Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Syllabus fun

Via Ralph Luker: a warning on plagiarism from Dan Todman that begins thusly:

In 1641, William Ward, a Catholic priest, was executed in London:

He hanged till he was dead for he was ript whilst he did hang & being cut downe his members being cut off & cast into the fire, the Executioner ript him up and tooke his heart & threwe it into the fire which lept out againe & no man toucht it till the Executioner a goodwhile after threwe it in againe, his head and quarters were brought backe to Newgate & boyled & are to be set upon 4 gates of the Citty. (1)

Anybody who could inflict this sort of suffering and despoliation on another human being was plainly motivated by enormous passion, anger and fear. Yet most historians would consider this too light a punishment for those found guilty of plagiarism.

It almost seems Old Testament enough to fit in my southern politics syllabus, the latest iteration of which is online here (how’s that for a segué?).

I’m still working on my Introduction to Politics syllabus, but finishing that—and all the rest of the ambitions I had for a productive day—went down the tubes when I got stuck trying to diagnose why my office computer keeps hanging up completely. What I’ve figured out so far:

  • It happens in both Windows and Linux, unpredictably.
  • The computer spits out a bunch of weird USB errors on startup in Linux.
  • I originally thought it had something to do with my USB KVM switch (how I switch my keyboard, mouse, and monitor between the Dell junker provided by Tulane and my computer that actually has the power to do anything beyond web browsing), but I didn’t hit the switch the last time it crashed.
  • I don’t think it’s the hard drives. Diagnostics on them have turned up nothing.
  • It only seems to crash in Windows or in X; I have yet to see it crash at a Linux console prompt (which would probably be the only way to diagnose the crash from error messages, alas).

I think it’s probably something hosed in the on-board USB controller, which probably means I’ll be investing in a new motherboard. Lucky me.


Any views expressed in these comments are solely those of their authors; they do not reflect the views of the authors of Signifying Nothing, unless attributed to one of us.

In addition to the university statement on academic misconduct, our department developed an additional statement on plagiarism which I link on my syllabus: http://faculty.winthrop.edu/huffmons/PLAGIARISM%20AND%20ACADEMIC%20MISCONDUCT.htm

[Permalink] 2. Alfie Sumrall wrote @ Wed, 22 Aug 2007, 6:29 am CDT:

Where do I sign up? This seminar would be a nice follow-up to Marvin’s southern politics class. I would like to do my book review on the Boss Crump book. Nah, this sounds like an awesome class. It’ll be especially interesting knowing at least half your students probably won’t be from the South.


Yeah, the Crump book looks like fun; I just found that one a week ago while I was adding the Herenton book which I read in my undergrad days. I probably could add a few more if I went through the UP of Mississippi catalog.

I’d imagine there’s a lot of overlap with Marvin’s class, particularly in the first half, although the presentation may differ quite a bit—I never had Marvin’s class myself, so all I have to go on is second-hand accounts from students who took his undergrad and graduate courses. The syllabus the first time around was a bit of a mish-mash of Marvin’s syllabus from the last time he taught it at Mizzou and Scott’s syllabus from 2004ish at Winthrop, along with a few pet ideas of my own.

In this iteration, I got rid of some of the South & North Carolina material and replaced it with some Louisiana stuff, canned a book I liked but one that wasn’t very on-topic, and added some new stuff (most notably the Lassiter book, one of the competing entries for “book that challenges the conventional wisdom about the ‘southern strategy’ even though most southern politics scholars thought the ‘southern strategy’ was overstated as an explanation of southern realignment in the first place”).

Scott can take credit for the book review idea, although he’s doing it a different way than me (he’s having individual presentations on the books) probably due to a smaller class size. I have two sections that could max out at 35 each (current enrollment is 22 and 20, and increasing), so I figured group presentations on states would be easier—and I’m probably changing that to have groups present on 2–3 states, just to make the time more manageable.

[Permalink] 4. Alfie Sumrall wrote @ Wed, 22 Aug 2007, 9:38 pm CDT:

I didn’t notice the Herenton book; which begs the question: someone wrote a book about him? Apparently my book, due to come out October 5 entitled “Dr. Willie W. Herenton: Why Even Some Libertarians Think Term Limits Are Good” won’t be the first about him.

I had Marvin’s grad Congress course and, compared to the other professors who I had for both grad and undergrad, was the most similar to the model of the undergrad course though POL 318 (my God how do I remember that) wasn’t a seminar. That southern politics class was a great mix of history and political science. It’s the type of class where some history has to be mixed in. To ignore it and to focus on the “why’s” is doing a disservice to the students, in my opinion.

Hell on earth: 35 book review presentations. Good call on the groups.


Actually, two guys wrote a book about him: here you go. It’s not so much about Herenton himself, more about the 1991 mayor’s race and the history of race relations and municipal politics in Memphis, with some good stuff on Crump in there. I think the Memphis/Shelby County public library has about half the copies ever printed (multiple copies per branch).

[Permalink] 6. Alfie Sumrall wrote @ Fri, 24 Aug 2007, 10:28 am CDT:

Ahh, the Rhodes polisci guy that MUST have the all-time record for quotes in the CA. I’ve seen that book cited numerous times when he’s quoted, but never the subtitle, so I didn’t put 2 and 2 together. I’ll check it out one of these days.

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