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Fields of Concentration

History

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Below appears the final Concentration article. After revision where necessary, the articles will be collected in a pamphlet, together with a section on elementary courses open to Freshmen, and the booklet will be distributed to the entering class of 1941 in September. The CRIMSON invites comments on the articles that have appeared to date. Obviously all letters can't be printed because of the few remaining issues before Commencement. But all letters will receive careful attention and will be used in making the revision of the articles.

With 265 concentrators, History is one of the five largest fields in the University. The calibre of the men and the organization of the department make it outstanding in the country, as was said last year, but it is definitely no place for the casual student.

Tutorial instruction is very valuable and necessary in this department, especially for Juniors and Seniors out for honors. There are two divisions--Plan A and Plan B. All Sophomores receive regular tutorial instruction. At the beginning of Junior year, a selection is made. Plan A provides a general grasp of the field of history and the principles of historical criticism and generalization with attention to the special field of history which is selected for Senior year. Plan B gives the same general grasp of History, but emphasizes distribution and correlation more than specialization.

The student who chooses Plan A will ordinarily be a candidate for honors. He receives full tutorial instruction during his Junior and Seniors years. At the end of Junior year he takes a four-hour departmental exam on general history. During Senior year he writes a thesis, and at the end of the year takes a four-hour exam on a special field, a three-hour correlation exam (tying in Government or Economics), and an hour oral exam from which he may be excused.

Under Plan B a student will not ordinarily be a candidate for honors, although he may be. He receives modified tutorial instruction. The "Plan B" student takes no departmental exams in Junior year, but takes the four-hour general and a three-hour special in Senior year. He writes no thesis, although changes from one Plan to the other will be allowed within reason.

Tutorial Rigid

As to the tutorial conferences there was criticism of their being too rigidly planned, such as every week, because such an arrangement often interferes with hour exams and course papers. The tutors should make individual adjustments. Tutors, also, it was felt, should give more time to work on correlation than on specialization which is adequately covered in course work.

The so-called "Holy Trinity" of History, Government, and Economics requires that a History concentrator take Government 1 and Economics A, in addition to History 1. That is necessary, for the fields are so closely allied that each one requires an understanding of the other two. Any other arrangement throws too great a burden on the tutors.

Survey Needed

In respect to the proportion of elementary to advanced courses, the concentrators offered the following criticisms: In Ancient History there are many detailed courses, but no survey course. There was a demand for a survey course in intellectual history, since History 1 covers political, and History 40 only a short and detailed period.

Every concentrator regretted that it was impossible to get to know the older and more famous men in the field because they have no tutees. A great objection of all concentrators was the constantly recurring and inescapable requirement of papers and second term hour exams in other courses just before divisional examinations, especially in the case of Senior honors candidates. But the general feeling was that there is no field in the University which can return more interest and background for the amount of effort put in.

Comments on courses were: History 47b: highly recommended; no conflict with 32a. 65b new course, very interesting. 19 well worth work. 22a: good, lots of work and reading; not for Sophomores. 32a and b: lots of work, detailed; probably best history course in college. 34a: lot of reading, but not quizzed; rather easy; interesting. 2: good; too thin for divisionals; lot of reading, but not hard. 45b: all in text; exams dull.

50: lot of reading; hard, but excellent course, not for Sophomores. 60a and b: entertaining, but Morison not giving it next year. Lot of reading; three 2500-word themes a half year; not advised except for concentrators. 62: excellent; should have more social and cultural aspects. 63: dull, not advised. 64: factual, very entertaining. 65b: good. 76b: reasonable amount of reading; factual, interesting. 83b: good; covers lot of ground adequately.

Comments on some of the men were: Lake, McIlwain, Langer -- brilliant scholars and lecturers. Karpovich: now examiner, excellent tutor. Baxter. Forceful lecturer, sometimes gives opinions as facts; scholar, good tutor. Ferguson: scholar; dull but good lecturer with small groups; better on Greece than Rome. Haring: scholar; covers large field well. Morison: scholar, good lecturer. Brinton, Buck, McKay, Jordan: good lecturers; excellent tutors. Schlesinger: scholar; most of time to graduate students; dull lecturer. Merk: careful; good lecturer; scholar. Doolin: poor lecturer; excellent tutor. Evans, Fairbank, Gleason: good tutors

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