Graveyards, Tombs&Undertakers - HST 095 OL6 - Course Syllabus or Other Course-Related Document | Academic Dishonesty | Cemetery

HST 095: Graveyards, Tombs & Undertakers University of Vermont History Department Summer Semester 2010 – 2 Credits Instructor: Scott

A. McLaughlin Email: Contact Information: 183 Plains Road, Jericho, Vermont 05465, (802) 899-4036 (8am-9pm only) Meeting dates and times: August 2-13 Location: Online Office hours: By appointment only Required Course Materials: The required materials are listed below and additional reading materials and films will be available on our Blackboard site for the course. All course materials are available at the UVM Bookstore. Books: Carmack, Sharon DeBartolo. 2002. Your Guide to Cemetery Research. Betterway Books, Cincinnati, Ohio. (ISBN 1-55870-589-9) Colman, Penny. 1997. Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts: A History of Burial. Henry Holt and Company, New York. (ISBN 0-8050-5066-3) Laderman, Gary. 2003. Rest in Peace: A Cultural History of the Death and the Funeral Home in Twentieth-Century America. Oxford University, Press, New York. (ISBN 019513608X) Sloane, David Charles. 1995. The Last Great Necessity: Cemeteries in American History. Johns Hopkins Paperback edition. Creating the North American Landscape Series, George F. Thompson, project editor. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland. (ISBN 08018-5125-4) Course Description: This course will explore some of the ways in which American cemeteries are studied by historians who recognize them as a major feature of the American landscape. We will consider cemeteries as a historical document reflecting past and present cultural beliefs, and cultural change. This course has a practical field component that involves working in a neighborhood cemetery putting the historical methods learned in the course into practice. This will involve investigating the spatial arrangement of grave plots, gravestone types, cemetery plantings, cemetery boundaries and structures, and the documentary and visual records of the cemetery and those buried there. This work will also help to reveal the local relationships between the dead, living, and their god. Learning Goal: To understand the development and cultural role of burial practices worldwide from prehistoric times to the present, especially those practiced in America as understood by anthropologists, archaeologists, geographers, and historians. Course Objectives: By the end of the semester, you should be able to: 1. Explain how and why anthropologists, archaeologists, geographers, and historians study cemeteries. 2. Discuss the information learned from conducting an investigation of the spatial arrangement of grave plots, gravestone types and materials, cemetery plantings, cemetery boundaries, and cemetery structures. 1

3. Identify basic styles of gravestones in America and understand the meaning of some of the typical symbols that appear on them. 4. Describe select burial practices and customs concerning the dead in America from the colonial period to present. 5. Outline the historical development of the American cemetery and burial practices from the colonial period to present. Course Structure: Due to the fast pace of the course, it uses daily modules or units based upon a specific theme. Within each module, you will find a number of links that take you to contextual material, such as PowerPoint presentations, required readings, videos, stories, images, and websites, as well as links to exams, class exercises, and individual assignments. We will use many of the functions of Blackboard, including the Discussion Board, Wiki, and Blog tools, for the course assignments. Since academic thinking is rooted in questioning, exploring, and imagining, your Blackboard assignments will require you to interact with the course material and to provide your voice in the online classroom. There is no back of the room in this online course! So expect that a typical day's assignments will include required readings; viewing a PowerPoint presentation, video, images, and websites; and providing a written response. At the end of each week, you will take an exam on the material covered. Online Lectures, Films, and Readings – Each day’s readings will be reinforced by a PowerPoint presentation and film excerpts. These experiences will cover the history of American cemeteries and memorial practices from the colonial period to the present. Online Discussions – An essential element for student learning is written or oral reflection on the course material and experiences. To have an experience is not enough to ensure learning; you need to reflect intentionally and thoughtfully upon the experience and upon what you learned from it. So on five occasions we will engage in an online discussion using Blackboard. The narrative portion of your first discussion entry should be at least 500 words. Following your first entry, you are asked to respond to two other entries in at least 100 words each. Online Activities – You will be required to participate in five brief Blackboard activities, which will help you to understand the living history behind cemeteries and the changing attitudes towards them and death during the recent past. They will also help you and your peers as you work towards completing your cemetery booklets. Field Research – A major component of this course will be fieldwork so that you can acquire firsthand the skills necessary to conduct cemetery studies research. You will work in a cemetery near you to document its history and relationship to the surrounding community. Each student will conduct a detailed analysis of the headstone designs, grave plot layout, cemetery plantings, and headstone epitaphs of their cemetery. The information each student collects in the cemetery will serve as the core of their field data, which they will then analyze using various techniques. Historical Research – To understand more about the relationship between those individuals buried in the cemetery, students will be conducting genealogical and settlement research for their community using primary and secondary documents and historical images. Cemetery Booklet – To provide your community with a usable and useful product, your efforts will result in two final products: a spreadsheet of the gravestone data with an accompanying map of the cemetery plots, and a walking tour booklet for your cemetery. This booklet will describe the history of the cemetery and that of some of the individuals buried there. Online Exams – At the end of each week, you will be given an open-book, online exam consisting of ten short essay questions that will help to bring the course content together. 2

