Course Syllabus

Western Civilization I

 

HIS 101-OL

Salem Community College

Spring 2014

Instructor: Asst. Prof. Timothy Hack

Office: D-210B

Office Hours: By Appt.  In most instances, you can see me before or after class.  If my office door is open, I am available.  Otherwise, contact me to make an appointment.  For online students, I will be available remotely by clicking on the "Conferences" features during my office hours.  I can also meet via this link if necessary. 

E-mail: Use Canvas email first.  thack@salemcc.edu

I will respond to emailed question as soon as I can.  Generally, I return your email within 24hrs.  If you do not get a response within 48hrs, email thack@salemcc.edu

Office phone: 856-351-2609

Introduction:

A college course rule of thumb: for every hour you spend in class you should spend 2 hours preparing (that is 7-1/2 hours per week for an online course).  History courses at the college-level involve extensive reading and writing – at least 50 pages of reading a week and 20 pages of writing by semesters’ end. I do not expect you to understand everything you read, but I do expect you to work hard and give it your best. 

Prerequisites:

ENG98

Academic Support and Services:

Students with Disabilities: If you have a documented disability that may have an impact on your work in this class please contact me via email or during my office hours.  Students must provide documentation of their disability to the ADA coordinator (see student handbook) in order to receive special services and accommodations. 

Tutoring: SCC has a free tutoring program for students seeking assistance in this course.  Smarthinking is an online service that will help with writing in particular.  The services’ link can be found on SCC’s homepage.  Anyone who uses this service when writing their paper will receive FIVE points added to their paper.  You must cut-and-paste and submit it to me.  You will not receive credit just by logging on or only tacitly engaging the process.

Technology Requirements: Students are expected to have a grasp of the use of basic internet applications such as Youtube, Google, etc.  Students should also know how to upload files. MIcrosoft applications such as PPT and Word documents will also be used.

Technical Support: Canvas provides 24/7 technical support as well as forums and guides for most any problem.  See the Help icon on the top right-hand side of the homepage and navigate to your desired level of support. 

Netiquette:

Netiquette is a set of rules for behaving properly online. Something about cyberspace makes it easy for people to forget that they are interacting with other real people. The following bullet points cover some basics to communicating online:

    • Be sensitive to the fact that there will be cultural and linguistic backgrounds, as well as different political and religious beliefs, plus just differences in general.
    • Use good taste when composing your responses in Discussion Forums. Swearing and profanity is also part of being sensitive to your classmates and should be avoided. Also consider that slang can be misunderstood or misinterpreted.
    • Don’t use all capital letters when composing your responses as this is considered “shouting” on the Internet and is regarded as impolite or aggressive. It can also be stressful on the eye when trying to read your message.
    • Be respectful of your others’ views and opinions. Avoid “flaming” (publicly attacking or insulting) them as this can cause hurt feelings and decrease the chances of getting all different types of points of view.
    • Be careful when using acronyms. If you use an acronym it is best to spell out its meaning first, then put the acronym in parentheses afterward, for example: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). After that you can use the acronym freely throughout your message.
    • Use good grammar and spelling, and avoid using text messaging shortcuts.

Texts:

  • Coffin, Western Civilizations, Vol.1, ISBN# 0393934829
  • Davis, The Return of Martin Guerre, ISBN# 0674766911

Professor’s Policies:

Assignments and Assessment

The nature and content of exams and assignments are subject to change during the course of the semester.

Academic honesty

You are expected to follow the SCC guidelines on academic honesty.  Violations discussed in the Student Handbook, including plagiarism, fabrication, or cheating on any assignment or examwill be reported.  Cutting and pasting anything from the internet without proper citation is plagiarism.  All forum posts and test answers will be screened for plagiarism.  Taking quizzes and exams in groups is also cheating.  I catch a good number of people each year; do not let it be you.  At the very least, the work in question will receive a failing grade (anywhere from zero to 59 points, at my discretion).  Multiple incidents WILL result in the failure of the course, and disciplinary action by the college.

