Thursday, August 27, 2009

Getting Ready for September

Students enrolled in the MA Seminar will be required to purchase only one textbook: Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams, The Craft of Research (University of Chicago Press). It's a very lively and versatile introduction to research problems and methodologies. It's also available in paperback and very affordable.

I have ordered sufficient copies for everyone enrolled in the seminar via Outside the Lines, an independent local bookstore. The owner assures me that the book will be available for purchase by 21 September at the absolute latest (hopefully earlier). You can check in with them directly via their web site.

Aside from the Craft of Research, all of the required readings will be available online, either as online articles or blog entries. I have already posted links to some of the required readings -- such as Strunk and White, The Elements of Style, and Orwell, "Politics and the English Language" -- which are available online for free.

For a stimulating introduction to the history of academic culture, you should read this short piece: "The Nutty Professors."

If you have not done so already, please confirm your meeting time with Valerie Peck for the week of September 7th. I hope to meet with each of you by Friday, the 11th, when we will have our annual meet & greet reception at 3:30-5:30.

Our first seminar discussion will take place 1:00-3:00 on Monday, September 14th, in room LSC 208. For this introductory meeting, please read "The Nutty Professors," as well as three short pieces that I linked to earlier:
1) Jill Lepore, "Just the Facts, Ma'am: Fake memoirs, factual fictions, and the history of history."
2) Jill Lepore, "Our Own Devices: Does technology drive history?"
3) Louis Menand, "The Historical Romance." [excerpt]

I will post the full Fall schedule next week, along with some discussion material for our first seminar. Please check the blog regularly. If you have not done so already, please open a google account, which will enable you to post comments. It only takes a few minutes and the instructions can be found here.

Beginning September 14th, my regular office hours will be Mondays, 11:00-1:00. Meetings outside of my regular office hours can be scheduled by appointment.

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