Guns of August and the state of quizbowl history

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Guns of August and the state of quizbowl history

Post by Awehrman » Tue Aug 07, 2007 10:06 pm

After all of the glowing comments about the literature singles/doubles tournament, I'd like to comment on Bruce's history tournament. Overall the set was underwhelming. I agree with the others who said the packets were even and contained a good level of difficulty for the field. Unfortunately, unlike the lit singles, this set did not push quizbowl history in better direction but relied on tired questions almost entirely on political and military history. After the recent revisions of science and music (and to a lesser extent art and literature) in the ACF canon, it has surprised me that there has been no call for better history questions.

Bruce's questions exemplify the problem. A few years ago science players implored the qb community to write "real science," so that sciencey types could answer science questions earlier than non-sciencey types. That is, science tossups have become less about anecdotes and more about the kinds of technical information more readily recognized by experts in the field. History questions have not been held to that standard. I don't have the questions here, but it seemed that at least half if not three-quarters of the tossups mentioned battles or wars. One round in particular had what I think were three American history questions. The answers were: the battle of Cowpens, Battle of Fredericksburg, and the Battle of the Bulge. Upon mentioning to this to another player, he repied, "It's history, dude." This is a 1950's version of history. Just as you might be hard pressed to find a lecture on Sir Humphry Davy in your chemistry class, you would be at least equally pressed to find out who outflanked who at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Northwestern does not even have a course on the Civil War. As far as I know, you would have to be attending a military academy to study these sorts of things. Most historians moved to social and cultural history 40 years ago.

So, what does this mean for question writers? It's important to remember that people never fought ALL the time, as these questions might lead you to believe. All of the extra politcal/military stuff meant that there were few questions on religion, intellectual history, history of the book, history of science, historical geography, historical architecture, environmental history, popular culture, and so on. Any of these areas affected more people than any isolated battle or ineffectual ruler. The over-categorizing of the current ACF style feeds into this version of history. Because question writers do not want to throw off the distribution, they shy away from interdisciplinarity, and miss the opportunity to write truly interesting history questions based on current trends in history.

For instance instead of writing a question on the environmental history of the Colorado River, which might be construed as geography or even trash, we instead hear another tossup on James Buchanon (which should be pronounced "Buck-an-uhn"). Instead of a question on Manichaeism, which may be construed as religion or contain art clues, we hear another tossup on a treaty, king, or battle. These should not be eliminated entirely, of course, but de-emphasized.

Good history questions should be distribution busters. I considered writing a tossup on John Wesley's pamphlet "Primitive Physic: an easy and natural way for curing most diseases" for the Chicago Open. I didn't end up writing it because I thought it was a little too hard, and I didn't end up writing a packet or playing in the tournament. Published in 1773, the pamphlet shocked Europe and America with its radical notion that people should do away with doctors and treat themselves. If this tossup were written, it would float between the categories of literature, science, history, and religion. Thus, the question would be very appealing, but it would make distribution nuts cringe. It would almost certainly be cut under the current ACF style.

Question editors should release their tight grip on the distribution when it comes to history questions (and other questions as well, frankly). Topics excluded from other categories such as history of science should find a home within the historical distribution. Fixing the problems with history questions would go along way to making quizbowl more engaging and more relevant.

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Post by kactigger » Tue Aug 07, 2007 11:15 pm

you would be at least equally pressed to find out who outflanked who at the Battle of Fredericksburg.
This is a random point, but one of the main points about Fredericksburg is that nobody outflanked anyone- Burnside attacked Lee's line right up the middle, leading to a massacre.
But, perhaps the point being made is that questions about Fredericksburg should be not about the battle itself, but rather the social consequences of the battle- increased Copperhead resistance, moves towards a draft because of the casualties, etc. But its not obvious that this is a more interesting way of writing the question at all. Perhaps a question on Fredericksburg could chart the "enviornmental history" of the Rappahannock by describing the results of all the blood of the dead Union soldiers.
The main reason why there's not a call for this sort of question writing is because nobody wants it. The typical history player on a quizbowl team likes history because of popular history books (Shelby Foote, Stephen Ambrose as an example) and stuff they see on the History Channel. There's no reason why the distribution shouldn't reflect that to a certain extent. Obviously wars or whatever can be overrepresented in a particular set, but the main result of questions about the "enviornmental history of the Colorado River" instead of Fredericksburg will be to drive a lot of the teams that come to play out of love for the game rather than any ability to win the tournament away.