Handing in assignments:

Late work

While I understand that on certain isolated occasions you may be unable to complete an assignment on time, I will penalize late work by 10 points unless I have granted an extension to an individual BEFOREthe due date.  If you need an extension on an assignment, email me well ahead of time.  If you are granted an extension on an assignment, you must remind me of my consent when you turn in the late assignment.  All late work must be handed in by the last class of the semester in order to receive credit. 

Appealing a grade

If you wish to appeal a grade, you must follow these procedures:

Write a short, typed paragraph (more if necessary) explaining why you think the grade should be changed.  Please be specific and provide examples.  Hand in your assignment with the written appeal no later than one week after the day on which assignments have first been returned.  When you turn in your appeal, make an appointment with me to discuss the assignment.  I will not consider appeals submitted more than one week after the papers have first been returned.

Assessment

Discussions Posts and Module Assignments – 35%

Lecture Exams (3) – 30%

Chapter Quizzes (14) – 20%

Papers (1) – 15%

 

Discussion Posts (35%)

Discussion short writing assignments will be given throughout the semester and will be posted in most modules.  Your grade will be assessed as follows:

A – The post reflected a clear understanding of the readings.  Provided multiple examples as evidence in answering the question(s).  Answered question clearly and fully.

B – The post reflected a good understanding of the readings.  Provided at least one example as evidence in answering the question.  Answered question clearly and fully.

C – The post reflected a basic understanding of the readings.  Provided a generalized answer to the question.  Answered most of the question, but either inferred or left out information.

D – The post showed little understanding of the readings.  Provided a very general and/or vague answer to the question(s).  Missed key points of the question.

F – Clearly didn’t read.  Provided a vague, general answer to the questions.  Failed to answer the question adequately. 

Lecture Exams (30%)

After reviewing 4-5 lectures and completing the readings, you must complete a Lecture Exam.  These will be posted in the Modules on Course Canvas.  I will use the above criteria to assess your answers.

Chapter Quizzes– 14 (20%)

You are responsible for completing 14 Chapter Quizzes, one for each chapter.  These are located in the modules. 

Paper: (1200 words minimum)

Papers MUST have 1” margins all-around and be double-spaced.  Your name should appear at the top of the paper, followed by a title, and then your text.  Please, no more than two lines between your name and the title, and no more than two lines between your title and opening paragraph.  In addition, please skip the cover pages and plastic covers.  Do not double-space between paragraphs.  12 pt font please, and no SUPER LARGE font styles please.  Cite your work in the manner you feel most comfortable (MLA, Chicago, etc.).  Include a bibliography if using sources outside of those assigned in the course (this does not count toward your page total).  Feel free to ask me any other questions in regards to the paper at any time.

Paper topics: Choose (15%)

After reading the Return of Martin Guerre and the articles by Davis and Finlay, as well as, viewing the movie write an essay that addresses the following question: Is the story of Martin Guerre as constructed by Davis an objective account of what happened?

Papers MUST be at least 1200 words, have 1” margins all-around, and be double-spaced.  Your name should appear at the top of the paper, followed by a title, and then your text.  Please skip the cover pages and plastic covers.  Use 12 pt font.  Cite your work in the manner you feel most comfortable (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.).  Include a bibliography (I urge you to use http://www.easybib.com/ to save some time).

 

 

Class Schedule

*The professor reserves the right to alter the schedule.

Follow the Calendar/Modules on Course Canvas

Paper Rubric Some editorial abbreviations you may see in your papers: Passive voice (PV), Verb Tense (VT), Significance (Sig.), Awkward statement (Awk.), Unclear (?), Good point (Gd), Thesis (th), Wordy (wor.). 

