Course Expectations and Requirements


All absences must be requested and approved by the instructors in advance. Approval will be given only in extraordinary circumstances: illness, family emergency, etc. Failure to obtain prior permission will result in a zero for class participation for that day. Students with excessive absences (missing 4 or more classes) will receive a zero for class participation.

Academic Honesty:

It is a rare research paper that is not built upon the work of others, whether it’s their data, their writings, their ideas, and even their advice. It is standard academic practice to recognize all such contributions to your work via quotations of literal text (where that is the best representation of the points you wish to make), bibliographic references, and other acknowledgements. In this class you will also be working with other students to collect and process data, and you should be careful to delineate any such contributions by the others.

Please be advised that we consider any act of academic dishonesty to be a grave offense. The college’s policy regarding plagiarism and cheating is outlined in your student handbook and on this web site: We are obliged to report all suspected instances of dishonesty to the Dean’s Office.

Special Needs:

If you are a student with a documented disability please see the instructors immediately so that all possible accommodations can be made; no accommodations will be made retroactively.

Course Assessment Will Be Based on:


Because this is a seminar, both regular attendance and prepared and thoughtful participation are expected at each class. Students who are uncomfortable speaking in class should talk with the instructors to coordinate alternate arrangements. In-class participation will account for 50% of students’ class participation grade.

To facilitate engaging exchanges, every Monday evening by 6 pm students will compose detailed response papers to the weekly reading and post them on the discussion board.

These response pages should be thoughtfully conceived and constructed and should address the following issues:

  1. What is the central argument of the reading?
  2. How does the author support those claims?
  3. How does this author’s point of view intersect with other readings we have encountered throughout the course?
  4. Please propose and elaborate on one issue raised by the reading you believe should be included in our class discussion.

Students are allowed to miss one (1) weekly posting at their discretion without penalty. Alternatively, they are free to complete all response pages and drop their lowest grade.

These electronic “conversations” are considered part of the weekly reading and will account for the other 50% of students’ class participation grade.

Because discussion (in-class and electronic) is vital to the success of this course, participation and response papers will count for a significant portion of students’ overall grade, 30%.

All assignments, with the exception of Monday evening responses, are due at the beginning of class. No extensions will be given for conflicts with other courses, heavy workload, computer problems, etc. Late papers will be penalized 1/3 of a letter grade a day. Papers submitted more than one week late without the instructors’ prior approval will receive a failing grade. Students must submit all assignments to receive credit for the course.

Research Assignments:

In most of the classes you were learn some aspect of making maps, statistical analysis, archival research, etc. On most days you will be given a short assignment based on these activities, which will be due at the beginning of the next class. These will count for 20% of the final grade.

Final Project:

Later in the course you will choose a research question/hypothesis regarding some aspect of inequality in the City of Cambridge and its schools. You will make use of both the historical content and research methods you have learned throughout the semester to investigate your hypothesis. To assist in your research, there will be a field trip to Cambridge to visit relevant archives. Your proposal and bibliography will count for 20% of your final grade.

Your write-up of your research and a short presentation thereon will count for 30% of the final grade.