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Post by Awehrman » Tue Aug 07, 2007 11:49 pm

I think we all have ideas about questions that we'd kind of like to write, but don't follow through because of their perceived difficulty. You're right that "Primitive Physic" is not a great example, but I don't think it's that terrible. John Wesley's a pretty famous guy. He founded one of largest religions in America. You can't very easily write a question on him that isn't biographical or isn't about Methodism. Most people don't know titles of individual sermons. This pamphlet was quite influential (first published in 1747 not 1773 as I earlier mentioned), sparking among other things Thomsonism in the US (another topic I've never heard come up).
I've seen plenty of social history tossups and it isn't necessary to ask about some pamphlet Wesley wrote to have them. I suppose I'd like to see some more examples of what you mean
And, I'd like to hear some examples of what you mean by social history. If I had to, I'd call my unwritten Wesley question cultural history.

Another reason to deemphasize military/political history is that it excludes many groups. I don't recall many questions on women at the Guns of August. Questions on Latin America, Asia, and Africa are nice but they still almost exclusively deal with elites.


A normal 20/20 packet shouldn't have two battle tossups but it shouldn't have two tossups on economic history or any other narrow realm. Tossups on the New Economic Policy and the Specie Circular in the same packet isn't any better than tossups on multiple battles.
I'd much rather have Specie Circular and New Economic Policy (although I have an aversion to bland names as quizbowl answers) tossups in the same packet than two battle questions. Although I'd still put both of those things in the political history category.

Newton is an interesting case. Would you label a Newton tossup as a history question? Only if it is biographical or about the context in which he wrote? What about a tossup on Principia Mathematica? My major point is that question writers are moving away from these questions that are difficult to categorize in favor of "real" questions. Those "stupid biographical details" are often the very context of why Newton wrote what he did at the time he did. Texts like Principia don't exist in isolation but are grounded in their current political, cultural and social contexts as well in conversation with other greater and lesser scientific minds (standing on the shoulders of giants). I'm not a biography apologist, but it too has its place.

I think I gave several examples of potential categories for questions in addition to my wesley, colorado river, and manichaeism. If you'd like more, I also add that questions on historians are still quite rare. Why not ask about Edmund Morgan, Simon Schama, Marc Bloc, Natalie Davis, etc? I'm really calling for some more creativity here. Not in a cutesy CBI way, but how about a tossup on the history of certain street? A historical tossup on an influential animal? Why are these things any less worthy of an occasional clever tossup or bonus especially in a tournament that is 15/0 history? I agree that many of these things have been asked at times before, but I'm not sure I've seen many lately or enough numbers to dent the military/political stranglehold on history.

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Post by Awehrman » Wed Aug 08, 2007 12:05 am

This is a random point, but one of the main points about Fredericksburg is that nobody outflanked anyone- Burnside attacked Lee's line right up the middle, leading to a massacre.
Fair enough, but historians of the so-called "New military history" will tell you that even these battle plans illustrate an outdated idea of how history works. It makes officers into winners who brilliantly guide their obedient soldiers over inept or unlucky officers on the other side. On the other hand, if you read soldier diaries against officers' orderly books you see that they can't be further apart. Soldiers run around crazy when bullets start flying, especially in pre-modern battles. Ordinary soldiers enlisted in armies to eat or get out of jail most of the time. They never really cared about military discipline, but about their own survival. Most recent historical works deal with this side of the battle. The best book about this phenomenon is John Keegan's "In the Face of Battle," where he compares medieval, early-modern, and modern battles.

This is more or less what I mean about military and political history questions belonging to a 1950's style intellectual arena.