Thesis/Intro 20% A Strong thesis; clearly stated.  Original, creative, thoughtful.  Interesting (answers the “so what” question).  Broad enough to convey importance of discussion to follow, narrow enough to support with available materials 18-20  
B Clearly Stated.  Interesting (answers the “so what” question).  Factually correct. 16-17
C Ambiguous or unclear wording.  Simply describes topic of the paper.  Does not answer the so-what question.  Factually correct. 14-15
D Ambiguous or unclear wording.  Topically unfocused.  Does not answer so what question.  Factually correct. 12-13
F Missing, unrelated to topic, factually incorrect 0-11
Argument/ Analysis 30% A Persuasive, well organized and balanced.  Develops and supports thesis.  Contains cogent analysis that demonstrates a command of interpretive and conceptual tasks required by assignment and course material.  27-30  
B Persuasive, well organized and supports thesis.  Few to no factual errors.  Solid understanding of the texts, ideas, and method of assignment.  Minor gaps in reasoning. 24-26
C Fair organization.  May not move logically from paragraph to paragraph in support of thesis.  May contain minor factual errors or omissions of historical specifics.  Shows an understanding of the basic ideas and information involved in the assignment; a tendency toward recapitulations or narration of standard chronology 21-23
D Simply recounts chronology or series of events with little effort to form argument in support of thesis.  May be factually correct, but lacks relevance and/or importance.  Inadequate command of course material.  Fails to respond directly to the assignment 18-20
F Simply recounts chronology or series of events with little effort to form an argument in support of thesis.  Contains major factual errors, omissions, or both.  Does not understand class material.  Essay may not respond to question. 0-17
Development and Support 30% A Excellent choice of examples relevant to thesis.  Insightful analysis or interpretation of relevant portions of chosen documents that play an important role in the argument.  Does not neglect documents relevant to thesis.  27-30  
B Accurate use of examples relevant to thesis.  May have neglected other relevant documents.  Exhibits clear understanding of the meaning and significance of the documents and attempts to integrate them into argument.  24-26
C Refers to examples, but does not integrate them into argument in support of thesis.  Overlooks important documents relevant to the thesis in favor of less relevant documents.  Or, makes accurate use, as in B above, but with only one document. 21-23
D Use of document(s) out of historical context or contrary to their historical meaning.  Discursive and undeveloped.  May digress from one topic to another. 18-20
F Neglects documents altogether.  Little or no development.  Lists of vague generalizations or misinformation. 0-17
Grammar and Structure 20% A Essay moves easily from one point to the next with clear, smooth, and appropriate transitions, coherent organizations, and fully developed paragraphs.  The author employs sophisticated sentences effectively, chooses words aptly, and observes all conventions of English grammar to craft an eloquent essay. 18-20  
B Clear transitions and the development of coherent, connected ideas in unified paragraphs.  A good command of English, though with occasional stylistic or grammatical problems. 16-17
C Some awkward transitions and weak or undeveloped paragraphs not clearly connected to one another.  A tendency toward wordiness, unclear or awkward sentences, imprecise use of words, grammatical errors, and a vagueness of meaning brought on by the passive voice.  14-15
D Simplistic or discursive, tending to vague summations and digressions from one topic to another.  Major grammatical problems such as subject-verb disagreement, obscure pronouns, and sentence fragments.  Language 12-13
F Numerous grammatical errors that frustrate the reader’s attempt to understand the paper’s argument. 0-11
                                                                                                                                                     Total -

 

 

STYLE SHEET

* AVOID does not mean never.  Periodically you may find it impossible to discuss your point(s) without breaking one of these rules.

 

1. Avoid the first person (I, me, we, us).

a. I believe the United States should abandon bilateral drug diplomacy.  We all know that drugs are a major problem.  Revised: The United States should abandon bilateral drug diplomacy. 

 

2. Avoid wordiness.

a. In essence, after much pondering and peer group discussion on the topic, I feel that this is a case where the CIA has involved itself in some major clandestine activity to accomplish a goal that involved matters in which our government (but not necessarily the majority of its represented constituents) thought to be of greater importance than limiting overseas drug production.  Revised: The CIA has involved itself in some major clandestine activity to accomplish a goal thought to be of greater importance than limiting overseas drug production.

