Making History


  • HIST 1105-001 Spring 2021
  • Remote Arranged (fully online, no scheduled meeting)
  • 3 Credit Hours
  • Prof. Fred Gibbs (
  • No set student hours, but always happy to Zoom chat

Course Description

What does it mean to “make history”? On one hand, to do something worth recording. On the other, the act of memorializing. This course examines how we interact with history everyday, through social media, Wikipedia, film, books, public spaces, monuments, historic buildings, art, and so on. Where is it visible? Invisible? What difference does it make?

It also addresses various meta-questions about history: What is history? What is it for? Who is it for? This entirely online and asynchronous course consists of short lectures, reading assignments, quizzes, and short essays that helps students learn robust research skills, analytical techniques, and ways of using evidence to make arguments.

The core philosophy underlying the course is that historical perspective is essential for the educated citizen. Students will consider the difference between history and memory, how history has been used in the past to manipulate public memory, and how the study of history has been at the center of recent culture wars.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Through readings, lectures, discussions, examinations, and writing assignments, students will be able to:

  • EXPLAIN how humans in the past shaped their own unique historical moments, constructed historical memories, and were shaped by those moments and memories over time.
  • SUMMARIZE and APPRAISE the diversity of historical experiences, interpretations, evidence in order to RECONSTRUCT past events and EVALUATE how history and historical memory can be used and misused for various purposes.
  • IDENTIFY historical arguments in a variety of sources and EXPLAIN how they were constructed, EVALUATING credibility, perspective, and relevance.
  • CREATE well-supported historical arguments and narratives that demonstrate their ability to read critically, think logically, and express themselves clearly in writing appropriate for their audience.
  • DISTINGUISH between primary and secondary sources, IDENTIFY and EVALUATE evidence and UNDERSTAND people in their historical context.

Work Requirements and Grading

  • Discussion board posts on lectures and reading assignments (30%)
  • Various essay assignments (30%)
  • Quizzes on lectures and reading assignments (20%)
  • Final Essay (20%)

Grade Distribution

Percent Grade
94+ A
90-94 A-
87-89 B+
83-86 B
80-82 B-
77-79 C+
73-76 C
70-72 C-
67-69 D+
60-66 D
59- F

Please Ask for Help

I heartily encouraged you to speak with me at any time about how I think you’re doing in the class and how you can improve your performance (if at all). If life gets overwhelming during the course (as it easily can these days), it can be tempting to drift away from an elective course like this. Rather than disappear, let’s work something out to accommodate your circumstances and thus avoid digging a huge hole from which it becomes increasingly difficult to escape.


  • Sarah Maza, Thinking About History (University of Chicago Press, 2017)
  • Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore, A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things (University of California Press, 2018) online
  • Jeremy D. Popkin, From Herodotus to H-Net, 2nd ed. (Oxford University Press, 2021)
  • Beverley Southgate, What is History For? (Routledge, 2005) online

Writing Help

CAPS Tutoring Services is a free-of-charge educational assistance program available to UNM students enrolled in classes. Online services include the Online Writing Lab, Chatting with or asking a question of a Tutor.

Students with Disabilities

The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodations of their disabilities. If you have a disability requiring accommodation, please contact me immediately to make arrangements as well as Accessibility Services Office in 2021 Mesa Vista Hall at 277-3506 or Information about your disability is confidential.

Academic Misconduct

You should be familiar with UNM’s Policy on Academic Dishonesty and the Student Code of Conduct which outline academic misconduct defined as plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, or facilitating any such act.

Citizenship and/or Immigration Status

All students are welcome in this class regardless of citizenship, residency, or immigration status. I will respect your privacy if you choose to disclose your status. UNM as an institution has made a core commitment to the success of all our students, including members of our undocumented community. The Administration’s welcome is found on our website: