FSEM 100RR—First-Year Seminar
When Americans Came Marching Home: The Veteran in US History
Fall 2007 TR 11-12:15
This course will examine the experiences of soldiers and their families after the Revolution, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and Vietnam. The class will deal with the homecoming of soldiers, the emotional and physical impact of war, the attempt to reenter civilian life, and the role veterans played in politics and society. While the course will be centered on the soldiers and their families, it will also emphasize postwar societies and cultures.
Students are expected to attend all classes, read all assigned texts, participate in all class discussions, write two papers, keep a weekly blog, conduct an interview with an American veteran, and constructively comment on the ideas and writings put forth by and in the seminar.
Final grades will be determined based on class participation (35%), performance on the first paper (10%), the weekly blog postings and comments (15%), a rewrite of two blog postings (10%), and the interview assignment and a paper based on the interview (30%). Both papers require mandatory revisions.
Class participation includes actively participating in our daily discussions. Each of you will also be expected to co-lead group discussion with another person (or persons) during two weeks. I will be happy to meet with these leaders ahead of time to talk about how to facilitate discussion for their particular week.
Reading List — From Bookstore
Fussell, Paul. Doing Battle: The Making of a Skeptic, 1996.
Gambone, Michael D. The Greatest Generation Comes Home: The Veteran in American Society, 2003.
Keene, Jennifer. Doughboys, the Great War, and the Remaking of America, 2003.
Kovic, Ron. Born on the Fourth of July, 1976.
Logue, Larry. To Appomattox and Beyond: The Civil War Soldier in War and Peace, 1996.
Watkins, Sam. Co. Aytch: A Confederate Memoir of the Civil War, 1881.
Online Readings (Blackboard or Course Blog)
Martin, Joseph Plumb. A narrative of some of the adventures, dangers and sufferings of a revolutionary soldier; interspersed with anecdotes of incidents that occurred within his own observation, 1830.
Piehler, Kurt. Remembering War the American Way, 1995.
Resch, John Phillips Suffering Soldiers: Revolutionary War Veterans, Moral Sentiment and Political Culture in the Early Republic, 2000.
Severo, Richard and Lewis Millford. The Wages of War: When America’s Soldiers Came Home, 1989.
Blog Postings and Comments
Your grade includes regular and consistent contributions to online blogs. The course blog is located at http://marchinghome.umwblogs.org/ and each of you will need to create your own blog at http://umwblogs.org/. [If you already have a blog that you’d like to use, talk to me about how also to use that preexisting blog for this course.] These online spaces will be employed largely as a place to react to and discuss our readings, but it will also be used in a variety of ways–an assignment location, a place to discuss your project and the projects of others. Ultimately the goal is to allow you to create a shared space where you can display your work and begin to reflect on your learning, an electronic portfolio of your time in this class, and hopefully in connections to other courses as well.
You are expected to attend each class having read the assigned material and having posted on your blog a brief reaction to the readings (1-2 paragraphs). These blog postings may also include links to, and comments on, materials on veteran and veteran families in the news. I will read your blogs and briefly comment weekly on your postings (including providing feedback on your writing). You are expected to comment on at least two of your classmates’ blogs each week. At the end of the semester, you’ll have the chance to revise your two favorite postings from the semester to submit to me for separate graded evaluation. Ten percent of the overall course grade will be based on the quality of the ideas and writings those two postings. Register for a blog and make your first posting (a brief introduction of yourself and your interest in this course) by class time on Thursday, August 30, emailing me with your blog name. Comment on at least two other people’s blogs by Monday, September 3.
Each of you will need to interview an American veteran, following the guidelines established by the Veterans History Project at the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress (http://www.loc.gov/vets/vets-home.html). You will then use that interview as the basis for your second paper. You must turn in your interview notes with the second paper. [For extra credit, you can also submit your interview to the Veterans History Project, something I encourage each of you to do.]
Papers – All with 1-inch margins, 12-point font and double spacing
1) Comparison of Revolutionary and Civil War veterans (3-4 pages). Graded after a peer review, a meeting with the instructor, and a rewrite.
2) Paper based on interview with an American veteran (8-10 pages, plus foot/endnotes & works-cited bibliography). Graded after peer review, meeting with the instructor, and rewrite.
All submitted papers should be polished, finished versions. Failure to meet this expectation will result in a reduction in the grade for the paper. Papers will be graded on content (including originality and the quality and use of evidence), grammar, and proper formatting (including notes and bibliography).
Since this class is in many ways an introduction to college as well as a study of American veterans, from time to time we’ll go over topics and skills related to a successful college experience. See the calendar below for more details.
Week 1 — Introduction — Week of August 27
— The Veteran in American History
Reading — Thursday: On readings tab of course blog: The Wages of War, Prologue
Week 2 — Revolutionary War, Part 1 — Week of September 3
— Context: Who were Revolutionary Veterans?
Reading — Tuesday: Four selections from Joseph Plumb Martin’s diary (under Readings tab).
