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Friday (12/7) Symposium Instructions

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

The final assignment of History 299 provides an opportunity to check out History and American Studies Senior Thesis presentations. Instead of class on Friday, please attend at least one session of the Symposium this friday and then file a report.

Here’s how:

a) Check out the symposium schedule and find a session in which you’re interested. You may attend one at 9 am, the regular time of our class (which is cancelled), or any other hour’s panel that suits you.

b) Stay for the full 50-minute session, enjoying the talks and Q+A, then do the following:

c) Send an email to Dr. Fernsebner (sfernseb [at] umw [dot] edu) by noon on Monday (12/10) in which you write a review of the presentations. Key points to hit:

– what was the session you went to?

– provide a short summary of each of the presentations (focus, content, key points of analysis made…) What did you find interesting about the talks?

– and, finally, consider the presentation style / approach of each presenter: what were the strengths and weaknesses of their public presentations? Consider this a way to brainstorm what you will do (or avoid doing) at your next public presentation…



—> Please include your review within the body of the email (not as an attachment).

—> The review must be received by noon on Monday (12/10) to be credited.

New Course for Spring: Chinese History through Film

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

A new course has recently been added to the Spring 2013 schedule:

HIST 300AA: Chinese History through Film / Wed 6-8:45 pm / Prof. Susan Fernsebner

This course explores the intersection of Chinese history and cinema, with a focus on mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Exploring major films from the 1950s through the present day, key themes will include: revolutionary aesthetics and realities, presentations of gender, nation, and violence, as well as issues related to late twentieth century globalization. HIST 300AA will provide credit for both the History major and the Asian Studies Minor.

For a preview of the films we’re going to explore, see

If you have any questions about the course, feel free to contact Dr. Fernsebner (

Final Presentation Schedule Now Posted

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Hello all in H299 at 9 am. As promised, I’ve put together our schedule for final presentations. I’ve done it both thematically (grouping presenters working on related time periods, themes, or categories – e.g. early US History, global history, etc.) and also randomly (once grouped, the orders of groups were chosen by lottery.)

Quick notes and links:

– see our site’s presentation schedule page (HERE) for the final-presentations schedule. DON’T FORGET TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT WITH THE SPEAKING CENTER IF YOU HAVEN’T GONE YET. Do so soon — they book up very quickly at the end of the semester…

– see our assignment’s page for details on the 10-minute presentation assignment (HERE)

– we’ll be doing a workshop on Monday, 11/19, on the topic of visual for presentations. Note: the syllabus currently says we’ll be watching a video on the topic — given our recent lost day to the snowstorm, I’m moving our 11/14 workshop to 11/19. Here’s what to prepare for that date:

11/19 Discussion: Oral Presentations – Techniques and Visual Aids 

– Reading: TUR, 122-127
– Bring visual or handout for your 10-minute presentation to class
– Blog about your past experiences in doing presentations before an audience 




Storm Distractions

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Has everyone charged up their electronics for the storm? Getting last bits of work (and other distractions) in before the worst of the storm hits?

A few reminders, if you’re looking to catch up with History 299:

– don’t forget that we have a blog post due this week. You should be sharing a detailed discussion of the progress you have made this week on your research project. Posts are due by 9 am on Friday.

– also remember that comments are due on blog posts by Monday of each following week. Don’t forget to share your constructive feedback, questions, and brainstorms with you classmates. It’s going to be a big help as we move closer to the research paper rough draft.

– I was reviewing past blog comments this morning and was reminded that many people were concerned about taking notes on a computer leading to distractions, especially via social media and net-surfing. I thought I’d post a link to “6 Ways to Avoid Letting Your Computer Distract You,” a helpful post by Brian Croxall at ProfHacker.

– Another even simpler ways to avoid work-time distractions of social media is to use social media to help you work. Many folks will occasionally use Twitter itself to announce to their Twitter community–and to themselves, as it were–a pledge to work without interruption for a set length of time (often 30 minutes). And then they report back afterwards. Occasionally friends with shared deadlines will encourage each other in their work by making the announcements at the same time and the checking back in via the same social network when time’s up.

Stay safe amid the storm! We’ll catch up (I think…) with individual appointments on Wednesday.

cc licensed flickr photo by John C Abell:

Upcoming Schedule and Individual Appointments

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

What’s coming up for us next in the 9:00am Hist299 class:

– workshops on using primary sources (next week / week 9)

– individual meetings (week 10):

• be ready to discuss your progress in reading primary sources
• be ready to discuss your argument
• be ready to share a rough thesis that you are developing

– In three weeks (week 11): 11/7, wed: thesis workshop, 11/9, fri: research paper outline due

– In four weeks (week 12) 11/14, wed: intro paragraph due, 11/16, fri: research paper due

[note: 11/12 class is cancelled]

Lit Review Reminders for Wednesday (10/3)

Monday, October 1st, 2012

(Image: Scary face inspired by a writing a lit review?)

Our 9:00 am Hist 299 class has its first draft of the literature review due this Wednesday (10/3).  Quick reminders:

don’t forget to print 2 copies of your literature review PLUS a printed copy of the lit review peer review form (available at our Assignments Page or this link.)

bring along a mug to class on Wednesday if you’d like some Chinese tea!

Addicted to coffee while you’re writing? Need a writing break and a good distraction? Check out this excellent post entitled “Grad Student’s Guide to Good Coffee” by Jason Heppler at GradHacker.

And finally, have a look at the Twitter convo on lit reviews for tips from those who’ve already been down this road ahead of you…


Creative Commons Image Credit: “scary” by danmachold at Flickr

Need Help with Lit Reviews?

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

Check out the recent #hist299 Twitter convo, including advice from experienced 299/485 alums Joe Calpin (@BakhtinJali), Maggie Greene, and Caitlin Murphy.
Read from top to bottom…

The Science of Procrastination

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Tips on how to manage time and the workload…

Introducing the Internet Archive

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

From its own description: “The Internet Archive, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, we provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public.”

For a good overview of what the Internet Archive offers as well as their latest feature – “TV News Search & Borrow” – see “Internet Archive Launches TV News” by Anastasia Salter at ProfHacker.

Reminders for Monday’s 9:00 am Class

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

Monday’s class will be our first for a written assignment. Please remember to bring TWO copies, printed, of your primary sources analysis.

Also, don’t forget that our class will meet directly in the library this Wednesday for a session with Jack Bales. See our syllabus for full details on how to prepare. Please don’t be late!