Hist 150c6, Section 1, Spring 2021

Introduction to Political History
Hist. 150c6, Section 1
Offered by the Department of History, University of Arizona

Spring 2021
Monday and Wednesday. 9:30-10:45am
Location: Class will meet remotely, via Zoom.
Classes will take place at the designated time noted above.
They also will be recorded for later viewing.

Instructor:
David N. Gibbs, Professor of History
Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday, 8-9:30am
 

URL for Syllabus: https://dgibbs.faculty.arizona.edu/content/hist-150c6-section-1-spring-2021

** Class Announcements **
Students should check the above site regularly.

 

This class will focus on persuasion and propaganda, and their role in political history. The course will have four components: First, it will examine the role of propaganda in totalitarian regimes, notably in the Soviet Union. Second, we will examine more "modern" forms of propaganda, as it appears in political advertising, speeches, and newspapers in the United States and other western democracies. Third, we will study the use of logical political arguments, and how these differ from propagandistic arguments. Fourth, this course aims to improve basic skills, especially the incorporation of logical thought and analysis into reading text and writing papers.

The overall purpose of this course is to provide training on how to recognize political propaganda, and how to distinguish propaganda from reasoned, logical political arguments.

 

NOTE:
This class contains offensive material. If this is a problem for you, then you should select a different class.

 

Students with Disabilities

I am happy to arrange the exams in any reasonable way that is consistent with the student's needs, in cooperation with the UA Disability Resource Center. It is the student's responsibility to find out what the Center requires, to fill out the forms, and to undertake the necessary "foot work" for special arrangements. The student is responsible to make sure that all deadlines are met.

 

Exams

There will be three midterm exams and an optional final. If you opt not to take the final, then each of the three midterms will be worth one third of your final grade. The grades are apportioned as follows:

       Midterm 1 (in-class) 25 percent;
       Midterm 2 (in-class) 25 percent;
       Midterm 3 (in-class) 25 percent;
       Final (optional, take-home paper) 25 percent.

Students must take the exams on the scheduled dates. Please look at the syllabus and make sure that the exam dates are open for you. If you have an engagement scheduled for one of the required dates -- if you have a wedding or a sports event, for example -- then you should take another class. The following circumstances constitute legitimate reasons to miss an exam: illness, death in family, religious holiday, or mandatory military service. Students who present such reasons must be prepared to present documentation, such as a note from a doctor, clergy, or commanding officer.

On the take-home exam: The clarity and conciseness of the writing style will count toward your grade. I will provide in-class instructions on how to write papers, and can consult with students individually as well. You also can seek writing assistance at the UA Writing Center

When turning in exams and papers, do not copy material without citing it, as this constitutes plagiarism. If I believe a student has plagiarized, it will result in an automatic "E" for the assignment. For further information on the issue of plagiarism, see the UA History Department's Policy on Academic Dishonesty.

 

Attendance

Note that I do not take attendance, and students are free to miss classes if they wish (they may not miss exams). However, I can guarantee that missing classes repeatedly will significantly lower your grade. Students who miss classes for any reason should ask other students for relevant notes, relating to materials covered on the missed days.  

 

Readings

The following readings are required and may be purchased at the University Book Store:

Frank Boardman, Nancy Cavender, and Howard Kahane, Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of Reason in Everyday Life, Thirteenth edition. New York: Cengage, 2017.

George Orwell, 1984. New York: Signet, 1950.

Several articles listed below are available through electronic databases, as indicated below. Other materials are available through D2L.

I may make small changes in the reading list -- with advance notice -- during the course of the semester.

 

January 13
Introduction to class

No readings.

 

January 18: No class, MLK Day

 

January 20
Logical Reasoning: What is an Argument?

Boardman, Cavender, and Kahane, Logic, chaps. 1, 2.

 

Week of January 25
Logical Fallacies I

Boardman, Cavender, and Kahane, Logic, chap. 3.

 

Week of February 1
Logical Fallacies II

Boardman, Cavender, and Kahane, Logic, chap. 4.

 

February 8
Logical Fallacies III

Boardman, Cavender, and Kahane, Logic, chap. 5.

 

February 10: First Midterm

 

Week of February 15
Analyzing Arguments

Boardman, Cavender, and Kahane, Logic, chaps. 6, 8.

 

Week of February 22
Review of Fallacies

No readings.

 

Week of March 1
Writing Essays

Boardman, Cavender, and Kahane, Logic, chap. 9.

Recommended:

Boardman, Cavender, and Kahane, Logic, Appendix ("More on Cogent Reasoning").

 

March 8
What is Propaganda?