 

3. Avoid floating quotes.

a. The CIA gave the Corsicans the "umbrella of protection" to stabilize their international drug trade.

b. In no way is it possible to "seal the borders."

 

4. Avoid passive construction.  Nearly all of you are guilty of this.  By correcting it your writing will improve exponentially.  Ask yourself: Who or what is doing the action?

  1. Even the United States Senate was kept uninformed of these activities.  Revised: The CIA kept the US Senate uninformed of their activities.
  2. The supply of opium to the drug labs in Marseille was shut down.  Revised: Government forces shut down the supply of opium to the drug labs in Marseille.
  3. Communism was viewed as the enemy.  Revised: The American people viewed Communism as the enemy.

 

5. Avoid contractions and abbreviations.

a. The U.S. has always been bold and aggressive.

b. Past policies didn't work.

c. The United States compensates for past wrongs through affirmative action, Indian reservations, etc.

6. Avoid words and phrases that convey uncertainty and doubt.  Possibly, Probably, Most Likely, Maybe are just a few examples. 

a. It appears that maybe it is time to change strategies.

b. It seems that proper measures could be very effective.

 

7. Say it, don't talk about it.

a. I have pondered what can be done about the drug problem, and I will attempt to express my thoughts on the matter.

b. As we have already seen. . .

c. In this essay, we shall argue. . .

 

8. Avoid rhetorical questions.

a. Will we ever have a secure future with long-term goals and hopes for our children?

b. Why not cut our support of the problem at its source and thereby save money fighting it?

 

9. Limit usage of the verb "to be.”  Be creative.  Use verbs that illustrate your point better. 

a. The drug problem today is not one of just inner cities.  It is a problem of the suburbs.  It is a problem of the entire world.  Drugs are a global commodity.  Revised: The drug problem today transcends the inner cities. 

 

10. Watch punctuation.

a. These, however, constitute small victories, the war remains to be won.  Revised: These constitute small victories; the war remains to be won. 

b. And yet, as the President of the United States you claim to have a war against drugs, you stand to represent integrity and goodness, you speak for law and order.  Revised: The President, in name of law and order, claims to conduct a war against drugs.

 

11. Avoid extensive and awkward quotations.  Don’t pull quotes from secondary sources unless you are supporting/challenging a specific point of an author, or it is a quote an author used from a primary source.

a. McCoy maintains that narcotic regulation should occur in four specific areas: “1. Treatment and education to reduce U.S. domestic demand; 2. short-term, bilateral interdiction efforts aimed at reducing but not eliminating, drug shipments bound for America; 3. increased cooperation with UN narcotics agencies to gradually reduce global drug supply; and 4. control over CIA covert operations to bar future agency alliances with powerful drug lords.”

b. The CIA denied complicity in the drug trade.  "On the whole, their reaction was a mix of embarrassment and apathy."  CIA operatives justified their actions in the rhetoric of anti-communism.

 

12. A void clichés, slang, and foreign words.

a. History shows us that reduced supply has led to fewer addicts.  The CIA's complicity was a major – coup de tat

b. The CIA was given the green light in whatever operations they chose.

 

13. Keep verb tenses consistent.

a. This network flourished-(past tense) until 1968 when Turkey put a ban-(present tense) on poppy production.  This development combines-(present tense) with a crackdown on the heroin producing laboratories and contributed-(past tense) to the downfall of the network.

 

14. Don't feel, argue!

a. I feel we should concentrate most on the domestic problems of drug use.

 

15. Avoid awkward punctuation that breaks the flow of the narrative.

a. That seems to be the least beneficial narcotics/foreign policy scenario.

b. The CIA should no longer promote narcotics trafficking to advance their cause(s).