Thursday: The Wages of War, Ch. 1-2
(TU&TH) FSEM TOPICS #1 & 1.5 — Reading Secondary Sources in Social Science Classes — Read link on class blog under FSEM Topics
Week 3 — Revolutionary War, Part 2 — Week of September 10
— Topics: Veterans’ “Organizations”–Officers: Newburgh Conspiracy and the Society of the Cincinnati; Enlisted Men: Impoverished Veterans and Shays’ Rebellion
Reading — Tuesday: Under Readings tab: The Wages of War, Ch. 3-5
(TU) FSEM TOPIC #2 — Leading Discussions
Thursday: Under Readings tab: John Resch, Suffering Soldiers, 1-10, 65-92, 197-201, 210-231
(TH) FSEM TOPIC #3 — Reading Charts — (Review Resch, 210-231)
Week 4 — The Civil War, Part 1 — Week of September 17
— Context: Yankee and Confederate Soldiers; Civil War Soldiers and PTSD
Reading — Tuesday: Sam Watkins, Co. Aytch, Ch. 1-12
Thursday: Sam Watkins, Co. Aytch, Ch. 13-17, Larry Logue, To Appomattox and Beyond, 3-82
(TH) FSEM TOPIC #4 — Plagiarism & Citing Sources — Read link on class blog under FSEM Topics
Paper #1: DUE THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 AT THE START OF CLASS
Compare the postwar experiences and perspectives of veterans of the Revolution and the Civil War. Be sure to use specific examples from class discussions, readings and Martin and Watkins’s memoirs. [Rewrite due October 11.]
Week 5 — The Civil War, Part 2 — Week of September 24
— Topics: Pensions and Politics, Veterans’ Groups and National Reconciliation
Reading — Tuesday: Logue, To Appomattox and Beyond, 82-148.
Thursday: Under Readings tab: Wages of War, Ch. 9, 11, 12
Week 6 — World War I, Part 1 — Week of October 1
— Context: Fighting in the Trenches in the “Great War”
Reading — Tuesday: Jennifer Keene, Doughboys, the Great War, and the Remaking of America, Preface, 1-34; Diary of Alvin York, http://acacia.pair.com/Acacia.Vignettes/The.Diary.of.Alvin.York.html
— NO CLASS THURSDAY, October 4
Week 7 — World War I, Part 2 — Week of October 8
— Topics: War Psychiatry and the “Discovery” of Shell Shock; The American Legion; The Great Depression, the Veterans Bureau, and the Bonus March
Reading — Tuesday: Jennifer Keene, Doughboys, the Great War, and the Remaking of America, 132-205.
(TU) FSEM TOPIC #5 — Digital Tools for Research — Zotero and tools.umwblogs.org
Thursday: Under Readings tab: Wages of War, Ch. 15-18
(TH) FSEM TOPIC #6 — Research, Note-taking, and Organizing Papers
Week 8 — World War II, Part 1 — Week of October 15
— Fall Break — No class Tuesday, October 16
— Context: Fighting the Dictators?: WWII Soldiers’ Ideology and Motivation
Reading — Thursday: Paul Fussell, Doing Battle, To the Reader, 1-8, 41-48, 65-169 [Including images]; Michael Gambone, Greatest Generation Comes Home, 10-37
Week 9 — World War II, Part 2 — Week of October 22
— Topics: Unfounded Fears: Returning Soldiers and the Post-1945 Economy; Veterans and McCarthyism
Reading — Tuesday: Paul Fussell, Doing Battle, 171-217, 284-299
Thursday: Michael Gambone, Greatest Generation Comes Home, 38-89
YOUR INTERVIEW WITH AN AMERICAN VETERAN SHOULD BE COMPLETED BY WEEK 10
Week 10 — World War II, Part 3 — Week of October 29
— Topics: Minority and Female Veterans Come Home; Veterans in Film
Reading — Tuesday: Gambone, Greatest Generation Comes Home, Ch. 4-6, 8; Under Readings tab, Wages of War, Ch. 20.
(TU) FSEM TOPIC #7 — History Goes to the Movies
Thursday: Movie instead of regular class meeting Thursday, November 1 — Chandler 102 — 6-9 pm
REWRITES OF YOUR TWO FAVORITE BLOG POSTS DUE BY EMAIL, TUESDAY, NOV. 6
Week 11 — Vietnam, Part 1 — Week of November 5
— Context: American Combat Soldiers: A Working-Class War?; My Lai, Veterans and Anti-War Sentiment
Reading — Tuesday: Ron Kovic, Born on the Fourth of July, 1-93
Thursday: Ron Kovic, Born on the Fourth of July, 96-224
Week 12 — Vietnam, Part 2 — Week of November 12
— Topics: Economic and Social Reintegration; Addictions, Agent Orange, and PTSD
Reading — Tuesday: Under Readings tab: Wages of War, Ch. 23-27
Thursday: Under Readings tab: Kurt Piehler, Rembering War the American Way, 154-182.
PAPER #2: DUE TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 20 BY EMAIL BY THE START OF CLASS
The final paper will be based on the interview, but asks you to integrate your interviewee’s experiences into the larger context of US veterans’ experiences. How did your veteran’s life compare and contrast with the experiences of others we discussed? Would he/she say that his/her experiences were typical? In what ways? [Rewrite due Tuesday, December 4]
Week 13 — Week of November 19
— Context: Veterans of Other Wars – French & Indian, Spanish-American, Korean War
— Thanksgiving — No Class
Reading — Tuesday: Michael Gambone, Greatest Generation Comes Home, Ch. 7; Under Readings tab: Wages of War, Ch. 6-8, 13-14, 21-22
Week 14 — Week of November 26
— Context: America’s Female Veterans
Reading — Tuesday & Thursday: Selections from the Veterans History Project (http://www.loc.gov/vets/stories/ex-war-womenatwar.html)
Week 15 — Week of December 3
— Discussion: Thinking About the American Veteran Over 200 Years
Reading — Tuesday: No reading — Discuss interviews
Thursday: Michael Gambone, Greatest Generation Comes Home, 3-10 (review pp. 10-14); Under Readings tab: Wages of War, Epilogue
Exam Period — Noon-2:30, Thursday, Dec. 13 — Looking back & forward — A discussion of the history of American veterans, the liberal arts & digital tools