Work Expectations: This 2 credit class is squeezed into 2 weeks! As such, you should realize that this class will take up a great deal of your time if you wish to succeed. A 2-credit course at UVM that meets face-toface requires 30 contact hours in the classroom or 3 hours each weekday. Depending upon your skills and goals, you can expect to spend 1 to 2 hours to prepare for every 1 hour of class time. So, expect to spend approximately 6 to 8 hours each day working on the requirements for this class! Discipline and organization are absolutely necessities for your success in this online course. Late Assignments: Due to the intensity of this course, all assignments must be completed on time. Please budget your time wisely. However, unforeseen issues will arise and you may find yourself unable to complete an assignment on time. Please notify me immediately should this situation occur. You will not receive credit for work that is late unless you have my permission to do so. Since this course builds upon previous lecture material, discussions, and exercises, all missing or incomplete work, which I will accept late will have to be fulfilled shortly after it was originally due. Contribution of Each Assignment: My grading system uses a 1,000 point scale in order to make online grade book entries easy for me and understandable to you. Course Assignments Online Discussions entries (50 @ pts each) Online Activities exercises (50 @ pts each) Cemetery Project field research historical research cemetery booklet Online Exams exams (2 @ 125 pts each) Total Points Grading Rubric: A+ through A- For any work to receive an "A," it must clearly be exceptional or outstanding work. It must demonstrate keen insight and original thinking. It must not only demonstrate full understanding of the topic or issues addressed, but it must also provide a critical analysis of these. In addition, an "A" grade reflects your ability to articulate clearly and carefully your thoughts concerning what you have learned about the topic or issue. B+ through B- For any work to receive a "B," it must be good to excellent work. It must demonstrate strong originality, comprehension, critical thinking, and attention to detail. In addition, a "B" grade reflects your ability to articulate clearly your thoughts concerning what you have learned about the topic or issue. C+ through C- For any work to receive a "C," it must meet the expectations of the assignment. It must demonstrate solid comprehension, critical thinking, and attention to detail. In addition, a "C" 3 Grading System 966-1000 933-965 900-932 866-899 833-865 800-833 766-799 733-765 700-732 666-699 633-665 600-632 0-599 A+ A AB+ B BC+ C CD+ D DF



75 75 100

250 1000

grade reflects your ability to articulate adequately your thoughts concerning what you have learned about the topic or issue. D+ through D- For any work to receive a "D," it must marginally meet the expectations of the assignment. It demonstrates minimal comprehension, critical thinking, and attention to detail. In addition, a "D" grade reflects your difficulty in articulating your understanding of the topic or issue. F Work that receives an "F" grade does not meet the expectations or objectives of the assignment. It demonstrates consistent problems with comprehension, organization, critical thinking, and supporting details. In addition, an "F" grade reflects your inability to articulate your thoughts concerning what you have learned about the topic or issue. P indicates satisfactory completion of the course objectives and achievement of 700 points or greater from completion of the course evaluative measures (i.e., reflection entries, exams). NP indicates failure to meet the course objectives and failure to achieve 700 points or greater from completion of the course evaluative measures (i.e., reflection entries, exams). Course Communication Policy If you have a question, please use the Q&A discussion forum on Blackboard instead of emailing me directly. Since oftentimes more than one student has the same question, I find it much easier to communicate classroom related answers to everyone at once. So, within the Class Q&A forum, you will post any questions or concerns you have about the readings, assignments, or anything else having to do with the class as a whole. I encourage other students to chime in and offer help to one another in answering these questions, especially if it pertains to the reading; however, I will respond to your posts within 24 hours. For those issues or problems that you deem private or personal, please email me directly, and I will respond within 24 hours. Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: In order to receive accommodations for disabilities in this course, you must contact UVM ACCESS (Office of Accommodation, Consultation, Collaboration, & Educational Support Services), whose staff will recommend reasonable and appropriate accommodations in light of your disability and the academic requirements of this course. ACCESS is located at A-170 Living/Learning Center ( or 656-7753). Course Code of Conduct: Students will at all time conduct themselves in a manner that serves to maintain, promote, and enhance the high quality academic environment befitting the University of Vermont. To this end, it is expected that all members of the learning community will adhere to the following guidelines: 1. Faculty and students will participate regularly, except for those occasions warranting an excused absence under the University Attendance Policy (e.g., religious, athletic, and medical). 2. Faculty and students will treat all members of the learning community with respect. Toward this end, they will promote academic discourse and the free exchange of ideas. 3. Students and faculty will maintain an appropriate academic climate by refraining from all actions that disrupt the learning environment (e.g., rude and unconstructive comments). Academic Integrity & Professionalism: "The principal objective of the Academic Integrity Code is to promote an intellectual climate and support the academic integrity of the University of Vermont. Academic dishonesty or an offense against academic honesty includes acts that may subvert or compromise the integrity of the


