Monday, March 14, 2011

The Survey: Drafting the Syllabus

While retooling the legal history survey at SLU this spring, I drew heavily from primary sources available online (see what I've got so far here). Helpful sites included History Matters, a clearinghouse of digitized primary sources in American history -- including a large number of cultural sources that provide a nice complement to legal cases. Also useful was American Memory, sponsored by the Library of Congress, Remembering Jim Crow, and the Gilder Leherman online collection (all three of which are linked into History Matters, making it a type of super-site). Though I ended up going the coursepack route, other profs have done interesting hard-copy/digital hybrids. Denver Law's Tom Russell has a great example posted here. Another hybrid is Elizabeth Dale's syllabus at Florida. Dale's '06 version took the provocative route of focusing the course around a single theme, employment. This raised the intriguing question, is it possible to use the syllabus as a rough outline for a book?