Course Policies

Learning Objectives

In this class, students will learn to:

1. Develop historical perspectives
2. Express themselves clearly
3. Locate relevant information
4. Identify key historical issues and debates
5. Support plausible historical arguments.

This course also meets the U.S. Diversity Requirement. The United States has always been and remains a place of diversity, contest and inequality. The U.S. diversity course explores the ways in which diversity has enriched and complicated our lives. The course examines the intersections of two or more of the following categories of identity in the United States: race, ethnicity, gender, class, religion, sexual orientation, and/or disability. By considering people’s lived experiences as members of dominant and subordinated groups, this course equips students to engage a complex, diverse United States.

In this course students will:

1. Gain a solid grasp of the course content
2. Become more knowledgeable about a complex and diverse United States
3. Enhance critical thinking about issues of position, power and privilege
4. Recognize the multiple identities that shape our interactions with one another
5. Develop skills to engage in respectful and civil dialogue with others who have different perspectives

Attendance & Participation

Attendance is expected and participation will be evaluated.  Good participation can involve both answering and asking questions. There will be one outside event on 9/15 that students must attend (or view) and write a brief reflection about afterward. Those who miss class for any reason during the semester must email a short reflection on the missed reading assignment within a week of the absence. Reflections should be about a paragraph or two in length and should focus on explaining what you consider to be the most significant insights or lessons from the reading assignment.    No excuse notes from doctors, parents or roommates are ever required, but anyone who misses class should explain the reason for their absence when they send in their reflection.  Students who attend a class but don’t participate, or don’t participate well, or who show up late, should also consider sending in an additional reflection afterwards.  Good written reflections can help alleviate attendance-related problems and count toward improving the overall participation grade. All students will receive a formal midterm snapshot report showing their current participation grade as well as a final written evaluation.


No personal electronic devices such as phones, tablets or laptops can be used in this class except in rare cases with special permission in advance from Prof. Pinsker.

Accommodations for Disabilities

Dickinson values diverse types of learners and is committed to ensuring that each
student is afforded equitable access to participate in all learning experiences. If you
have (or think you may have) a learning difference or a disability – including a mental
health, medical, or physical impairment – that would hinder your access to learning or
demonstrating knowledge in this class, please contact Access and Disability Services
(ADS). They will confidentially explain the accommodation request process and the type
of documentation that Dean and Director Marni Jones will need to determine your
eligibility for reasonable accommodations. To learn more about available supports, go
to, email, call (717)245-1734, or go to
the ADS office in Room 005 of Old West, Lower Level (aka “the OWLL”).
If you’ve already been granted accommodations at Dickinson, please follow the
guidance at for disclosing the accommodations for
which you are eligible and scheduling a meeting with me as soon as possible so that we
can discuss your accommodations and finalize your Access Plan. If you will be using any
test-taking accommodations in this class, be sure to enter all test dates into your Access
Plan in advance of our meeting.

Writing Center Visit

All students should consider visiting the Norman M. Eberly Multilingual Writing Center to support their writing assignments for this course.  Writers of all levels and abilities need feedback in order to develop their ideas and grow as writers.  Dickinson’s trained writing tutors can help you generate ideas, begin drafting, revise a rough draft, figure out your professor’s preferred documentation style, understand and respond to professor feedback, edit your writing – among other things.   For more information about hours and procedures, visit the Writing Center online.


See the Handout on Plagiarism at the Methods Center as well as the blog post on Plagiarism 2.0

From Dickinson College Community Standards (adopted 2006):

To plagiarize is to use without proper citation or acknowledgment the words, ideas, or work of another.  Plagiarism is a form of cheating that refers to several types of unacknowledged borrowing.

  • The most serious degree of plagiarism involves the wholesale and deceptive borrowing of written material from sources such as published authors, web sites, other students, or paper-for-hire services.  Students who submit papers or significant sections of papers that they did not write themselves are committing this type of violation.


  • Another serious degree of plagiarism involves less wholesale but still repeated and inappropriate borrowing from outside sources.  In some of these cases, students borrow several phrases or sentences from others, and do so without both quotation marks and proper attributions.  In other cases, students secretly collaborate on assignments in defiance of specific prohibitions outlined by their instructor.


  • Finally, there is a degree of plagiarism that involves the borrowing of specific words or phrases without quotation marks. In such cases, citations may be present, but they are inadequate. This problem most commonly occurs when students paraphrase sources by attempting to change a few words in a sentence or brief series of sentences.  It can also occur when students rely too heavily on parents or friends for ideas or phrases which they mistakenly claim as their own.