Course Syllabus

“War, at the best, is terrible.”  –Abraham Lincoln, 1864

[ PRINTABLE SYLLABUS ]

Books

  • David Kieran and Edwin A. Martini, eds. At War: The Military and American Culture (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2018)

Additional Readings & Resources

  • Daniel P. Barr, “Victory at Kittanning? Reevaluating the Impact of Armstrong’s Raid on the Seven Years’ War in Pennsylvania,” PMHB 131 (Jan. 2007): 5-32 [JSTOR]
  • Caroline Cox, “Integrity and Leadership: George Washington,” in The Art of Command edited by Laver and Matthews (2008) [JSTOR]
  • Dickinson College –House Divided websites: Civil War & Reconstruction // Lincoln’s Writings // Prince of Emancipation
  • Dickinson College –student websites: Tom Forte (map) (site) // Kaileigh McNellis // Rachel Morgan // Maeve Thistle // Maria Villotti
  • Antulio J. Echevarria, “Toward an American Way of War,” USAWC (March 2004) [WEB]
  • Donald R. Hickey, “Series: The Global Context of the War of 1812,” (5 chapters), National Park Service (2013) [WEB]
  • William Huntting Howell, “Starving Memory: Joseph Plumb Martin Un-Tells the Story of the American Revolution,” Common-place [WEB]
  • Richard H. Kohn, “Out of Control: The Crisis in Civil-Military Relations,” National Interest 35 (Spring 1994): 3-17 [JSTOR]
  • Richard H. Kohn, “Tarnished Brass: Is the US Military Profession in Decline?” World Affairs 171 (Spring 2011): 73-83 [JSTOR]
  • David L. Leal, “Students in Uniform: ROTC, the Citizen-Soldier, and the Civil-Military Gap,” PS: Political Science and Politics 40 (July 2007): 479-83 [JSTOR]
  • Joseph Locke and Ben Wright, eds. American Yawp, 2020-21 updated ed. [WEB]
  • Stephanie McCurry, “Enemy Women and the Laws of War in the American Civil War,” Law and History Review 35 (August 2017): 667-710 [JSTOR]
  • Matthew Pinsker, “The Soldiers’ Home: A Long Road to Sanctuary,” Washington History 18 (2006): 4-19 [WEB]
  • James W. Pohl, “The Influence of Antoine Henri de Jomini on Winfield Scott’s Campaign in the Mexican War,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 77 (Jul., 1973): 85-110 [JSTOR]
  • Carol Reardon, “Chapter 2: Who Shall Command?” in With a Sword in One Hand And Jomini in the Other (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012), 55-88 [CATALOG / EBSCO]

First Battle Paper

By Friday, March 5, students will submit a 6 to 8 page essay that analyzes a significant battle from early American military history (1754 to 1877).  Battles may include EITHER traditional military engagements (land or sea) OR sociopolitical confrontations (such as the struggle to authorize enrollments of Black soldiers during the Civil War).  Each essay should provide thoughtful historical context combined with strong narrative description.  All essays should employ a wide-ranging combination of high quality primary and secondary sources (including at least one of the relevant chapters from the At War collection). All essays should be typed and double-spaced as a Word or PDF document with title page and Chicago-style footnotes (no bibliography required).  In addition to the essay, students are required to submit either a custom-made Google Map, StorymapJS or TimelineJS on their chosen military history episode.  Well-designed maps or timelines can receive up to 5 extra-credit points.  Additional information will be available on the annotated assignment guidelines at the course site. Both essay and map / timeline links should be submitted by email to Prof. Pinsker by 5pm on the due date.  Student work will be graded on research effort, depth of analysis and prose quality. Late essays will be penalized up to 5 points per day.

Second Battle Paper

By Friday, April 9, students will submit a 6 to 8 page essay that analyzes a significant battle from modern American military history (1877 to 2009).  Battles may include EITHER traditional military engagements (land, sea or air) OR sociopolitical confrontations (such as the confrontation over the Don’t Ask / Don’t Tell policy regarding gay service members in the 1990s).  Each essay should provide thoughtful historical context combined with strong narrative description.  All essays should employ a wide-ranging combination of high quality primary and secondary sources (including at least one of the relevant chapters from the At War collection).  All essays should be typed and double-spaced as a Word or PDF document with title page and Chicago-style footnotes (no bibliography required).  In addition to the essay, students are required to submit a short companion video (2-3 minutes) on their assigned topic.  Well-produced videos may receive up to 5 extra-credit points.  Additional information will be available on the annotated assignment guidelines at the course site. Both essay and video link should be submitted by email to Prof. Pinsker by 5pm on the due date.  Student work will be graded on research effort, depth of analysis and prose quality. Late essays will be penalized up to 5 points per day.