 

16. Avoid "it" and "there".

a. There is documentation in McCoy's book. . .

b. It is clear that the CIA has dealt with narcotics traffickers in the process.

 

17. Avoid parenthetical statements.

a. I would like to see our government let them know (with force, if necessary) that the days of smuggling are over.

b. The CIA could have has an extremely positive impact, being powerful enough (according to McCoy's findings) to have some major rings practically shut down.

 

18.  Avoid unnecessary words of emphasis.

a. Many of these groups were deeply involved in the production of heroin.  Any such policy must start wholly internationally.

 

19. Avoid "this" and "that".

a. The inner cities of our country are not promising places of upward mobility.  This leads to two routes for escape for many young people, and they both involve drugs.

 

20. Use parallel construction.

a. The CIA assisted opium farmers, heroin production plants, drug transporters, and smuggling operations.

 

21. Do not substitute "while" for "although."

a. While legalizing drugs would ultimately dismantle the drug cartels and reduce drug­ related violence in the cities, history shows that legalization will do little to curb the addiction rate.

22. Make the paragraph the unit of composition.

Each paragraph should begin with a sentence that announces in the most general terms your main point.  Following the topic sentence should be (a) evidence for the main point; (b) possible qualifications and amendments to the main point, including evidence for these; (c) if necessary, reasons why the main point holds nevertheless; (d) if appropriate, subsidiary implications of the main point.  When there is another point, make another paragraph.  If b, c, or d above are major in their implications, give each their own topic sentence and paragraph.  Writing in this manner will force you to find and clarify your main points.

 

23. Organization.  Outline before you write.

24. Clarity, simplicity, and brevity.

25. Avoid wordy sentences with numerous and confusing clauses.

26. Use your thesaurus sparingly.  Write within your vocabulary.  Do not try to impress by using words you do not know.

Before You Hand Your Paper In:

Revise, read it aloud, and find a reliable second reader!  Once you have learned to write without these cruxes you can implement some of them, sparingly, back into your writing.

 

Guidelines for Evaluating Primary Documents

Primary documents are the raw materials of history.  They are small pieces that the historian hopes to assemble to create a larger, coherent picture, and they must be examined carefully to determine where they fit.  Each piece provides some information in itself, but it must also be placed in its proper context.  As you examine documents for any historical research project, keep a number of questions and issues in mind.

1. Determine whether a given document is a primary or secondary source.  Historians use both kinds of sources in their research to answer questions about the past.

Primary documents are records and evidence that have survived from the past.  Some primary documents are materials produced by people who were directly involved, either as participants or witnesses in the event or topic that you are studying.  These can be diaries, letters, and newspaper articles from the time, speeches, interviews, photographs, or film or videotape recordings.  Official records such as census data, marriage records, and police and court records are also primary documents.  Material objects such as furniture, clothing, and toys can also yield important evidence about the culture and attitudes of the past.

Secondary documents are books and scholarly articles that interpret and explain primary sources.  Secondary works are extremely helpful in trying to understand primary evidence, but you should examine the original materials themselves whenever possible in order to draw your own conclusions.

Sometimes secondary sources can be used as primary evidence.  For example, U.S. history textbooks written in the 1950s are secondary works; they collect primary evidence to tell a story of the past.  However, they also reflect the biases and assumptions of the 1950s, when fear of the Soviet Union pervaded American society.  If you are interested in the ways Cold War anticommunism shaped Americans’ views of the past, you could use those textbooks as primary documents.

2. Carefully evaluate and analyze primary documents that you work with to understand each document’s value and limitations, detect the biases embedded in each document, and glean the information that you need from each source.  As Mary Lynn Rampola points out, “If sources always told the truth, the historian’s job would be much easier-- and also rather boring,” (A Pocket Guide to Writing in History, 1998). 

To understand the value and limitations of a source, try to answer the following questions: Is this source a firsthand account, written by a witness or participant?  Was it written at the time of the event or later?  Is the account based on interviews or evidence from those directly involved?

