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History Dept | Brooklyn College Library

HIST 3320: The History of Childhood

Course Requirements

  • All classes will be held synchronously on zoom.
  • It is mandatory for every student to see me at least twice during my office hours in the semester.
  • Missing a meeting will result in a penalty in the participation grade.

Assignments and Grading

  • Attendance & Participation (includes meeting and introductory essay) - 15%     
  • Discussion Board (#9 &#11 mandatory; total of 7; permitted to miss 2) - 15%
  • Historical Survey Essay - 10%
  • Primary Source Analysis - 10%
  • Presentation (to be uploaded on BB) - 20%     
  • Research Topic Ideas and Analysis (1-2 pages) - 5%
  • Final Paper Outline (2-3 pages) - 5%
  • Final Paper (6-7 pages) - 20%

General Rules

  • All written assignments MUST be uploaded to BlackBoard Blackboard.
  • No email attachments will be accepted.
  • If you cannot participate in our zoom, your participation grade will be based on the 3-4 page papers you write in lieu of class time
  • All papers should be double spaced and 12-point font with 1” margin.  
  • I will NOT grant Incomplete.  
  • I am available during office hours to discuss and work with students on their papers. 
  • I will not review drafts but I do give students opportunities to revise and resubmit their written work for a potential improvement in case of grades below a C.
  • Grades are Non-Negotiable.  
  • Extra Credit: Extra credit will be given if a student attends Passion talks in the History Department; invited speakers by History professors; events organized by the WGST.
  • To receive extra credit, the student must
    • attend the talk and
    • write a 2-3-page paper summarizing the talk and connecting its content to the content of our class. This grade will be averaged with the lowest grade you have in one of the several essays. You can attend a maximum two of these events for extra credit but you can attend as many for your fun and enrichment.  

Assignments in Detail

Introductory Essay:

  • Please include your full name; nickname; pronouns; e-mail; cell phone number (in case I need to be in touch in an emergency); course and semester on the top of your paper.
  • For the second week of class you would write a brief (2 pages, double-spaced, 1inch margin, 12 size font) essay introducing yourself as a Brooklyn College student.
  • Please indicate your background; why you applied to Brooklyn College; what year you are in; your declared or intended major; what topics/fields interest you; what you expect to do with the degree from BC.  
  • Then use a separate paragraph to tell me why you are taking this class; what you are hoping to learn; is there any area in the field that you are interested in.
  • Please let me know if you have any learning challenges and your learning goals for the semester (when do you learn best? What is most difficult for you to learn in a course?) What kinds of activities help you learn? What motivates or challenges you to participate in class discussion?
  • Do you have a particular situation, such as access to internet, technology, turning videos on, your work schedule that I need to know, especially in these challenging times? Do you work full time? How many classes are you taking? Are you an Honors student interested in an Honors credit for this class? Do you need special accommodation? Are you on probation? Any questions about the syllabus and the class?

For a helpful guide to writing, read the first part of the essay below: 

Writing assignments must cite sources following any of the recognized modes of citation (The Chicago Manual of Style, MLA, APA). 

Students requiring assistance with writing are urged to utilize the Brooklyn College Writing Center in Boylan Hall

Of the 11-listed Discussion Board entries, you are required to upload at least 9, including DB#9 and DB#11 which are mandatory.

  • Two missed entries will be excused.
  • I will post lead questions with word limits on the Discussion Forum.
  • Discussion Board responses are not graded individually.
  • You will lose 1 point for every day it is late up to 3 points.
  • After three days, you lose 3 points and your submission will not be accepted.
  • The Discussion Board responses are informal, open-ended exercises for students to engage with the readings in a meaningful way.  
  • The entries must include the following: 
    1. Complete name/s of the author/s, the title of the piece, the date of publication, and the publisher (wherever possible).
    2. Main argument/s of the author/s presented in the readings. 
    3. The sources the authors are using.
    4. Your analysis, argument.
    5. How you connect with the readings.
    6. Connection with larger socio-cultural and political-economic issues.
    7. Did the readings affect or alter your understanding of the questions in contexts?

Discussion Board Etiquette

  1. Discussion Board is a safe space for online academic discussion. Please respect the diversity of our community and choose your words and sentences carefully. You are free to express your disagreement with another student’s idea but only to be backed up by an intellectual argument drawn from the readings from the class. Give due credits through quotes and citations wherever possible. 
  2. No offensive, sarcastic, or disrespectful comments, please. No ALL CAPS that seem like you are screaming at your classmate. Use appropriate words and punctuations to emphasize your point. Be kind and empathetic to your peers. 
  3. DB posts must engage in an informed discussion. Carefully read the assigned materials and your classmates’ posts before writing a response. Merely echoing “yes” or “no” to classmates’ posts, without proper explanation of your own comments will not count. 
  4. Spelling, grammar, and proper citation of sources count. While I am not expecting footnotes for DB entries, you have to cite at the top or at the end of the document the assigned readings/scholarly sources you drew upon. You lose points if you miss citations. 
  5. DB entries are low-stake assignments, but you are not permitted to use texting or casual email languages (For Example, do NOT write “u” for “You;” Do NOT use expressions like “NP;” or use emojis)
  6. Proofread your posts before posting. 
  7. If you consider a post by a classmate to be inappropriate or there are technical glitches, please bring it to my attention. Do not take matters in your own hand. 
  8. Most importantly, write your DB entries in a separate Word Document before posting on BB. Maintain a separate file for your DB entries so that you do not lose them in case there is an issue with BB. 

