Instructor: David B. Gracy II

Course Meeting Times

Thursdays, 9:00 - 12:00 AM, room 5.522

Course Objectives

1. To trace the development of archival enterprise, records management, and preservation, primarily in the United States, including the production and keeping of records, the media of record keeping, and the elaboration of a philosophy and methodology for managing and extending the life of records information.

2. To consider the role in society of records, archives, and their preservation and the effect of social attitudes on archival enterprise.

3. To strengthen skills of (1) formulating and researching questions in history.

This is a history course. One intent of the course is to develop the student's ability to think as a historian: (1) by considering events in terms of their own time and place, and (2) by developing the ability to formulate an interpretation/understanding/meaning of and from the topic of the research in terms of its time and place. To do this:

Read to learn the facts of the events, but also to get behind the events so as to understand as fully as possible what moved and/or thwarted the events. A goal of history is to amplify one's understanding of the course of events within their context. With this knowledge, one is then positioned to enrich one's understanding of the course of events of one's own time. Questions the historian asks include: What motivated individuals? What forces, trends, movements—large and small—influenced the events? How much control did the principal figures have in affecting events and how effectively did they apply their control? What is the relationship between (1) means and ends and (2) causes, effects, and consequences of actions?

Evaluate the sorts of sources upon which a study is built. Is the study based on primary or secondary sources as historians use the terms? Are the sources appropriate for the nature of the study?

Weigh the breadth or narrowness of the study. Was the author effective in placing the principal historical story within the broader context of the times and places in which the events occurred? Has the author considered other interpretations in formulating his/her own?

Consider the story relating the flow of events. History is recounting events, and as such is a narrative—a story (told for the purpose of making points enriching the insight of readers into the events the writer has studied). Narrative writing is an important capability of an historian. Consequently, two assignments in particular are formulated to facilitate the student developing skills at narrative writing. For this, study the Directions for Preparing Better Papers on the course website.

This is an archives course. As such, it has two goals. One is to increase the student's knowledge of the development of archival enterprise, records management, and preservation over the most recent four centuries since archival enterprise began to reemerge in Europe. The other is to give the student the opportunity to conduct research in archival sources so as to experience the work of archivists from the perspective of the user of archives. For those pursuing a career in archival enterprise, experience in using archival material in research projects strengthens the ability of an archivist to provide assistance to users of archives.

Professor: David B. Gracy

Phone:(512) 471-8291
Office:UTA 5.534
Office Hours:Tu 1:00-2:30; By appointment

Teaching Assistant: Mark Firmin

Phone: (254)-744-7929