The First Week of the Fall Semester…

The fall semester has begun at the University of Alaska Anchorage…for me, the beginning of school used to be something I eagerly anticipated – particularly when I was a child. We were homeschooled, as we lived way out in the Bush. Our books arrived from Juneau in a large square box, including teacher’s manuals…and supplies came in a flat rectangular box. Everything we needed were in those two boxes. It was magic opening them and discovering what we had to look forward to for the whole school year. Sigh. I remember those days very well.

Fast forward to this week. I’m what I like to call a “super senior,” which is a nice way of saying that I have been in school – off and on – since 1978. I have an Associate of Arts degree in ceramics (yippee) and have been working toward my BA since around…oh…1980ish?

This semester I’m taking four – yes, that’s right – FOUR history classes, of which three are upper division. I must be insane. As I said in beginning of this post, I used to eagerly anticipate the beginning of the school year. This week I just feel a sense of overwhelming dread…mixed in with both a fierce determination to achieve a straight A average and a sense that I may have bitten off more than I can chew. I promised my dear friend Kristi Rieger Campbell of Finding Ninee that I would include a (short) list of the writing projects which lie before me. I told my husband and both of our children that after this first week, I won’t be home very much. You can see why. Pray for me if you are so led…

HIST 121 – East Asian Civilization I

  • Film Assignment: The Emperor and the Assassin. 3 pages. Analyze film.
  • First Written Assignment: Jonathon Spence – The Death of Woman Wang – contrast with paragraph from Robert Van Gulik – The Chinese Bell Murders. No less than 1250 and no more than 1500 words.
  • Second Written Assignment: Ivan Morris. The World of the Shining Prince. Probably about 1250-1500 words.

HIST 377 – Historiography: The Uses and Abuses of History

  • Analytical Essay – Georg Iggers – Historigraphy in the Twentieth Century Paper. 4-5 pages. There are 3 parts to the essay.
  1. Identify, discuss and analyze the traditional model of historical scholarship known as historicism.
  2. Identify, discuss and analyze the various modifications and outright challenges made to the Rankean model by the new types of historical methods and approaches since the 1920s.
  3. Identify, discuss and analyze what trends have emerged in historical studies from the 1990s to present (pp. 134-160), both in terms of Iggers’ thoughts and conclusions, and in terms of your own evaluation on the current state of history.
  4. Paper based on The Lipstadt-Irving Case: History, Holocaust Denial and Law. 4-5 pages. What is and what is not good history. Based on BlackboarB readings and Holocaust Denial on Trial website readings.
  5. Film and History Paper – 3-4 pages. Based on films or parts of films on several different themes: History and the Holocaust; History and World War II (Resistance and Collaboration); History, race, nation and origins; History, power and politics; and History and war. Analyze one or two of these themes.
  6. Historiographical Paper – 7-8 pages. Choose a topic on which to write a historiographic essay. This is not a research paper. Write a historiographical review of the chosen your topic. Examine and discuss the main historiographical themes, problems and interpretations of the topic.
  7. Final Paper on Natalie Zemon Davis – The Return of Martin Guerre. What and How History Should Be Done. 4-5 pages.   Is Natalie Zemon Davis’ The Return of Martin Guerre good history? Analyze Zemon Davis as a historian. What type of history is she practicing (political, cultural, micro-history, or . . .)? Examine the types of sources she uses, how she analyzes these sources, the questions she asks, the themes she develops, the conclusions she draws and her writing style (pay attention to her use of the conditional tense, among other things).

 Group Projects for HIST 377:

  • Georg Iggers – Historiography in the Twentieth Century. Each group is responsible for presenting a discussion of one of the types of history examined in Historiography in the Twentieth Century. Includes a short writing project, see above.
  • Robert Williams, The Historian’s Toolbox.
  • Primary Source Assignment. Groups will explore the various types of primary sources (written—both official and ordinary – oral, visual, material and electronic, with each group member picking one of the types of sources.
  • Historiographical Review Presentation – Individual oral presentations on individual historiographical projects, no more than 10 minutes each.

HIST 486 – Nazism and Fascism in European History

  • Italian Fascism – A Weak Dictatorship or Totalitarian? 7 pages.
  • German Nazism—Becoming a Nazi? 7 pages.
  • What, Who, Why and Impact of Fascism. 8-9 pages.
  • Film Critique –  3 pages.


This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post, hosted by Kristi Rieger Campbell of Finding Ninee ( This week’s prompt is “It’s back to school time, and I feel…”


6 thoughts on “The First Week of the Fall Semester…

  1. OMG. I will most definitely pray for you. What a gigantic assignment list – YIKES. You’ll rock it though. I just know it. That must have been cool to be homeschooled as a kid out in the bush. xo and so glad you joined!


    1. Thank you, Kristi! I’m trying to view it as practice for my Senior Seminar, when I will have to essentially write a BOOK….gulp. Homeschooling was awesome…I’ll have to write about that.


    1. Thank you, Roshni! I actually decided to drop HIST 310 (Renaissance and Reformation Europe). This was a good decision for me, although my professor was disappointed that I chose to drop the class. Appreciate your comments, as always!


  2. Oh. My. Goodness. That’s a lot of history! I hated history when I was a student, but I think I would enjoy it much more now. Good luck this semester!


    1. Thanks, Dana! I really enjoy history…but this is the first semester in which I’m taking three history classes…lotsa work. I have the same [professor for two of the three classes, and he likes my work, which helps!


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