Preciso and Sandoz

Fall, 1997-1998



As indicated on syllabus. These will be handed in to your seminar faculty weekly through Week 5; the journal entries for Weeks 6, 7, and 8 will be due in your portfolio (handed in Wednesday of Week 10).

(Note that an integrative paper based on your journal will be due as part of your portfolio. See "Reading Journal: End-of-Quarter Integrative Paper" below.)


To deepen your engagement with what you read. The good journal entry will record the encounter of your mind (and what's in it) with the reading (and what's in it).

To help you prepare for seminar.

To encourage you to practice critical writing.

Length, etc.:

300-500 words, typed if possible. This is 1-1.5 pages, double spaced, with 1" margins, 12 pt. type.


Comment on your readings and provide support for what you say from the text. "I hated this" is not enough, although perfectly OK to include. Go farther: Why did you hate (or like) the reading? What interested you about it? Was it well-written? Give examples of "well-written" in this context. Did it remind you of something else you read for this program? How or why?

Sometimes you may be reminded of something outside of the reading, and choose to connect what you found in the reading with related themes or events of the time. Sometimes you may want to stay inside the text, commenting on how the author used a particular idea or symbol ("women," say, or a particular religious symbol, or a writing style). Either is fine. Just remember that you must focus on the interaction of your mind with the reading. Avoid staying completely inside your own head (talking only about your reactions, without using any material from the text). In the same fashion, avoid simply talking only about the reading (an example of this would be simply summarizing what the author said).

A journal entry should not contain class notes, raw notes you made while reading the book, or simple summaries of critical articles you've read. The point is to think about what you read.

Hints for success:

Type your paper.

Make it long enough (300-500 words). Short papers will be recorded as 1/2 the assignment.

Avoid lengthy quotations. Journal entries are not a test of how well you can copy.

Always include at least two elements in your entry: your mind, and the text you are examining.



December 10, 1997


To help you review and articulate your learnings this quarter, for our class review and for use in your self-eval.

Length, etc.:

Three to four pages typed, double spaced, with 1" margins. This is 900 to 1,200 words.


Organize and rewrite material from past journal entries into a coherent and connected statement of your learnings from the ideas and readings we've encountered this quarter.

Hints for success:

Rather than simply doing a cut-and-paste operation, take the time to think about what you've learned. Have your ideas about the decade under scrutiny changed? How? What specific ideas and sources we talked about were new to you? Gave you new insight into these years or others? What research skills and theoretical approaches seemed valuable to you? How did they affect your understanding course content and of "doing" history and/or literature? How has your engagement with and/or understanding of our guiding questions (on syllabus) changed from Week 1?

Some of the ideas in this handout came from the following:

"The American Experience, 1865-1970." Course syllabus from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa (AMS 586).Online. Internet. 13 Aug. 1997. Available: <>

Pimple, Keith. "Tricksters of North America." Course syllabus from the University of Indiana, Bloomington. Online. Internet. Aug. 1997. Available: <>.

Journalho.fqup E VII 9-9-97