HIST 300: Introduction to Historical Method

HIST 300-DL3: Introduction to Historical Method: Historical Rumors, Myths, & Memes
(Spring 2021)

10:30 AM to 11:45 AM TR


Section Information for Spring 2021

    In the era of viral memes, alternative facts, deep fakes, and fake news, it is hard to know what’s real let alone what’s true. A great deal of historical content circulates online, often in support of present-day political agendas.  But the people who deploy it are not obligated to provide accuracy, context, or citation. How much of this information is true? How does disconnecting historical data from its appropriate context change its meaning? What are the ethics of the historical profession, and how do they differ from the ethics at work in meme creation and dissemination? How does appreciating the historical antecedents of current events change our own understanding of the present?

    Historians are voracious consumers of information who sift, sort, categorize, and mobilize data points to make effective arguments about the past, arguments that often contextualize and influence understanding of the present. The skills students acquire as historians can be helpful in sorting fact from fiction online, and sorting fact from fiction online can make us better historians. To that end, this section of Introduction to Historical Methods will teach the basics of historical research and writing by examining historical rumors, myth, and memes that appear on the Internet. We will identify and unpack the mobilization of historical content online and in the news, strategize how to fact-check what we learn online, and learn to contextualize and interpret isolated historical data points with research into primary sources and professional scholarship. Skills developed in the course include basic research methods, analyzing sources, fact-checking, interpreting and contextualizing historical arguments and documents, framing questions, critical thinking, historical writing and citation, being an effective discussant, and preparing and delivering an oral presentation.

    This course will be taught synchronously online, meaning students who enroll are expected to attend online at the established class time.

HIST 300 DL3 is a distance education section that meets synchronously. Students should expect to meet on the days and times scheduled.

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Course Information from the University Catalog

Credits: 3

Introduces research skills and methods, as well as historical interpretation, culminating in written and oral presentations. Notes: Topics vary according to instructor. History majors strongly urged to take HIST 300 as soon as possible after reaching 30 credits. Grade of C or better is required to graduate with BA in history. Students may repeat HIST 300 only with permission from the Department of History and Art History and repetitions are limited. Limited to three attempts.
Mason Core: Synthesis
Specialized Designation: Mason Impact., Writing Intensive in Major
Recommended Prerequisite: History majors with 30 credits or permission of instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to students with a major in History.

Schedule Type: Lecture
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes.