History 10a, 10b Will Likely Not Be in Core

A proposal to offer History 10a and 10b as part of the Core Curriculum has met with opposition from a key subcommittee, eliminating virtually any chance that the plan will be adopted.

"At this moment, it seems to me quite dead," a member of the Historical Study subcommittee on the Core said yesterday.

The subcommittee has sent the proposal back to the History department for changes, but subcommittee members offered little hope that even a revised version could pass.

They've submitted so many new proposals," said one subcommittee member, who requested anonymity.

History Department Head Tutor James Hankins and Krupp Foundation Professor of European Studies Charles S. Maier co-authored the proposal, which was submitted to the Historical Study subcommittee on the Core last semester.

History 10a and 10b are survey courses in Western history.

The proposal would incorporate the two one-semester classes into the Historical Studies Core offering providing students the opportunity to take a more comprehensive introduction to the discipline, professors said.

"From what I understand, the students want courses that are broader in scope," Hankins said.

"I feel sorry for these poor guys in chemistry or physics who are going to take two history courses in their lives and they are forced to take some microevent--the emergence of basket-weaving in Tibet in the ninth century or something like that," he added.

But questions of whether and how to integrate the survey classes into the Core curriculum have temporarily grounded the proposal.

"There are serious issues about whether or not this would be in the Core," said Maier, who is a member of the subcommittee and also one of the current teachers of History 10. "There are all sorts of questions raised: the A credit, the B credit, whether or not the course is to be construed as a survey.

Maier did not participate in the subcommittee meetings on his proposal.

When asked if the issue was now dead, Susan Lewis, director of the Core program, said: "That was my perception."

The professors' proposal was endorsed by theUndergraduate Council with near-unanimous consentin October.

Council members N. Van Taylor '96-95 andRandall A. Fine '96 co-sponsored the resolution.

But the faculty's failure to support themeasure has left Taylor angry, he said yesterday.

"It's dead in the water," he said. "I'm notsure who killed it."

The subcommittee's rejection means the proposalwill not be considered by the standing committeeon the Core, which canceled its February meeting.

"The meeting of the committee was canceledbecause of lack of business," Dean of the FacultyJeremy R. Knowles said in an interview Tuesday.

Lewis, who sets the agendae for the standingcommittee on the Core's meetings, said she had notincluded the history proposal because thesubcommittee had never approved the matter.

"It wasn't forwarded to be on the agenda fromthe Historical Study subcommittee," Lewis said.

Subcommittee members explained they had seriousreservations about the appropriateness of thecourses as Historical Studies offerings.

But the History Department could still havetime to get the proposal through the subcommittee.No subcommittee members have specified a deadline.

"They've just submitted a new proposal thisweek," said William E. Gienapp, a member of thesubcommittee. "We had talked about a previousproposal and asked for revisions."

"I'm going to try one more time," said Hankins."If they keep rejecting it, I'm not going to keepmy banging my head against it."

History Department Chair Thomas N. Bisson saidthe department continues to support includingHistory 10a and 10b as part of the Core.

"We're certainly still thinking in thatdirection," he said.

Sarah J. Schaffer contributed to thisreport.