US History Since 1865

Winter 2004, 5 credits
Office: Room 4132, Phone (206) 587-6958
Office Hours: MTW 12-12:50 p.m. and by appointment
9:00 section 4105/10:00 section 4144
W Lab 3167
E-mail: tralai {at} sccd.ctc(.)edu"">tralai {at} sccd.ctc(.)edu


History since 1865 begins with the promises of Reconstruction and continues through the struggles of the 20th century, largely defined by Cold War politics and militarism. We explore the meaning of freedom and American identity in the context of capitalist development and the U.S. as a global power. How did institutions such as the government or schools reflect these changes? What impact did unions or other grassroots organizations have on redefining values and priorities? What issues do we face in the 21st century? Particular emphasis will be placed on the experiences of working people, women and people of color.

This course is a historical exploration through reading, writing and dialogue to better understand the multicultural history of the U.S. To facilitate this process, we will:

• build a learning community in which each member is responsible for raising critical questions and discovering possible answers;
• explore the development of capitalism and the U.S. as a global power;
• investigate the struggles for democracy and justice from multiple perspectives;
• develop critical thinking and research skills to enable us to interpret history;
• analyze historical perspectives and assumptions.

In this course, students will:

• examine their own assumptions about the U.S. and uncover multiple historical perspectives to create a deeper historical understanding;
• be responsible to the class and course requirements by being punctual, prepared and actively involved;
• collaborate to integrate texts, lecture, discussion and research into a multicultural context;
• discover a personal role in perpetuating/challenging, making and writing history.

Course Methods & Format
This course relies upon collaboration among class members and inquiry as a process for developing historical understanding. Class weekly schedule will include 1-2 lecture/discussions on main questions and themes. Other days include seminar, computer lab, guest speakers and videos.

Learning Philosophy
I view learning as a collaborative learning experience. My approach to the study of history is thematic and emphasizes working people and social movements: their organizations, visions, and the struggle to realize democracy and equality. This course complements your other coursework by providing an opportunity to develop a perspective on our contemporary assumptions, and concerns.

Required Texts:
American Social History Project. Who Built America? Vol. Two Since 1877. New York, NY: Worth Publishers. 2000.
Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States 1492-Present. New York, NY: Perennial Classics. 1999.

Good attendance is highly correlated with high gradepoints. Students are NOT automatically dropped from courses. Drop-class forms are available in room 1104 and 4128. If turned in by January 16, no instructor’s signature is needed. February 27 is the last day to withdraw; instructor’s signature required and a “W” (withdrawal) appears on your transcript. Without the completed form, a “0.0” is assigned.

By week 2, try to complete the reading by the beginning of the week. Skim for main themes and take notes to organize and develop your ideas, as well as sharpen discussion. It is unnecessary to memorize all the dates and details. Focus on expressing your understanding in your own words. Please make at least one appointment during the quarter with the instructor to discuss your progress.

1. 1/5-9 Recommended: Zinn, Chapter 9 (Reconstruction)
Required: Who, Chapter 1; Zinn, Chapter 11
2. 1/12-16 Who, Chapters 2-3
Zinn, Chapter 12
Who, Chapters 4-5
proposal/placement due
3. 1/20-23 Zinn, Chapter 13
Who, Chapters 6-7
4. 1/26-30 Zinn, Chapter 14
Who, Chapters 8-9
Service Learning journals/reflection due
Mid-quarter Evaluation
5. 2/2-6 Zinn, Chapter 15
6. 2/9-13 Who, Chapter 10
Zinn, Chapter 16
Exam I
7. 2/17-20 Who, Chapter 11
Zinn, Chapter 17
8. 2/23-27 Who, Chapter 12
Zinn, Chapters 18-19
9. 3/1-5 Who, Chapter 13
Zinn, Chapters 20-21
Oral History Project due
10. 3/8-12 Who, Chapter 14
Zinn, Chapters 22-24 & Afterword Service Learning
journals/reflection due
Lab Portfolio due
11. 3/15-19 Exam II

No Finals March 22-24

Tentative list of documentaries: Act of War, Empire and the People, Industrial Workers of the World, One Woman/One Vote, The Great War, The Great Depression, A. Philip, Randolph, Conscience & the Constitution, Making Sense of the 60s, Hearts and Minds, Yuri Kochiyama: A Passion for Justice, This is What Democracy Looks Like

Grades & Assignments: Grades will be based on evaluation of 4 areas. The percentage of the final gradepoint is in parentheses:

Computer Lab Portfolio
Service Learning/Oral History Project
• Choice of writings demonstrating skills in historiography and writing including use of primary sources
• Chicago Style citations and revision.
• self-evaluations
• consistent engagement in course activities
• small group & whole class discussions
• Service Learning writings (separate handout) or Research paper incorporating oral history methods & interpretation. • Week 6 Exam I
• Week 11 Exam II
• Short essays that synthesize & analyze course information.

