Course Details


We meet every Monday for 2.5 hours (unless otherwise noted) throughout the semester. Our meetings will divided by lecture/discussion and an in-class workshop. Some weeks will have more lecture/discussion and others will be more weighted to skills, but all weeks will have some mixture of the two. In our discussions, I may lecture to set some context, but the bulk of our time will be spent discussing the assigned readings and media. In our in-class workshops, we’ll learn and practice specific digital skills. All workshops are designed to help you learn the skills you need to complete the graded assignments.


All of your readings will be available to you online or via GMU Libraries access. You will be required to purchase a domain of your own and server space–which will house all of your assignments–from Reclaim Hosting for $25. You should plan to do this before the second week of class.

*While no background in history is required for this class, I strongly recommend you consult the free online history text, American Yawp, to get some context and to refresh your memory about American history, as needed.


Please bring a laptop or tablet to every class—you’ll need it to complete the required in-class exercises. Please charge your battery or remember to bring your power cord; our classes are two hours and forty minutes. While I encourage the use of technology, if you are clearly using your devices for things other than coursework, your participation grade will suffer.

Email is the best way to reach me; I will usually respond within one business day and I will expect the same of you. Mason uses only GMU email accounts to communicate with enrolled students. I will not correspond with non-GMU email addresses.

Computers are awesome, but with any technology, you must expect that you will encounter problems at some point. Back up your work on an external hard drive or in a Dropbox account. Always keep separate copies of your written assignments, essays, and final project. Have a “plan B” for computer use or software access should your primary options fail you. Computer failures are not acceptable as an excuse for late assignments and will not constitute an emergency.

Please silence all your devices.

Honor Code

All GMU students have agreed to abide by the letter and the spirit of the University Honor Code not to cheat, plagiarize, steal, and/or lie about matters related to academic work. All violations of the Honor Code will be reported to the Honor Committee for review.

If you are copying and pasting text that someone else wrote, you might be plagiarizing. Pasted or manually retyped text is accurately cited (and not plagarized) only when all of the following three conditions are true:

  1. the pasted text is surrounded by quotation marks or set off as a block quote, and
  2. the pasted text is attributed in your text to its author and its source (e.g., “As Jane Smith writes on her blog . . . “), and
  3. the pasted text is cited in a footnote, endnote, and/or a bibliography.

Disability Services

Any student who requires special arrangements in order to meet course requirements should contact me to make necessary accommodations (as soon as possible, please). Students must present appropriate verification from the Office of Disability Services (SUB I, Room 4205; 703-993-2474). All academic accommodations must be arranged through that office.

Late Work

Deadlines matter. All assignments must be turned in by the date and time they are due. Late assignments will be penalized 1/3 of a grade (eg. From a B to a B-) after the deadline. I will deduct an additional 1/3 of a grade for each 24 hours that pass before the assignment is completed.

That said, I do recognize that emergencies can arise; if you have a documented emergency, please email or talk to me and we can discuss other arrangements.


This is a late class, and sometimes it’s the only time you have to eat. Please be mindful of disruptions – including noisy wrappers and spills. Messy food, liquids, and computers don’t mix, so please be careful. No tobacco products of any kind.

Your enrollment status is your responsibility.

Trigger warning: In this class, we will be covering various types of violent crime, including homicide, assault, and capital punishment. As such, some of the assigned sources can be upsetting or disturbing. If you have specific triggers, please let me know and I will note the assignments accordingly. Please note that these warnings will not release you from the assignment. The trigger warnings are provided to give you the tools you require to complete the assigned work.

Come talk to me. I am always happy to discuss history in general or this class specifically. Please come see me if you want to ask questions about or further discuss the course, assignments, tools, discussion points, and/or your performance in the course. Don’t be shy.