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Hon H206 Section 3
Whatever Happened to the Space Age?
fall 2011

Instructor: Prof. Pamela E. Mack, Department of History,
Office: Hardin, telephone: 656-5356, E-Mail:  pammack@clemson.edu
Office Hours:
MWF 10-11, Wed. 12:10-1:00, and by appointment in Hardin 006 (basement level)
Class meetings: Mondays 2:30-5:15 pm in the multipurpose room in the basement of Holmes Hall

Description: This course focuses on the idea of the space age--what that dream meant and what happened to it.  The Space Age is a technological dream that seems to have failed—the future imagined in the mid 20th century is not coming true.  We will cover the history of the US space program, but the focus will be on public opinion and policy, not on technology.  We will end with the question of whether private industry will create a new space age, as some now hope.

Requirements: Discussing, analyzing and drawing conclusions from the reading will be central to the course, so it is essential that you do the reading and come prepared to discuss it in class. No one book provides an overview for this course; you will quickly find yourself lost if you do not attend class.  Please explain all absences (either send a "sorry I missed class" e-mail or speak to Prof. Mack after class when you return). There may be a penalty for excessive absences (usually missing more than 2 classes).   If the professor or a substitute does not arrive within 10 minutes of the scheduled starting time of the class, students may leave.

The class presentation is a chance to provide background or more depth for an issue we discuss in class.  These will be spread out through the semester and can be individual projects or two people working together.  I don't want just a powerpoint presentation of information but rather something that engages the other students.

The term paper should be about 8-10 typed pages and should be documented with footnotes or endnotes.   Papers should be based on primary source research and deal with controversial issues.  Papers must be analytical; that is, they must ask a question or state a thesis and then develop an argument using specific evidence to prove a point. Papers will be evaluated primarily on the basis of your ability to use evidence and argument to effectively prove your point. Another key evaluation criteria will be for the narrative to go beyond content covered in class. For more information see the Paper Assignment.  Late papers will be downgraded five points (out of one hundred) for each calendar day late.  

Academic Integrity: As members of the Clemson University community, we have inherited Thomas Green Clemson's vision of this institution as a "high seminary of learning."  Fundamental to this vision is a mutual commitment to truthfulness, honor, and responsibility, without which we cannot earn the trust and respect of others.  Furthermore, we recognize that academic dishonesty detracts from the value of a Clemson degree.  Therefore, we shall not tolerate lying, cheating, or stealing in any form.  This includes representing someone else's work as your own or handing in the same paper to two different courses without permission of the instructors.

History 122 When, in the opinion of a faculty member, there is evidence that a student has committed an act of academic dishonesty, the faculty member shall make a formal written charge of academic dishonesty, including a description of the misconduct, to the Associate Dean for Curriculum in the Office of Undergraduate Studies. At the same time, the faculty member may, but is not required to, inform each involved student privately of the nature of the alleged charge.


20% midterm essay exam
25% term paper
20% class presentations
10% class participation
25% final essay exam

Numerical grades out of 100 will be converted to final letter grades by the system 90-100=A, 80-89=B, 70-79=C, 60-69=D, below 60=F. 

History 122

Laptops: Turn off sound in class or group situations.  The fundamental rule for laptops in this course is that you may use your laptop in class only for tasks directly related to this course.  In addition to tasks the professor asks you to do on your laptop, you may use it to take notes, to view course material, or to browse to web sites related to the material being discussed in class.  Do not email, instant message, chat, do homework, download music, look at Facebook, or play games during class.  Cell phones should be turned off during class--it is not appropriate to test during class or to leave the room in the middle of class to answer a phone call except in an emergency.

Portfolio:  This course meets the STS general education requirements, and so you should be putting essays that you write for this course in the STS and Social Science sections of your general education portfolio.  The prompt is:

Required Reading: Reading should be done before the class day for which an assignment is listed.  Some readings are online and are linked from the online syllabus.

William Burrows, This New Ocean: The Story of the First Space Age
Gene Kranz, Failure is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13
Howard E. McCurdy, Space and the American Imagination
James A. Vedda, Choice, Not Fate: Shaping a Sustainable Future in the Space Age




This page written and copyright © Pamela E. Mack
Send me e-mail at: Pammack@clemson.edu
For my other pages see:  PEM Index Page
last updated Aug. 21, 2011