History 121

United States since Reconstruction • Fall 2017

George Benjamin Luks, Street Scene (Hester Street), 1905

Assignments and Grading

Your success in this course depends upon strong, thoughtful work in each of the following:

  • Quizzes = 20%
  • Midterm = 20%
  • Take-Home Midterm = 30%
  • Final Exam = 30%
  • Class Participation = Priceless

Below you'll find details for each of these requirements. Be sure to dates for scheduled quizzes and exams. Please note: make-up exams are rarely granted and only with official, written documentation. No make-ups for quizzes.


There will be 4 quizzes, each based on lecture and textbook material. All quizzes will be offered on iLearn on a scheduled date and students will have 24 hours to complete each. Two lowest scores will be dropped.

Take-Home Midterm

Students will take one take-home midterm focused on class readings. Students will have two weeks to complete it and submit it from the date the exam questions are distributed.

Midterm and Final Exam

Both exams will include short identifications and essay questions. Both will cover course readings, lecture material, and films. The final exam will be cumulative. The Midterm Exam will be held in class on Wednesday, October 4. The Final Exam will be held on Monday, December 18, from 10:45a to 1:15p in our classroom.

Class Participation

Regular attendance and active participation are not only critical to ensuring that we have a rich and lively learning environment, but they are also key to success in this course. Come to class prepared to share your perspectives, ask questions, and engage with your fellow classmates.

Classroom Policies


We will always begin promptly, so please arrive on time. Also, DO NOT pack up and begin to leave before lecture is over. Besides being a distraction to your classmates and to me, you will miss the important points that I save for the end.

Electronic Devices

Turn off all cell phones before class. If you choose to use a laptop or a tablet for note taking, be sure to turn off WiFi and aim to sit at the back of the class. Please be mindful that texting, web surfing, etc. pose a distraction to all those around you, to say nothing of how it limits your ability to catch key points in lecture and, thus, to succeed in the course.

Discussion Etiquette

When participating in class discussion, do be courteous and respectful. At times we will venture into topics that may spark debate. Diverse perspectives are always encouraged, but when disagreeing, please always strive to be generous and open-minded rather than dismissive.

About Disturbing Material

American history, when studied with precision and depth, is messy. In order to examine difficult questions about this country’s past, historians must engage with all kinds of material, including material that’s controversial and even upsetting. This class will expose you to the concepts, viewpoints, expressions, and images of previous eras. Some of it will be challenging. Your decision to enroll in this course is considered a voluntary agreement to participate in classes where you may encounter material you find uncomfortable. However, if a class provokes feelings of trauma or panic, you may step out of the room without penalty. Just remember that you will still be responsible for any class content you miss.

Missed Exams and Quizzes

I will not make arrangements for make-up exams except for those who have a valid emergency. Routine illnesses, commute troubles, travel plans, work-related conflicts, printer failure, etc. are not considered emergencies. Remember, exams are scheduled well in advance, so be sure to check the class schedule and plan accordingly. No make-ups for missed quizzes.

Henry Sugimoto, Our Mess Hall, 1942