's Pocket Guide and Turabian's Manual. Come to class with both books. Be ready to discuss the ways you are using and/or plan to use these books. Be ready as well to share both a note and a bibliographic citation for each of three types of sources: a book, an article, and something more challenging to cite (a leaflet, a letter, an essay in an anthology, an unpublished paper, or some other item--your choice).

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NO LATER THAN FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2, EMAIL PM THE HISTORIOGRAPHICAL PORTION OF THE INTRODUCTION TO THE THESIS.



10/6
Whadya Know?

Read Howell and Prevenier, From Reliable Sources, chapter 5. Be ready to discuss the imponderables this chapter explores: change and continuity, causality, objectivity and the status of "the fact." How will you approach these issues in your thesis?

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10/13
October Recess - no seminar meeting and no conferences this week

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NO LATER THAN FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16, EMAIL THE WHOLE SEMINAR A SHORT REPORT (1 OR 2 PAGES) ON A COLLECTION OF PRIMARY SOURCES IMPORTANT TO YOUR THESIS. DESCRIBE THE SOURCES, EXPLAIN THE POTENTIAL YOU SEE IN THEM, AND COMMENT ON THE CHALLENGES THEY PRESENT. (If you can visit a brick- and-mortar archive, that would be wonderful, but this assignment doesn't necessitate in-person legwork. Instead, you can focus on sources available online, photocopies you obtained through Interlibrary Loan, or a published anthology of primary sources.)

 



10/20
Detection I

Read classmates' reports primary sources. Read as well Chaudhuri et al., eds., Contesting Archives, focusing on the chapters you find most instructive in connection with your own work. Be ready to discuss your plans for the primary sources described in your report and comment on the ways that your work with them will compare and contrast with work described in Contesting Archives.

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10/27
Detection II

This meeting will be a research clinic with guest expert Margot Note. Come to class with concerns, questions, and tips.

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NO LATER THAN FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30, EMAIL THE WHOLE SEMINAR THE FINAL DRAFT OF YOUR PROSPECTUS, INCLUDING A BIBLIOGRAPHY (WITHOUT ANNOTATION) OF BOTH PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SOURCES.

 



11/3
Prospects
I

Read classmates' prospectuses. Be ready to discuss them and to lead a 30-minute discussion of the project your own prospectus defines. Please begin with your assessment of the project at this stage: in which ways is it on firm ground, and in which ways does it feel shaky?

On 11/3 we'll discuss prospectuses by Madison Filzer, Noelle Iati, Rebecca Hopman and Vickie Nidweski.

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11/10
Prospects II

Read classmates' prospectuses. Be ready to discuss them and to lead a 30-minute discussion of the project your own prospectus defines. Please begin with your assessment of the project at this stage: in which ways is it on firm ground, and in which ways does it feel shaky?

On 11/10 we'll discuss prospectuses by Rachael Nuckles, Elizabeth Tripp and Sidney Wegener.

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NO LATER THAN FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13, DISTRIBUTE VIA EMAIL THE PRIMARY DOCUMENT (MAXIMUM OF FIVE PAGES) THAT YOU WISH THE CLASS TO DISCUSS ON NOVEMBER 17. IN ADDITION, DISTRIBUTE A THREE- OR FOUR-PAGE ESSAY THAT INTRODUCES THE DOCUMENT, INTERPRETS IT, AND OUTLINES THE ISSUES YOU WISH TO DISCUSS IN CLASS

 

 

11/17
Primary Source Analysis

Study classmates' primary documents and read their essays. Be ready to discuss both and to lead a 20-minute discussion of your document and essay.

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NO LATER THAN MONDAY, NOVEMBER 23, EMAIL PM THE FIRST DRAFT OF THE INTRODUCTION TO YOUR THESIS.

 


11/24
Thanksgiving Recess - no seminar meeting or conferences this week

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12/1
Inspiration

Read Townsend, Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma. Be ready to discuss what historians of other people and times can learn from the way Camilla Townsend reconstructs Pocahontas's world and world view.

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NO LATER THAN SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6, EMAIL PM THE PRELIMINARY OUTLINE OF YOUR THESIS.



