Last year, my university shifted its policy on assignments, meaning that faculty members suddenly got the option to change extant assignments, make new ones, and alter the weighting of any of them. This was a big transition, given that in previous years assignments were set by the department and students in each of our three class years could expect similar assignments in their courses. As a result, I’ve been playing around with assignments of zero or very little weight to try to prepare students—especially first year students—for the sometimes daunting task of the final essay assignment. Whereas before there was one low-weighted writing assignment before the final essay was due, I now have the low-weighted writing assignment (it’s half the length it was in previous years), an unassessed research proposal, and an annotated bibliography worth 10%. I want to talk about one of the problems with this last assignment. Continue reading
This is a very special week at The Junto. Following last month’s sad news of the passing of one of our field’s true giants, Edmund S. Morgan, we all agreed that a weeklong retrospective on his remarkable career was in order. Hence, this week, each day will be given over to a specific work or theme to which Morgan made important contributions during his four-decades long academic career. We hope that this roundtable, being written by graduate students and junior faculty, will provide a snapshot of Morgan’s continuing relevance to new generations of early Americanists almost three decades after his retirement from Yale University.
Edmund Sears Morgan was born on January 17, 1916 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His father, Edmund Morris Morgan, was a Professor of Law at the Minnesota Law School, Yale University, Harvard University, and Vanderbilt University. Ed the Younger attended Belmont Hill School from which he graduated in 1933. From there, he left to do his undergraduate work at Harvard. In his second year, he took a course taught by F.O. Mathiessen, his senior tutor, and Perry Miller, whom Morgan called “simply the most exciting lecturer” he had encountered. The experience turned a budding English major into an American history and literature major. Upon graduation, Morgan spent a year at the London School of Economics studying with Harold Laski. Continue reading