The Historical Survey Essay (600-700 WORDS, 10%) involves surveying the historical literature we studied in the class and using primary sources to engage with the argument. It will test student’s skills to read and analyze secondary and primary sources and engage in a conversation with the leading debates in the field. I will share separate instructions before the assignment is due. 

The Primary Source-Based Writing Assignment (600-700 WORDS, 10%) involves surveying the historical literature we studied in the class and using primary sources to engage with the argument. It will test student’s skills to read and analyze secondary and primary sources and engage in a conversation with the leading debates in the field. I will share separate instructions before the assignment is due. 

Note the Distinction Between Primary And Secondary Sources:

Identify at least one primary and two to four secondary sources for writing a paper on children and childhood in a specific geopolitical context and time.

Cite the sources with full bibliographic citation and explain their significance for your paper.

  • You can choose from primary and secondary sources listed on the syllabus. 
  • I will share instructions before the assignment is due. 

Your final paper should combine both primary sources and secondary literature. Always give credit to your sources using one of the chosen formats, MLA, APA formats, or the Chicago Manual of style (CMOS). 

Caution About Sources Specific To Each Assignment

  • Be CAUTIOUS with your selection of sources, both primary and secondary. 
  • Do NOT rely on internet sources ending in .com or partisan, religious, government websites, and Wikipedia. 
  • Plenty of archival sources are available on the web that you can access and use.
  • Look for scholarly sources from academic presses published after 1980 and databases, such as JSTOR off-campus login required.            or Academic Search Premier off-campus login required.            . (The OneSearch option for BC Library is very good).
  • You are more than welcome to consult the sources we used for the class and those listed on the syllabus.
  • In addition to the required readings, I will keep adding new source materials as they come my way along the semester. 

Final paper (6-7 pages, including title and selected bibliography, double-Spaced, 12 size font, 1 inch margins, 10%).

The essay must include primary and secondary sources (1-2 primary sources; 2-4 secondary sources) identified from the syllabus or independently. The nature of the final paper is similar to the primary source-based short paper but it will follow a more expanded version that allows you to demonstrate your reading, writing, and analytical skills. We will follow baby steps to attain the final version.   I will share prompts BUT you are encouraged to pursue an independent research topic that is approved by me first. I will share separate instructions before the assignment is due. 

The essay must have:

  1. A Title
  2. A Thesis Statement within the first two paragraphs
  3. Strong Introduction and Conclusion
  4. Topic sentences for each paragraph
  5. Sub-sections with Headings
  6. A coherent argument backed by suitable examples should be sustained throughout the paper
  7. Citations of sources following MLA, APA, or Chicago Manual of Style

You do NOT need separate pages for the title and the bibliography.      

The Final Essay Step-by-step:

  1. Brainstorming a paper topic and sharing with the class
  2. Exploring a research topic/question (from the syllabus or independently).
  3. Final Paper Outline with Bibliography.
  4. Final Paper.
  • All students are responsible for selecting and presenting on a topic of their choice:
    • Selection to be finalized no later than week 4 (Sept. 14)
  • The course involves a brief 15-20 minutes individual or group presentation on assigned readings. All presentations should be timed. In special circumstances, students with permission from the professor, can present on a related topic not covered in the syllabus.
  • The presentation will be graded using the following criteria:
    • Factual Content; Interpretation and Analysis; Entertainment Value; Overall Coherence; Engagement with the Class (as an intellectual audience).
  • It MUST summarize the main arguments covered in the readings and raise critical questions to be discussed collectively by the rest of the class.  
  • Students should start thinking about the presentation topic from the outset of the course.
  • Formal Presentations start from the fifth week of classes Thursday, Sept. 23.

Presentation Guidelines

  • Presentations will be individual, or groups based on the shared interests of the participants.
  • Topics will be chosen from the assigned weekly readings. 
  • A presentation topic outside of the syllabus, will have to be determined in consultation with the professor.
  • In a group presentation, each and every member will be responsible for all the readings for that week, but individual members will focus on specific aspects of the readings.  For example, one member can briefly summarize the readings; one can discuss the implications; one can ask questions that the readings engender; the relevance of the readings and how they pertain to the course.
  • Following the presentation, the whole class is required to participate actively in the discussion of the readings and the materials presented.