12/8
No Class

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12/15
Celebration

Informal disvussion of plans for work over the winter break.

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Thesis Seminar, Fall 2020
Appendix to the Syllabus:
Writing Assignments and Conference Agenda
(See also this website's pages on writing assignments and conferences.)

Tuesday, September 1 - Shortly before or after class, email PM your preliminary prospectus and bibliography: your conference paper for the spring term of Visions/Revisions or a suitable substitute.

Conferences for the week of Monday, September 7 - Be ready to discuss the preliminary prospectus and bibliography (submitted September 1) and your research agenda for the fall.

Friday, September 11 - Email the whole seminar a half-page statement of both the one core question that informs your thesis and the primary-source research that flows from the question. This will be discussed in class and conference.

Friday, September 18 - Email the whole seminar an annotated bibliography of your most important secondary sources, along with a short essay that analyzes the conversation this bibliography represents and summarizes what you wish to add to it. Before you write the essay, read one or more of the review essays distributed via PDF; they exemplify the kind of thinking you need to do. Bibliographies and essays will be discussed in class and conference.

Conferences for the week of Monday, September 21 - Be ready to discuss your core question, your annotated bibliography of secondary sources, and your essay about the historiographical conversation your thesis enters.

Friday, October 2 - Email PM the historiographical section of your introduction to the thesis, to be discussed in conference, not in class. In about three to five pages, summarize and assess the scholarly conversation your thesis enters and explain what you will add to it. This assignment will be discussed in conference.

Conferences for the week of Monday, October 5 - Be ready to discuss the introduction's historiographical section.

Friday, October 16 - Email the whole seminar the short report on a collection of primary sources, to be discussed in class.

Conferences for the week of Monday, October 19 - optional meeting; agenda of your choice

Friday, October 30 - Email the whole seminar the final draft of your prospectus and bibliography. The prospectus should be about nine to twelve pages long, not counting the bibliography. In addition to whatever else you wish to it to accomplish, it should (not necessarily in this order) define your topic; lay out your core questions and explain their significance; assess the relevant historiography and make clear what you will add to it; describe your primary sources and research methods and expound on their value in this context. It should also include a formal, un-annotated bibliography of both primary and secondary sources. This is the prospectus that you will file with the Office of Graduate Studies. Citations should adhere to the rules found in Rampolla's Pocket Guide (or Turabian's Manual). Prospectuses will be discussed in class and conference.

Conferences for the week of Monday, November 9 - Be ready to discuss your prospectus.

Sunday, November 15 - Email the whole seminar the primary document and accompanying essay to be discussed in class on November 20. The document must not be more than five pages long. The essay (three or four pages) should introduce the document, offer an analysis, and outline the issues you wish to address with the class.

Monday, November 23 - Email PM the first draft of the introduction to your thesis, to be discussed in conference. The introduction should be about twelve to fifteen pages long. In addition to whatever else you wish to it to accomplish, it should (not necessarily in this order) define your topic; lay out your core questions and explain their significance; assess the relevant historiography and make clear what you will add to it; describe your primary sources and research methods and expound on their value in this context; and present a preview of the thesis, chapter by chapter. Although this is the first draft, be sure to proofread, edit, and follow formal rules of documentation (which you'll find in Rampolla's Pocket Guide). The introduction will be discussed in conference, not in class. TO A LARGE DEGREE, THE INTRODUCTION REITERATES THE PROSPECTUS. BEAR IN MIND, HOWEVER, THAT, WHILE THE PROSPECTUS DESCRIBES WHAT YOU INTEND TO ACCOMPLISH, THE INTRODUCTION WILL BECOME THE FINISHED THESIS'S PREAMBLE, EXPLAINING WORK COMPLETED. WRITE IT ACCORDINGLY, AS PART OF THE THESIS.

Conferences for the week of Monday, November 30 - Be ready to discuss the introduction's first draft.

Friday, December 11 - Email PM the preliminary outline of your thesis, to be discussed in conference.

Conferences for the week of Monday, December 14 - Be ready to discuss the preliminary outline.

 

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