Be alert to the biases imbedded in primary sources.  Every document is biased, whether deliberately or unconsciously, by the point of view of the person who wrote it.  Determine as much as possible about the author of the document and his or her relationship to the events and issues described.  Did the author have a stake in how an event was remembered?  Did he or she want this issue to be perceived in a particular way?  Also consider for whom the document was created.  Was the author writing for a specific audience?  Was the document meant to be private, like a diary; to communicate with a small audience, like a letter or internal report; or to reach a bigger audience, like a speech or a published autobiography?  Take note of the author’s vocabulary.  What judgments or assumptions are imbedded in his or her choice of words?

Compare the accounts of one event provided by different primary sources to evaluate the reliability of each document.  When sources conflict, consider possible explanations for the differences.  When they concur, the account provided may be more accurate – especially if the authors have different points of view.  Do not assume that one type of document is necessarily more reliable than another.  A published newspaper article, for example, may reflect the biases of a reporter or editor.  An impassioned speech may contain kernels of information.

Working with primary sources offers a remarkable window into other worlds, as well as an opportunity to construct your own vision of the past.  Careful evaluation and interpretation of those sources is at the core of the historian’s craft.

Guidelines for Evaluating Visual Evidence

Visual evidence is an important source for historians.  However, as Jules Benjamin notes in A Student's Guide to History, gathering information from old paintings, drawings, and photographs can be more difficult than it may seem.  You need to do more than look at them.  First, you need to recognize the actual information that they present-- what Columbus's ships looked like, how Hiroshima appeared after the explosion of the atomic bomb.  Then you need to interpret them.  This involves an effort to understand what the artist or photographer is 'saying' in the work.  (This advice applies also to film and to any visual form.)  When an artist draws something and when a photographer takes a picture, he or she is not simply recording a visual image but is sending a message to anyone who looks at the work.  In this way, artists and photographers are like writers whose written work needs to be interpreted."  In order to best evaluate visual evidence, ask some or all of the following questions:

1. Note the identity and any biographical details about the artist who created the image.  Also record the date of its creation and the medium by which it was captured.  The medium of the image-- whether paint, pencil, or photograph-- can help reveal aspects of the message of the image: is the image realistic (like a photograph), fantastic (like a painting of an imagined place), or expressive (like a sketch or caricature)? 

2. Next carefully examine the entire image.  Note the central subject of the image.  Then, list or make a table of all the items you see.  Do any details stand out?  Are others obscured or peripheral to the main action?

3. Consider the overall setting of the photograph, for example, an urban street scene, a room in a private residence, or a factory.  What is the time of day, the season, or the ambiance of the scene?  How might the needs of the artist and the restrictions on the medium have affected the choice of setting?

4. What is the central message or story of the image?  What was the artist's purpose or point of view?  The message of an image can be literal (a picture of a government building) or metaphorical (the architectural style of the building alludes to the democracy of ancient Greece), but you should always pay attention to both levels. 

5. For what audience might the image have been intended?  Where would the image have been seen?  Was it made for private consumption, as in a family portrait, or for public commentary, as in a political cartoon?  Sometimes the intended audience or viewer will be suggested by the content of the image; other times, the image’s purpose will reveal itself first. 

6. Explore the historical context for the image.  Images are historical productions often made in conversation with or in reaction to the very subject the picture depicts.  Ask what broad historical trends might intersect with this subject, for example, immigration, the rise of great cities, or the changing nature of warfare.  Is the image made in a moment of rapid change or dislocation?  Alternatively, is the image made in a moment of relative calm, social, and political consensus? 

7. Finally, analyze the image for the issues it does not raise, the objects and people not included, as much as for what is included.  Does the image raise questions that are left unanswered about the scene?

