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


Class attendance is strictly required.  Students who miss class should email Prof. Pinsker and explain –whether or not they expect to get officially excused.  No absence will be excused without both a reasonable explanation (illness, family emergency, important outside obligation, etc.) and a few lines of thoughtful comments about the assigned reading for the missed class.  In other words, to be excused from class attendance, you must still demonstrate that you have actually done the reading.  There is never any need to obtain a written “excuse” from someone else (parent, nurse, coach, etc.).  However, not all requests to be excused will be honored.  It just depends on the rationale.  More than two unexcused absences will result in a reduction in participation grades.  Repeated unexcused absences can result in course failure.  The same holds true for repeated lateness.  One or two “late” entries to class will be excused, but students who show up late for class more than twice will find that showing up late counts as an unexcused absence.


Students should expect to participate both in and out of the classroom.  In class participation involves asking and answering questions in a thoughtful manner.  Students should expect to contribute in such ways in nearly every seminar session throughout the semester.  Out of class participation surely won’t be as regular, but it can occur across a wider spectrum of outlets and sometimes proves to be just as valuable.  The most effective form of outside class participation involves consulting with Prof. Pinsker during office hours about various assignments, but it can also occur in very effective ways through general email communication, social media, or even by attendance at a relevant campus lecture.  In other words, keep looking for ways to make connections between this course and the outside world.  Whenever you come across something interesting, try sharing those insights with Prof. Pinsker and your fellow students.


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 College makes reasonable academic accommodations for students with documented disabilities. Students requesting accommodations must make their request and provide appropriate documentation to Disability Services in Biddle House. Because classes change every semester, eligible students must obtain a new accommodation letter from Director Marni Jones every semester and review this letter with their professors so the accommodations can be implemented. The Director of Disability Services is available by appointment to answer questions and discuss any implementation issues you may have. Disability Services proctoring is managed by Susan Frommer at 717-254-8107 or Address general inquiries to Stephanie Anderberg at 717-245-1734 or e-mail


All student course work can be kept entirely private using the publishing protocols of WordPress.  Students who want to work on an assignment without having Prof. Pinsker peering over their shoulder just need to save their posts as DRAFT.  He won’t look at your draft posts. When you are ready to submit an assignment, however, or when you want to have Prof. Pinsker review your work prior to submitting, then just set the visibility on your post as PRIVATE.  Prof. Pinsker will then evaluate your work and consider making it public.  If he publishes your post, it will appear in search engines and get pushed to the History Department Facebook page.  If you don’t want a particular post to be considered for publication, simply opt-out by including this statement at the top:  NOT FOR PUBLICATION.

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.  You can walk in or call and make an appointment at (717) 245-1620 (or 245-1767 for foreign language writing).  For more information about hours and procedures, visit the web:


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.