Final Battle Projects

By Thursday, May 13, students will post a final battle project on their own Weebly site.  Each project should be designed as an online teaching exhibit, revised from material submitted earlier in one of their previous battle papers.  For this online effort, students should employ an even wider variety of primary and secondary sources than their initial written essay.  In addition, now benefiting from the online platform, they should strive to find ways to provide full-text access and/or page images for these sources whenever available.  Most important, students should strive to engage classroom audiences with visual and multi-media tools such as embedded maps, timelines, podcasts, or videos.  Students may embed multi-media elements from outside sources, but they must take care to credit those sources properly.  All visual or multi-media material at the student-produced websites must be properly credited and captioned and all quoted text material needs to have Chicago-style footnotes.  Additional information will be available on the annotated assignment guidelines at the course site.  Students should submit a link to their website by email to Prof. Pinsker. Student work will be graded on research effort, depth of analysis and both prose and online design quality. Late projects will be penalized up to 5 points per day.

Grade Distribution

  • Class Participation                  30 percent
  • First Battle Paper                    20 percent
  • Second Battle Paper              20 percent
  • Final Battle projects                30 percent

 

Day Date Discussion Topic Reading Assignment
Tuesday 1/26 ZOOM: Methods & Expectations
Thursday 1/28 EMAIL: American Way of War Echevarria article
Part 1:  Early Military Traditions
Tuesday 2/2 ZOOM: Seven Years’ War Yawp, chap. 4 // Barr article
Thursday 2/4 EMAIL: Revolutionary War Yawp, chap. 5
Tuesday 2/9 ZOOM: Continentals (Pvt. Martin) Huntting Howell article
Thursday 2/11 HUB / EMAIL: Washington @ Newburgh Cox chapter
Tuesday 2/16 ZOOM: War of 1812 Hickey series
Thursday 2/18 HUB / EMAIL: Mexican War Pohl article
Tuesday 2/23 ZOOM:  Civil War Yawp, chap. 14 + Carlisle @ War
Thursday 2/25 HUB / EMAIL:  Father Abraham Lincoln’s Writings (selections)
Tuesday 3/2 ZOOM: Union Generals Reardon chapter
Thursday 3/4 HUB / EMAIL: Gettysburg (1863) Video tour + Forte map
Friday 3/5 Battle Paper due By 5pm
 
Tuesday 3/9 ZOOM: Women at War McCurry article + Morgan website
Thursday 3/11 HUB / EMAIL: Black Soldiers Prince Rivers exhibit + Forte website
 
Tuesday 3/16 SPRING RECESS
Thursday 3/18 SPRING RECESS
Part 2:  Modern Military Culture
Tuesday 3/23 ZOOM:  New World Orders Chap. 1 -2 (Conway-Lanz // Aune) + Villotti
Thursday 3/25 HUB / EMAIL:  Anti-War Protests Chap. 3-4 (Witham // Wilson)
Tuesday 3/30 ZOOM:  All-Volunteer Army Chap. 5 (Mittelstadt) // Kohn 1994 article
Thursday 4/1 HUB / EMAIL: Combat Chap. 6 (Hamner)
 
Tuesday 4/6 ZOOM:  Veterans Chap. 7 (Scott) // Pinsker essay
Thursday 4/8 HUB / EMAIL: Refugees Chap. 8 (Upman)
Friday 4/9 Battle Papers due By 5pm
Tuesday 4/13 ZOOM: Military and Race Chap. 9 (Knauer)
Thursday 4/15 HUB / EMAIL:  Women in Service Chap. 10 (Dixon Vuic)
Tuesday 4/20 ZOOM:  New Military History Chap. 11-12 (Kinder // Tucker)
Thursday 4/22 HUB / EMAIL:  Media and War Chap. 13-14 (Carruthers // Miller) + McNellis site
Tuesday 4/27 ZOOM: Hollywood and War Chap. 15 (Laderman)
Thursday 4/29 HUB / EMAIL:  War and Memory Chap. 16 (Piehler)
 
Tuesday 5/4 ZOOM:  Future of American Military Kohn 2011 article // Leal article
Thursday 5/6 HUB:  Lessons & Legacies
Thursday 5/13 Final Battle Projects due By 5pm