History of South Africa, History 3820 (WI)
CRN 35048, Section 001
Spring Semester, 2015
Dr. Kenneth Wilburn

Lectures: MWF 10 - 10:50 a.m. in BD-101
Office Hours (BA-318): MWF 8:15-9, MW 12-12:30 & by Appointment
Office Telephone: 252-328-1029
Academic Home Page:

Sara Spatafore, Graduate Assistant
Office: History Lab, Brewster D-201
Office Hours: Monday 1 - 4 and Tuesday 11 - 3

Course Goals:

Students in HIST 3820 will learn the subject matter of the History of South Africa in provincial, national, and global contexts. Jules Benjamin's A Student's Guide to History will introduce students to research methodology, principles, and concepts related to the discipline of history and historical research. Finally, students will learn about history's contribution to general knowledge, as well as how South Africa has much to teach us all about the human experience.

The Summary/Reaction Course Journal (70%):

Your private, online summary/reaction course journal is your most important assignment, shared only between you and me--the class cannot see it, and carried out according to instructions I have sent to you via email. In it you summarize and react to all classes, readings, internet sites, and films. Your journal is due for evaluation on 30 January (midnight, Friday), 2 March (midnight, Monday), and 20 April (midnight, Monday). Grades for those dates are weighted 10%, 40% and 50% respectively. If your journal is incomplete when due for assessment, you will lose at least one letter grade. The method of assessment, table of contents, entry due dates, and other important information are located within the journal. If you earn an A on both your journal and book review, you will be exempt from the final exam; however, if either your journal or book review is ever late or incomplete, you have more than two absences, you did not participate in our discussions, and you did not carry out extra credit, you must take the final exam. Your journal will be your course archive and your final exam study guide.

Book Reviews (10%):

Two 500-word book reviews are required: my book, Drawing Meaning into History, and Steve Biko's I Write What I Like. Craft your reviews, due respectively 18 February (Wednesday) and 6 April (Monday), according to directions in Benjamin.

Final Exam (20%):

Your final exam will have 3 sections, each having 2 essay questions. You must respond in essay format to 1 question from each section. Your final exam will be on 6 May (Wednesday) from 8 a.m.- 10:30 a.m. Bring 2 essay exam blue books to the exam.


Benjamin, Jules, A Student's Guide to History
Biko, Steve, I Write What I Like
MacKinnon, Aran, The Making of South Africa: Culture and Politics
Mandela, Nelson, Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
Wilburn, Kenneth, Drawing Meaning into History

Writing Intensive and University Writing Portfolio Information:

HIST 3820 is a writing intensive course in ECU's Writing Across the Curriculum Program. This course contributes three hours toward the twelve-hour WI requirement for students at ECU. For additional information, access:

As part of your writing intensive course, you must submit samples from your summary/reaction journal, along with a description of that assignment and brief responses to four questions about your writing, near the end of the semester. You must upload your samples to your "University Writing Portfolio," which you will access and create (if you have not already done so in a previous WI course) through the "Student Portfolio" link in Pirate Port,

Each year, representatives of ECU's University Writing Program will randomly select a set of University Writing Portfolios from recently graduated students to assess how effectively ECU's writing programs meet the needs of ECU students. The assessment work of the University Writing Program has no bearing on your grades: assessments will be done after a student graduates. Moreover, results of University Writing Portfolio assessments will only be used to improve instruction for future students and will never be reported in any way that connects those results to individual students.

Additional information about creating your University Writing Portfolio and uploading your materials will be provided during the semester. Further assistance with this process will also be available online,, and in person at the University Writing Center,, located in Joyner Library.

Class Attendance Policy: Seven or more absences effect failure.

Class Decorum:

Please enjoy your social media before you enter and after you exit our classroom. Except for note-taking, all communications devices must be turned off. If you insist on using social media during class, you will be marked absent and asked to leave. Your classmates and I thank you in advance for your good manners and respectful commitment to intellectual engagement in the History of South Africa.

Severe Weather:
Emergency Announcements and Hotline:

ECU seeks to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Students requesting accommodations
must first go to the Department of Disability Support Services, Slay 138; call 252-737-1016.

Return to the Academic Home Page

First Online Edition: 9 January 2008
Last Revised: 2 February 2015