educational process. Such acts are serious offenses that insult the integrity of the entire academic community. Each student is responsible for knowing and observing this code." I expect all students in this class to be committed to honesty and excellence in their academic work. Being unaware of what constitutes academic dishonesty (such as not knowing what plagiarism is) does not absolve you from the responsibility of being honest in your academic work. Academic integrity is an essential part of learning at UVM. Students are expected to conduct themselves in an ethical manner while at the University and abide by the Code of Academic Integrity. Offenses against the Code of Academic Integrity (plagiarism, fabrication, collusion, or cheating) are deemed serious and insult the integrity of the entire academic community. Any suspected violations of the Code will not be tolerated and all allegations will be forwarded to the Center for Student Ethics & Standards. In this course, you will receive no credit for work that contains minor offenses against academic honesty, such as inadequate citation of sources. However, misrepresenting substantial and significant portions of written work or cheating constitutes a major offense and may result in harsher disciplinary action, including suspension or dismissal from UVM. For a copy of the UVM Code of Academic Integrity, go to How to Avoid Academic Dishonesty: Read and make sure you understand the section on academic honesty in the UVM Code and Student Handbook. Keep track of all your sources when conducting research. Take careful notes and make it clear what is a direct quotation, a paraphrase, or another person's idea. Follow a conventional system of documentation (i.e., footnotes, endnotes, bibliography). Understand when and how to appropriately cite sources within a paper or presentation. Always double-check your work to avoid making errors. Reread the section on academic honesty in the UVM Code and Student Handbook before submitting your work for grading. Search for areas were you might have accidentally violated the code in any way. Before you submit any work for grading, ask for assistance in evaluating your work in the area of academic honesty from a UVM professor or advisor. Instructional Sequence: Day 1 (Mon Aug 2): Course Introduction & Rites of Death Readings: Colman (pp. 3-42, 141-152); Carmack (pp. 1-80) Films: Ancient Mysteries: Rites of Death (1996); Cryptic Clues in the Bone Yard (2001) Discussion #1 Posted Day 2 (Tues Aug 3): Colonial Graveyards - Vampires Readings: Bell (pp. 202-225); Sloane (pp. xxi-43) Films: Ancient Mysteries: Vampires (1994); A Cemetery Special (2005) Exercise #1 Posted Day 3 (Wed Aug 4): Rural and Garden Cemetery Movements Readings: Carmack (pp. 193-205); Sloane (pp. 44-95) Films: Grove Street Cemetery: City of the Dead, City of the Living (2008); Oakdale Cemetery: Where Angels and Mortals Meet (2008) Discussion #2 Posted Day 4 (Thurs Aug 5): Lawn-Park Cemetery Readings: Carmack (pp. 149-192); Sloane (pp. 97-127) Films: Rock of Ages: A Legacy of Excellence (2004); History’s Mysteries: Crypts, Coffins and 5

Corpses (2000) Exercise #2 Posted Day 5 (Fri Aug 6): Late Nineteenth-Century American Funerals Readings: Colman (pp. 119-140); Mehaffey (pp. 1-46) Films: The History of Funeral Directing (1995); Stealing Lincoln’s Body (2009); In Search of History: Last Rites – Death Ceremonies (2000) Discussion #3 Posted Day 6 (Mon Aug 9): Cemeteries – A Social Reflection Readings: Fenza (pp. 137-155); Foster & Hummel (pp. 92-114); McGuire (pp. 435-474) Stories: Scary Stories: The Complete 3-Book Audio Collection (2007) Films: Stories under the Stone (2006); Prairie Crosses, Prairie Voices: Iron Crosses of the Great Plains (2002); Paranormal State: The Cemetery (2008) Quiz #1 Due Exercise #3 Posted Day 7 (Tues Aug 10): Commercialization of the Cemetery Readings: Sloane (pp. 128-156) Films: Arlington: Field of Honor (2005); Rock of Ages: A Legacy of Excellence (2004); Gates of Heaven (2005) Discussion #4 Posted Day 8 (Wed Aug 11): Memorial Park Cemetery Readings: Sloane (pp. 157-190) Films: New Orleans: Jazz Funerals…from the Inside (1995); A Second Final Rest: The History of San Francisco's Lost Cemeteries (2004) Exercise #4 Posted Day 9 (Thurs Aug 12): A Business in Crisis Readings: Laderman (pp. 45-82); Sloane (pp. 191-244) Films: Investigative Reports: The Business of Death (1999); Hart Island: An American Cemetery (2008); Frontline: The Undertaking (2008); The Facts of Death (?) Discussion #5 Posted Day 10 (Fri Aug 13): Cemetery Tours & Future of the Dead Readings: Laderman (pp. 170-211); Sloane (pp. 191-244) Films: The Young and the Dead (2000); Modern Marvels: Cemeteries (2001); Grave Hunting with Steve: A Journey beneath Los Angeles (2009) Exercise #5 Posted Exam #2 Posted


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