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Your grade in this course is based on four assignments:

Reading Memos. (25%)

Students must write a research memo for the day’s reading. Instructions for how to write a research memo are here. The purpose of the research memo is to habituate you to thinking historiographically and synthetically about the content across the semester.

Reading and Note-taking Matter

Note-taking is a skill that you cannot take for granted. This semester, you'll be asked to think by writing often. Taking notes on what you read and synthesizing information into new knowledge is thinking through writing.

Mexican Sportsman Paper. (20%)

Students will write a paper on the culture of sport in the American Colony in Mexico using the Mexican Sportsman newspaper from the 1890s. Issues of the paper from September 1896 to June 1897 are available here .

The Mexican Sportsman

The Sportsman was published in both English and Spanish in Mexico City, Mexico, and includes coverage of bicycling, baseball, boxing, and other sports that do not begin with a 'b.'

Book Review. (20%)

Each student will write a critical book analysis on Playing America's Game: Baseball, Latinos, and the Color Line by Adrian Burgos, Jr.

A Good Review

How should you approach writing a book review? The first step is actively read the text. Highlight, review, make synthetic notes. Write a précis paragraph for each chapter. Write a research memo from your notes. Use the chapter structure to guide the structure of your review. Focus on one or two central themes.

Final Essay. (20%)

Students will write a final essay based on a prompt provided by the professor, and due during the final exam period. This essay will need citations, and will challenge the student to synthesize the course as a whole.

Use All Those Well-Made Notes

If you follow recommendations on making notes this semester, you will find this final essay much easier to write at a much higher level. The hard work of synthesizing information into new knowledge, and then communicating it months later, is much easier with notes.

Self-Evaluation and Engagement. (15%)

Students will write a self-evaluation at the end of the semester evaluating their own engagement with the class. What does engagement include? Engaging with the class and its materials can take many forms, including but not limited to:

  • Preparation: you've read the material before coming to class.
  • Focus: you've avoided distractions in class.
  • Presence: you've actively participated in small-group and full-class discussions.
  • Inquiry: you've asked questions in and out of class on things you don't understand, or that you're curious about.
  • Specificity: you've used specific ideas from the readings and discussions.
  • Connection: you've made connections between readings and discussions, and across weeks during the semester.1

Students must keep track of each class they miss during the course of the semester for this evaluation.

Keep Track of Your Attendance

For your self-evaluation, you will need to list each class meeting that you missed by date. Please keep track of them. Better yet, don't miss class. If you do have to miss class, give me a quick email heads up.

  1. Thanks to Mark Sample and Shawn Graham for helping reframe my sense of "participation."