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Post by No Rules Westbrook » Wed Aug 08, 2007 12:49 am

Oh, dear...this is most unfortunate. Well, first off, yeah...let's not use the Guns of August as any sort of reference frame here. While amusing to play, the tourney had its flaws and was clearly skewed toward military history and pretty poor on distro as to time/place/etc. Eh, it was what it was. But, the problems you're complaining about in general do not really exist...and, your suggestions are just plain silly.

There are no "distribution nuts" out there...rather, many of the types of questions you seem to want more of are often excluded because they turn out really dumb. Lots of people try history tus on "places" - sometimes, they turn out okay (like tossups on countries for instance), but often they're just annoying disasters. I'm almost positive that the Colorado River tu would end one of two ways - with someone buzzing in halfway through and thinking "huh, they seem to want a river and we're wandering around the west...so, how bout I say Colorado?" or with someone buzzing in at a giveaway-ish clue and saying "is this the fucking Colorado River?" (the profanity is an important touch of realism there, btw). It doesn't matter how many super environmental history clues you stick in that question, that's what's going to happen. Your proposed tossups on streets and animals would surely be even worse.

I've seen plenty of tus on Principia Mathematica and Manichaeism...the former is science and the latter is usually religion, although it could be history just as a tu on the Council of Constance could be history. Big deal. We generally classify things into certain categories by convention because it's easier that way, but there are gray areas. Primitive Physic is prohibitively difficult, but there have also been plenty of tus on historical documents and the like...for example, one on How the Other Half Lives.

Also, noone gives a crap about the meaning of the word "history;" save that thrilling discussion for some undergraduate thesis course. Argue all you want that an unknown peasant girl in 14th century France is just as "historical" as the Treaty of Waitangi. I prefer tossups on the latter because I don't know a damned thing about the former. You have to be flatly realistic about what's going to make for a good question and what isn't. As Jerry very often says, quizbowl is simply this game that's played a certain way; it's not a mirror of the academic world and what people think is important there. Literature majors don't regularly memorize characters and plotlines from books either, but qb lit players do, because that's what this game is about.

The only point you make that isn't completely bonkers is that there should be more questions on historians and the like...a roughly parallel argument to the one on lit criticism, and not an unreasonable suggestion.

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Post by Awehrman » Wed Aug 08, 2007 1:26 am

So, if you're going to include historians, why are you going to exclude the things that historians actually write about? To my knowledge none of the historians I mentioned have ever writtten detailed accounts of a battle or war. Simon Schama would much more likely give you the cultural history of a tulip in the Netherlands. Morgan's more political but still would write more about sermons and pamphlets than guns. Natalie Davis wrote a book turned movie about Martin Guerre, a 16th century peasant. Bloch would sooner write about rural land distribution and disease.

I don't quite understand why a science player can complain that science questions do not reward things gleaned from science textbooks, but history players (not that there are many at the graduate level) cannot plea for more questions on things found in the best and latest history texts. In addition changes in history questions would not be nearly as prohibitive to younger players than questions on advanced scientific concepts. The reactions to some of my ideas seem to stem from the fact questions with similar answers often turn out poorly. I am arguing for a different approach to question writing, not a return to NAcuties.

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Post by MikeWormdog » Wed Aug 08, 2007 2:03 am

Andy's post on the detriments of "quizbowl history" partly comes from a discussion we had this past weekend. I was in Chicago on Friday and told him not to expect much from the "history" tournament questions unless he had a very dated view of history, which only involved politics and war, particularly 17th-19th century kings, treaties, and military conflicts. That is what "quizbowl history" is. Most other stuff that is somewhat historical is pushed into another category, and because of current trends of question writing, likely any historical content is edited out of them or the question will be disregarded entirely. In general, the more categories a question can cover, the less likely it is to be used.

