In addition to keeping up with the reading and participating in each class, you will be expected to complete a number of assignments throughout the semester. Note: late work will not be accepted, except under highly mitigating circumstances. While you will get more information on each assignment as it comes up, here is a brief overview:

Weekly Blog Posts and Responses:

Beginning the week of September 11th, we will begin a round-robin rotation of blog posts and responses for the week’s reading. The class will be divided into three groups. Each week, students from one group will each post a 500-word blog entry to the class blog no later than 5pm on Sunday. Each student in a second group will be required to post a 200-word response in the comments section of one of their peer’s blog entries for that week by 5pm on Tuesday. Students in the third group have the week “off,” but are encouraged to review their peers’ posts and comments. The posts will not be graded individually. Each student’s grade for the assignment will be determined holistically, with an emphasis on regular completion of the assignment determining the overall grade.

Research Proposal

In preparation for their main research project, each student will draft a research proposal, which is meant to focus their research and help to organize their thinking about their topic. This proposal will include a research question, some preliminary thoughts toward how the student will tackle their question, and a list of five possible primary materials from the Rose Library that could contribute to their research.

Object Description and annotated bibliography

As part of their research process, students will compose an annotated bibliography of no less than five scholarly sources reviewed as part of their research, as well as a description of one primary source from the Rose Library. The assignment will also include a cover letter reflecting on how the student’s approach to their research question has changed after engaging with primary and secondary sources

Research Paper

In this long-form written assignment, students will build on their previous written work to develop a sustained, thesis-driven argument about chosen research topic. The paper will be 7–8 pages, and include a discussion of at least one archival object. The essay will first be submitted in draft form, and then as a final version. The final version will be accompanied by a cover letter reflecting on the revision process.

Digital Exhibition Case

The capstone project of this course is a digital exhibition on the Beat Generation curated by the class. Students will contribute one digital “case” to the show based on their semester-long research project. The cases will each feature an object from the Rose Library, bibliographic label copy, and a label text explaining the significance of the object.


Please turn in all written assignments in class as a hard copy the day they are due and in electronic form via email.

A Note on Participation: I realize that participating in class discussion can be more difficult for some students than others. As such, in addition to building in opportunities for more structured (and, hopefully, less stressful) participation in class, I will also evaluate participation based on online responses to the blog posts of your peers. If you are concerned about your participation grade at any time, please feel free to discuss it with me during my office hour or by appointment.

Grading Breakdown
Weekly Blog Posts 10%
Research Proposal 5%
Object Description and Annotated Bibliography 15%
Research Paper—Draft 10%
Research Paper—Final 30%
Digital Exhibition Case 15%
Participation 15%