Childhood and Adolescence in America:
Undergraduate Course Description and Requirements
Identifications for midterm examination
Overview: There are many perspectives used to examine history. The most familiar focus on politics, pubic policy, economics, ethnicity, race, and/or gender. This course examines the history of America's past by centering on childhood and adolescence. We will be looking at some of the many ways Americans have thought about childhood, adolescence, and youth, especially as ideas about children and teens related to public policy and culture. Using the perspective of childhood and adolescence highlights many of the more familiar aspects of American history, but also offers new ways to see the events, people, and trends that shaped the United States. Childhood is a cultural construction as well as a biological stage of life. How has being young in America changed over time and how have social constructions rooted in popular ideas about childhood and youth influenced shifts in public policy directed at the nation’s youngest citizens? Although it is popular to think of childhood has a biologically defined period of life, childhood and adolescence are also shaped by socially constructed definitions that shift over time. The course examines how adults have defined and redefined what’s “good” for children and teenagers. For example, the twentieth century included national debates about the commercialization of childhood and adolescence that continue to shape the ideology and policies surrounding children’s lives. Assigned readings, lectures, and activities will also ask students to uncover the voices of children and adolescents in order to better understand their experiences and participation in the shaping American childhood and adolescence. A secondary goal is to examine how the influences of race, class, gender, and ethnicity are intertwined with age. “How old are you?” is a question that reflects the importance of age as part of the life experience and it should not be overlooked as a part of what shaped American history.
· Gain skills that help students analyze and critically evaluate ideas, arguments, and different perspectives.
· Identify, describe and critically evaluate some of the major trends and themes in the history of children, families and public policy in U.S. history.
· Write essays and participate in discussions using both primary and secondary sources that balance evidence with historical arguments.
· Strengthen the ability to integrate the use of primary sources as evidence for historical analysis.
· Appreciate the importance of economics, politics, class, gender, race, ethnicity, and age in the experience of American childhood as well as the development of social policy.
Pledge of Academic Integrity:
Of course, I expect students enrolled in this course to uphold the UMBC Code of Student Conduct for Academic Integrity. The UMBC Faculty Senate and Student Government Associations have adopted the following statement emphasizing the importance of academic integrity for faculty and students:
By enrolling in this course, each student assumes the responsibilities of an active participant in UMBC's scholarly community in which everyone's academic work and behavior are held to the highest standards of honesty. Cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and helping others to commit these acts are all forms of academic dishonesty, and they are wrong. Academic misconduct could result in disciplinary action that may include, but is not limited to, suspension or dismissal. To read the full Student Academic Conduct Policy, consult the UMBC Student Handbook, the Faculty Handbook, or the UMBC Policies section of the UMBC Directory.
Plagiarism is sometimes a confusing issue for students unfamiliar with the best practices in writing and researching history. The Department of History Style Sheet includes specific guidelines students at UMBC should use to maintain academic integrity for history assignments. I also recommend the Indiana University writing tutorial located at: http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets.shtml
This course includes periodic online quizzes which will count as part of your grade, but are intended to serve more as study guides than specific knowledge tests. You may use notes and reading materials with the quizzes, but please work alone when you take the quiz. In other words, the quizzes are NOT group projects.
Attendance and Make-up Policies:
I will not take
attendance each Wednesday, BUT missing classes will hurt you. Much of the course material
will be available only in class meetings. I STRONGLY urge you to plan to
attend ALL class meetings. You will also be responsible for "attending"
class via the course Blackboard website.
All announcements and
information about class assignments will be distributed on Blackboard and
via your UMBC email address. All students enrolled in this course are
expected to use their UMBC email address and to check email at least each
Wednesday and Thursday. You may choose to have messages sent to your UMBC
address forwarded to another email address, but YOU are
responsible for setting this preference with the UMBC email system.
http://www.umbc.edu/oit/sans/helpdesk/acctforward.html *HINT: The Blackboard software works best using Internet Explorer. Unfortunately, at times there are some technical problems with browsers such as Mozilla's Firefox.
As noted above, this course has a web-based syllabus that
utilizes UMBC's Blackboard software technology. You are expected to check
the course Blackboard website each week for the course schedule, updates,
and online quizzes.
assignments are linked directly to Blackboard and others are housed on the
UMBC Library's UCORS online reserve system. The Course
Blackboard notes how to access each reading assignment.
Make-up Policy: I will offer make-up examinations for the midterm and the final examination, but only if arrangements for are made the day the examination is scheduled or before. If you miss the midterm or final and have not notified me in advance, you may not take a makeup and will earn 0 points for the missed exam. Warning: I am strict about this policy.
All undergraduate students are required to purchase and read the following books for this course: The prices listed below are those charged by the UMBC bookstore. Feel free to get your books there, or from another source. Just get the books. You won't do well in this class without reading them. You will also be required to read the essays, websites, and short articles linked to the Course Schedule for each week. The quizzes are based on the reading assignments.
(up to 100 points). I will offer a minimum of 12
online or in-class quizzes. Watch the Course
Schedule so that you can take advantage of these quiz opportunities.
Each will be worth up to 10 points and you may take as many quizzes as you
like. You may earn up to 100 points in the quiz category. So, the more
quizzes you take, the more points you will earn. The quizzes are designed to
help you keep up with the readings and serve as a study guide for the
material. I will NOT offer make-ups for quizzes. The online quizzes are
due by 4:30 pm on the specified Wednesday. In-class quizzes will not be
announced in advance. Hint: the quizzes are a great way to improve your
grade, but not taking advantage of the quizzes will also hurt you in the
Formal Paper: (50
points) Each student is required to write a 4-page paper analyzing the
depiction of children or teens in the Baltimore Sun newspaper, any
week between 1929 and 1950. Your paper should provide evidence from the
newspaper (date, page numbers, article title) and reflect themes that you
have learned in the course. Your analysis may agree or disagree with the
themes in your texts and presented in lectures, but most important, your
paper must show that you have understood these themes and either found them
or didn't find them in the newspaper; and why. Papers are due April 25th.
I will not accept late papers.
(Midterm, 100 points; Final, 150 points = 250 points). The
midterm and final examinations will cover lecture and
assigned reading materials. The midterm will cover material addressed up
to that point in the semester. The final will include one comprehensive
essay question that you will see before taking the exam (50 points). The
balance of the final exam will cover material addressed since the midterm.
Both examinations will include essay and multiple choice questions, as well
as identifications. I will offer a study guide prior to each examination.
Out-of-class Events: (Extra credit--up to 20 points) each student is
eligible to earn up to 20 extra credit points for attending and analyzing out-of-class events. Each event's analysis
is worth up to 10 points. All evaluations must be submitted via email to
email@example.com within one week of
the event. Your essay should be no more than 2 paragraphs and serve as
an analysis--not a summary. What was the presenter's thesis (argument)? Did
the presenter make a convincing argument? Did anything offered during this
presentation relate to what you are studying in this class?
*Make-up Policy: I will offer make-up examinations for the midterm and the final examination, but only if arrangements for a make-up are made the day the examination is scheduled or before. If you miss the midterm or final and have not notified me in advance, you may not take a makeup and will earn 0 points for the missed exam. Warning: I am strict about this policy.
|Online and In-class quizzes||up to 100 pts.|
Semester Grading Scale
|360-400 A||320-359 B|
|280-319 C||240-279 D|
|below 240 F|