History 4730 Syllabus

This course allows WSU students to join in the world-wide celebration
of Jane Austen and her work during the 200 anniversary of her death.

Jane Austen, from a drawing by sister Cassandra.

We will focus on analysis of Austen's work in relation to the social and cultural conditions of late 18th and early 19th century England. We will explore the ways in which Austen's work responds to and reflects the major social issues of her time (the Napoleanic wars, the abolition of the slave trade, gender inequity in laws and customs, the landed gentry and economic inequities. We will also explore the ways in which modern adaptations incorporate or, more often, ignore these themes.

Course Schedule


Learning Objectives:

  • Historical Knowledge: students will be able to:
    • Explain the historical contexts of Austen's work.
    • demonstrate understanding of selected adaptations of Austen's work and their relationship to Austen's original texts.
  • Historical Thinking: Students will be able to
    • Explain the relationship of the past to the present with specific reference to Austen's work.
  •  Historical Skills: Students will be able to:
    • Identify arguments in historical scholarship and to evaluate them critically.
    • Present  their research/analyses in cogent formats.

Activities in support of learning

  • Class discussions
  • Formal and informal oral presentations
  • Formal papers

Assessments of learning:

  • 3 Formal papers related to the assigned texts (3-5 pages, typed, double-spaced, free of gross grammatical and spelling errors). 15 points each.  Points are earned for:
  • 3 Formal oral presentations related to assigned texts. ( 2 in response to films (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.; 2 in evaluation of resources)10 points each. Points are earned for:
    • Presentation accomplishes the assignment, is clear, within the time limit, and without distractions = 5 points
    • Handout provides relevant information with citation of sources = 3 points
    • Questions were answered accurately and effectively = 3 points
  • Participation 
    •  Active participation and critical thinking about the reading is essential. Careful reading is the single most important thing you can do to be successful in this course. In evaluating your participation grade, we will be looking for three main things: 1) active, regular participation; 2) direct engagement with the text by offering reflections, posing questions, pointing out problems, etc.; and 3) interaction with your peers by building on their comments, asking further questions, and putting forth a different view with respect and courtesy


Grades will a weighted percentage of points possible-not "on the curve."  94% = A

A = 94 -100%
B = 83 - 86%
C = 73 - 76%
D = 60 - 66%