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

Attendance & Participation

Attendance is expected and participation will be evaluated.  Good participation can involve both answering and asking questions. Those who miss class for any reason during the semester must also 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 especially those who show up late, should consider sending in an additional reflection afterwards.  All reflections will receive written comments. Good written reflections can help alleviate attendance-related problems and will count toward improving overall participation grades.  All students will receive a formal midterm snapshot report showing their current participation grade as well as a final written evaluation commenting on their overall effort.


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 www.dickinson.edu/ADS, email access@dickinson.edu, 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 www.dickinson.edu/AccessPlan 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.

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.  Also note that these standards apply fully to AI-generated text.  For more details on the dangers of using AI to “assist” in undergraduate historical writing assignments, see this post on Artificial Intelligence or Fake Intelligence?

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.