"How to Detect Propaganda," Propaganda Analysis, November 1937. Available through D2L.

"Some ABCs of Propaganda Analysis," Propaganda Analysis, December 1937. Available through D2L.

Recommended:

Boardman, Cavender, and Kahane, Logic, chap. 7.

 

March 10: Reading Day, no class. 

 

March 15
Propaganda in U.S. Politics

Boardman, Cavender, and Kahane, Logic, chaps. 10, 11.

"How to Analyze Newspapers," Propaganda Analysis, January 1938. Available through D2L.

 

March 17: Second midterm

 

Week of March 22
Propaganda and War

David N. Gibbs, "Spying, Secrecy, and the University: The CIA is Back on Campus," Counterpunch, April 7, 2003. For full text, click here

 

Week of March 29
The Russian Revolution and the Soviet Union 

George Orwell, "Politics and the English Language," in George Orwell: A Collection of Essays (Garden City, NY: Doubleday-Anchor, 1954). For full text, click here.

George Orwell, "The Freedom of the Press," The Times Literary Supplement, 15 September 1972 [originally written 1945]. For full text, click here

 

Week of April 5
The Era of Joseph Stalin

Orwell, 1984. Read the whole book.

Bertrand Russell, "Free Thought and Official Propaganda," 1922 [excerpt from book]. For full text, click here.

 

Week of April 12
The End of Communism and the Breakup of the Soviet Union

David Stuckler, Lawrence King, and Martin McKee, "Mass Privatization and the Post-Communist Mortality Crisis: a Cross National Analysis," The Lancet 373, no. 9661, 2009. Full text available through Science Direct.

 

Weeks of April 19 and April 26
The US-Russia Conflict after the Cold War

Thomas L. Friedman, "Foreign Affairs: Now a Word from X," New York Times, May 2, 1998. Available through D2L.

 

April 21: Reading Day, no class.

 

May 3: Third midterm

 

May 5
Last Day of Class.

Optional (take-home) final exam discussed; due May 12, 5pm. 

 

_____________________________

REQUIRED BOILERPLATE 

Course Objectives:

Understand more clearly issues of social status, and the effects of major institutions on individual experiences, especially with respect to political history.

Demonstrate knowledge of the formal and informal structures and processes that make social systems, governments, and economies work.

Have an informed opinion about socio-cultural problems and issues, which can be expressed orally or in writing, and based on knowledge about social, political, economic, and philosophical theory.

Demonstrate a well-developed critical faculty for distinguishing among the various theoretical and ideological interpretations of world events as they are presented in the media. 

Expected outcomes from the course:

Understand more clearly issues of social status, and the effects of major institutions on individual experiences, especially with respect to political history..

Demonstrate knowledge of the formal and informal structures and processes that make social systems, governments, and economies work.

Have an informed opinion about socio-cultural problems and issues, which can be expressed orally or in writing, and based on knowledge about social, political, economic, and philosophical theory.

Demonstrate a well-developed critical faculty for distinguishing among the various theoretical and ideological interpretations of world events as they are presented in the media.

Analyze primary source material related to political history in light of the historical context, audience, and author's intent.

Write clear, well organized prose about political history.

Recognize and evaluate competing interpretations of political history.

The UA’s policy concerning Class Attendance, Participation, and Administrative Drops is available at: http://catalog.arizona.edu/policy/class-attendance-participation-and-ad….

The UA policy regarding absences for any sincerely held religious belief, observance or practice will be accommodated where reasonable, http://policy.arizona.edu/human-resources/religious-accommodation-policy.

Absences pre-approved by the UA Dean of Students (or Dean Designee) will be honored. See: https://deanofstudents.arizona.edu/absences.

University policy regarding grades and grading systems is available at http://catalog.arizona.edu/policy/grades-and-grading-system.

Classroom behavior policy: Students are expected to behave themselves at all times. 

Information contained in the course syllabus, other than the grade and absence policy, may be subject to change with advance notice, as deemed appropriate by the instructor.

The University is committed to creating and maintaining an environment free of discrimination; see http://policy.arizona.edu/human-resources/nondiscrimination-and-anti-ha…

Students are encouraged to share intellectual views and discuss freely the principles and applications of course materials. However, graded work/exercises must be the product of independent effort unless otherwise instructed. Students are expected to adhere to the UA Code of Academic Integrity as described in the UA General Catalog. See: http://deanofstudents.arizona.edu/academic-integrity/students/academic-….

The UA Threatening Behavior by Students Policy prohibits threats of physical harm to any member of the University community, including to oneself. See http://policy.arizona.edu/education-and-student-affairs/threatening-beh…