The following descriptions are examples to help you achieve the gradepoint that you are working towards:

Barely Passing
.7 [D-] to 1.4 [D+]
1.5 [C-] to 2.4 [C+1]
Above Average
2.5 [B-] to 3.4 [B+]
3.5 [A-] to 4.0 [A]
Misses class often.
Does not complete assignments.
Inattentive or does not participate in class..
Never takes notes.
Does not talk with or know the instructor.
Writes in simple, descriptive sentences.
Misses class.
Completes assignments with minimal effort.
Pays attention in class.
Takes some notes
Knows the instructor.
Writes descriptively, largely based on the text.
Misses class occasionally
Completes assignments fully.
Contributes to discussion.
Tries to collaborate with class memebers.
Takes notes consistently.
Talks with/emails instructor as needed.
Writes with organization and focus, reflects good grasp of course materials and original thought.
Rarely misses class.
Completes assignments with high standards and quality. Actively involved in class without dominating discussion. Collaborates well. Exemplary notebook that shows critical inquiry. Comunicates frequently with instructor.
Revises writing for mechanics, style, content. Writing demonstrates research, synthesis, connections and original thought.

Please note that if you need course adaptations or accommodation because of a disability, if you have emergency medical information to share with the instructor, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with instructor as soon as possible.

• Be here every day on time. This is not a correspondence course. Please inform the instructor of illness/emergencies.
• There is no extra credit.
• Late work accepted only by prior consultation with the instructor.

• Student Assistance Center offers free workshops on study and college survival skills. Room 1106, 587-3852.
• English Skills Shop (ENG 080-082) gives individualized assistance in writing for 3-5 credits. Room 4128 for more information.
• SCCC Library has excellent reference librarians. They are trained in the organization and access of information and can suggest many ways of locating the “perfect” source. Inter-library loan is a possibility, but allow lag time between your request and the item’s arrival. Room 2101.
• College-Wide Tutoring System is a free program that can assist in many subjects, including writing and oral presentations. Room 2103. Sign up first at the Student Assistance Center (Room 1106).
• Form Study Groups with classmates. Research and review together saves time and helps to clarify your understanding.
• Seattle Public Library, King County Libraries and University of Washington Suzzallo Library have excellent reference librarians. You do not need a UW student ID to use materials in the library. Seattle Public and King County Libraries issue free borrower cards.

Service Learning


• Time/Scheduling: 20 hours on site
• Writing time for proposal, journal entries and reflection essays


• Exercise your choice and initiative in choosing and setting up your service learning
• Developing reflective writing skills, especially to connect “practice” and academic content
• Collaboration with staff/volunteers/constituency on site
• Time management: meeting individual deadlines and gathering required signatures/paperwork

Writing Requirements:

Week 3 – as soon as you confirm your service learning placement, write a 2-3 page (double-
spaced, word processed) proposal including the following information:

• site location and contact information
• description of the organization/program and why you chose it
• tentative schedule (adds up to 20 hours by week 10 March 8-12) and
• questions/goals that you hope to explore during service learning (at least 5)
• connections that you hope to make with the themes/content of HIS 112

Halfway point (10 hours of service learning) Week 5 February 2-6: First set of journal entries and first reflection essay. The journal entries should approximate the hours accomplished and convey a fairly developed sense of what you have been doing. In the reflection essay you may refer to your questions/goals/connections (your proposal) and readings to consider how service learning relates to your growing understanding of US history.

Completion (remaining 10 hours of service learning) Week 10 March 8-12: Second set of journal entries and second reflection essay. You may want to reread your first set of writings to consider your own thinking. Have your goals changed?


Proposal 30 points
Journal Entries: 20 points each set
Reflection Essays: 15 points each set
100 points total

School: Seattle Central Community College
Professor: Tracy Lai
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