Guidelines for Evaluating Aural Evidence

For the most part, historians rely on visual evidence, either in the form of text or images.  However, aural evidence—taken in through the ear—can offer insights unavailable through other kinds of sources.  Musical recordings are cultural artifacts that can take listeners to another time and place, recordings of speeches bring historical figures to life, and other recordings broaden the context in which historians examine public events.  Aural evidence exists in the form of sound recordings, and just as visual sources demand particular ways of seeing, sound recordings require critical ways of listening.  Building on the kind of analysis required for visual documents, we must learn to consider both who or what was recorded (e.g., a singer, a speech) and who was doing the recording (e.g., a producer, a record company).  These two levels of analysis are inseparable, and to look at one without the other is to miss half of the story.  We must also bear in mind that sound recording technology was invented relatively recently, in 1877, and that the existence of a sound recording is more the exception than the rule of historical source material.  We must ask not only “What is the singer, speaker, or musician trying to communicate through this recording?” but also “Why does this recording exist at all?”  To help you develop these critical listening skills, consider some or all of the following questions.  In some cases your answers will be speculative, but even speculative answers can be insightful and instructive.

1. Before listening, discover what information is available about the recording.  Who is the performer or speaker?  What is the title (if any)?  Are there any notes or supplementary material?  When and where was the recording made?  Who made this recording (for example, who was the producer)?  Do you have any biographical information about any of the people involved?

2. After listening to the recording one or several times, consider what you hear (a) in terms of the recording’s physical and technical properties, (b) from the perspective of the performer or speaker, and (c) from the perspective of the person or people who controlled the recording process.

3. How would you characterize the sound quality of this recording?  How would you characterize where this recording was made (for example, is it a studio recording, a field recording, a recording made from a radio broadcast)?

4. Why was this recording made?  Was it intended as a commercial release?  An educational tool?  A historical document?  Part of an ethnographic study?  A piece of political propaganda?  If you are listening to a musical recording, was this a new piece of music being recorded for the first time?  Or was this an older piece being preserved for posterity?  Or perhaps an older piece being “revived” for contemporary audiences?  If you are listening to an oral history, an interview, or a speech, who was the intended audience?  What impact did the speaker or the recorder expect the actual speech or narrative to have on audiences?  What impact did they expect the recording to have on future audiences?  Were there diverse audiences at the time of the recording?  What audiences developed for the recording as time progressed?

5. If you are listening to a musical recording, describe the musical style.  Is it religious or secular?  Is the music of rural or urban origins?  If there is singing, is the singer a man or a woman?  In what language are the lyrics?  What are the lyrics about?  Describe the musical instrumentation.  Does it suggest anything about the time period when the recording was made or the ethnic character of the music?

6. What message was the singer, musician, or speaker trying to convey?  Is there one central message, or are there several, simultaneous messages?  Keeping in mind that only in rare instances does the singer (or speaker) control the recording process, was the singer’s message in the recording the same as that of the producer or record company?  If the messages were different, how would you characterize the relationship between the messages (complementary, in competition, coincidental)?  Who do you think decided what was going to get recorded and how?

7. Who do you think would have listened to this performance and under what circumstances?  Did they listen privately, at home, in big groups, or in public?

8. Do you have access to any additional printed or visual information about the recording, such as cover art, liner notes, or a picture of a record label?  Do you have any biographical information, text or images, information for the speaker, or is there material on the event where the recording took place?  How does this information inform your overall understanding of the recording?  Does it help you answer any of the above questions?  Are these materials reliable as sources?

9. If you could not hear this recording but only read a transcription of what is sung or spoken, how would your experience be different?  What do you hear on the record that cannot be easily translated into words?

10. What does this recording tell you about the historical time period when it was made?  What else do you know about the time period?  Was it a period of turbulence or rapid change, or was it a period of relative stability?  Are there prejudices or biases you can detect on the part of the performer (or speaker) or the producer?  Is there evidence of these in the recording?

11. What kinds of issues can't you hear on this recording?  Did anyone make money from this recording?  How might different social groups respond to this recording?

Course Summary:

Date Details