History 185: From Mobile to Margaritaville

(This course was taught in January term 2012 and 2013)

The Course

This course will use the fiction and extensive musical repertoire of Jimmy Buffett as a focal point for studying world geography and the human interactions associated with it through the course of history. Geographic references in Buffett's songs and fiction will serve as a springboard for student presentations, discussion, and writing.

Required Reading

Buffett, Jimmy, Tales from Margaritaville

________, Where is Joe Merchant? A Novel Tale

________, A Salty Piece of Land

Assignments: (Follow this link for more details about individual assignments and resources to help your research)

Four group in-class presentations (30 percent)
Two individual in-class presentations — with accompanying written assignments (50 percent)
Attendance and class participation (20 percent)

Attendance: because this course is based on discussion, attendance is essential for the effective functioning of the class. Consequently, roll will be taken daily, and unexcused absences will be penalized on the following basis: for every three unexcused absences, a student's course grade will be lowered one third of a grade (e.g., from B to B-, B- to C+, etc.). Students with 12 or more unexcused absences will automatically fail the course. If an unexcused absence results in a student missing a scheduled presentation, there will be an additional penalty of the course grade being lowered one third of a grade. (Please note: roll will be taken at each class meeting, i.e., at 9:15 and again at 11:00. Missing an entire day will thus count for two absences.)

Violations of the Honor System will be referred to the Honor Council, which will assess the appropriate penalties.

Please note: Some of Jimmy Buffett's music and fiction contains references to excessive use (or abuse) of alcohol or other controlled substances. Such activities are neither endorsed nor encouraged by this course or its instructor.