Students must address the following points in their presentations: 

  1. Introduce the Readings with their Authors, Titles, and complete Bibliographic Information, i.e. place of publication, publisher, date of publication.
  2. Explain briefly who the author is. Focus on her scholarly contribution and NOT her biographical details. If possible, add a picture. 
  3. The central argument(s) of the author/s – briefly summarized.
  4. The different kinds of sources used (primary and secondary), whenever appropriate.
  5. Main Content of the Readings: Be Brief (NOT DETAILED SUMMARY)
  6. The implication(s) of the reading(s).
  7. The merits and shortcomings of the readings, in your view.
  8. The readings’ relation to prior class discussions and assigned course material.
  9. The position of the author with regard to the wider historiography; the literature the author is engaging with (if appropriate).
  10. Develop 2-3 questions for the rest of the class to engage in a discussion.


  • Prepare a PowerPoint or a web-based presentation. Be in class a few minutes early with the Slides readily available. I will enable you to SHARE your screen as a cohost.
  • Start out by saying why you chose a particular topic, introduce the subject matter, its relevance for our course, what you learnt from it, other implications.  You may also talk about the difficulties you encountered or why you found the topic to be easy and amenable.
  • Face the audience (i.e. your classmates on the screen) and not just the instructor. Speak loudly and clearly so that everyone can hear you.   
  • Get to the points quick.  Have some discussion questions ready to share with the class.   

Clarification of course requirements

ATTENDANCE is mandatory.

  • Missing more than three class sessions will lead to reduction of your participation grade by .5 points.
  • Students missing 8 class meetings without sufficient explanation will NOT pass the course, notwithstanding the quality of the work submitted.


  • Lateness is not only disruptive, but also disrespectful.
  • Lateness will be counted as an absence, unless you can prove there were extenuating circumstances.
  • Chronic lateness will not be tolerated: you will be excluded from class activities.

 Every student is required to be present and actively participate in the class: 

  • One must complete the readings for the specific day on which they are assigned. 
  • One must be prepared and willing to take an active part in class discussion.
  • Participation in class discussions entails engagement with the readings and relevant themes.
  • Based on careful reading of the assigned materials one must share one’s responses and insights in class and in the Discussion Board on BlackBoard.
  • Merely showing up for the class and/or engaging in off-topic conversation will NOT suffice.  

This is a History Course. Gradings are based on a qualitative assessment of the criteria listed. It does NOT follow a numerical rubric.  

The grading scale is:

  • A+ = 97% and above:
  • A = 96-94%,
  • A- = 93-90% (consistently excellent work). 
  • B+ = 89-87%,
  • B = 86-84%,
  • B- = 83-80% (Good and above average).
  • C+ = 79-77%,
  • C = 76-74%,
  • C- = 73-70% (satisfactory).
  • D+ = 69-67%,
  • D = 67-64%,
  • D- = 63-60%;
  • F = below 60 (passable).

  • Grading policy for this class is Cumulative (as evident from the breakup of different varieties and categories of assignments) and Progressive (i.e. consider improvement over time).  
  • The Final grade will be the cumulative total of the different grades acquired in the entire period of the semester.

Rubric for Grading:

 A= Excellent work; demonstrates superior writing and analytical skills from start to finish. 

  • Written document presents a thesis statement or an argument or attempts to answer a question; 
  • demonstrates logical organization of thoughts, structured systematically and coherently; 
  • proposition or analysis are backed up by evidence throughout the length of the document;
  • ideally, incorporate materials from assigned readings, lectures, discussions and offer a persuasive argument backed by historical evidence thus illustrating interpretive skills; 
  • no spelling or grammatical errors; proper citation format.

B = Good work

  • Written document represents adequate knowledge and understanding of course material and themes but is weaker in analysis and factual content; 
  • interpretive skills are not as strong as those displayed in an A paper; 
  • organization and coherence may be loose;
  • evidence not adequately presented; 
  • fails to answer questions squarely and establish a solid thesis statement or argument.

C = Adequate work

  • Written work reveals basic understanding of course material and themes but course material and themes but is weaker in analysis and factual content; 
  • interpretive skills are not as strong as those displayed in an A paper; 
  • organization and coherence may be loose;
  • evidence not adequately presented; 
  • fails to answer questions squarely and establish a solid thesis statement or argument fails to present a strong thesis statement or a question; 
  • argument presented without adequate historical evidence; 
  • work shows lack of interpretation and evaluation of sources and evince no proof of drawing from insights gained through lectures, readings, and class discussions; 
  • knowledge of the historical background may be weak;
  • potential for strong ideas or argument may be hindered by weak or convoluted prose.

D = Poor work

  • Written work displays a smattering of ideas that are vague and not backed by adequate evidence from the course material; 
  • no concrete argument and engagement with sources; 
  • inadequate or no analysis; 
  • represents many errors in themes, spelling, grammar; poor writing skills.

F = Unacceptable work

  • Flawed work; 
  • inadequate and deficient of the general requirements;
  • demonstrates little or no effort;
  • lack of understanding of the course material;
  • inaccurate assignments; plagiarism; incomplete and negligent of instructions.