Andy's example of John Wesley's pamphlet as a potential tossup answer was likely too obscure, but placing Wesley in the history distribution shouldn't be a problem. It seems to be one, however, at least in some tournaments. Religious history is often confined to the R section of RMP in the minds of many, leaving perhaps one question (if the slot isn't taken by something out of the Bible or other religious book or stricter theology) out of 20. Military stuff and politics are unaffected because they can only fit into the historical category.

History of science, despite Chris's assertion, is dying in quizbowl, if not already dead. It is frowned upon as being not scientific enough and not historical enough. While some of Newton's discoveries and the mathematics behind them can be placed into a science tossup and details of Principia could be put into philosophy, "stupid biographical details," as Chris put it, have no place at all. Newton's life and career aren't any less stupid than the life and career of Oliver Cromwell. Both are major historical figures. One gets asked about, but the other can only have certain categories of his work asked about. Likewise, inventors and scientific discoverers may also be "weak" scientifically in a quizbowl sense, but they're also "weak" in a quizbowl historical sense. Major figures like Henry Ford, Jonas Salk, and Thomas Edison are more or less neglected because of this. They don't fit cleanly into one category, so they don't fit at all.

Contemporary history (current events) and geography are also bad because they're too NAQT-like, or something like that. They used to have categories of their own. I agree that too much current events and geography can be bad, but that's typically because they're not historical enough. However, if they have too much history, they can be tough to categorize.

The more quizbowl categories a potential question topic crosses doesn't ensure that the question gets used but rather that the question doesn't. Opera questions have been on the way out of the "music" distribution in favor of non-theatrical musical pieces, whose history or background are often edited out because they aren't "musical enough." Having a plot could make it literature. Opera, ballet, and higher brow musical theater are pushed to the side because they're neither symphonies nor paintings, forced to contend with architecture, sculpture, and a bunch of other fine arts topics often as important as non-worded music or painting for part of that 1/1.

I think quizbowl often devolves into New Criticism run amok, which is apt since, quizbowl history has been described as stuck in the 1950s. The work now so greatly overshadows the worker that you get more and more detailed descriptions of corners of paintings rather than discussions of their place in their artist's life, or body of work, or larger culture. Authors' lives are not cool to ask about, but detailed descriptions of characters or plot elements in their works that make no larger connection are. I think both types of questions have their place.

Andy is right that a detailed distribution effectively shackles "quizbowl history" and ensures that questions on battles, wars, treaties, and monarchs are overrepresented because they cleanly fit into one category. Also, since religious, scientific, literary, and intellectual figures, works, and places of historical significance can often be thought to sort of fit into a category other than "history," they are given the short shrift not only in history but in the other categories they could conceivably fit under, in favor of more concretely "religious," or "scientific," questions.

Perhaps the problem is only perceived and not real, in that questions on non-political events and figures would be welcomed into the history distribution or somewhere else in a packet. As it is though, certain types of history, and interdisciplinary things in general, seem to have trouble working their way into tournaments. Also, since the category a question might fit under can be rather nebulous, question writers likely steer clear from certain topics, especially when sending categorized questions to tournament editors.

To make a comment on Ryan's point on historiography, I think it is also a victim of categorization. Historiography could fit into either social science or history, or maybe even philosophy, but these categories (some of which even have specific subdistributions) are often taken up by other questions. For example, where would you put Edward Gibbon? (I know he comes up occasionally, but I think less than he should) Does he go in Literature? Philosophy? History? If so, Ancient? Early modern British?

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Post by Mike Bentley » Wed Aug 08, 2007 9:34 am

The main problem with introducing “social history” into quizbowl is that these questions are either: too obscure, lack definitive names, too ambiguous, or too transparent. I’ve taken many courses that emphasize social history much more than kings, generals, battles, and treaties, but I’m not too downtrodden when things like “the importance of the convents in colonial Latin America” don’t come up. But these classes often do provide the context for answering quizbowl questions, provided that you have the memory to recall the proper names that do make distinguishable answer choices. Good history questions often use some of these “social history” subjects as clues, even if they ultimately are not fit to be tossup or bonus answers themselves.

I think the argument can be made for almost every category in the (college) quizbowl canon that what comes up frequently in quizbowl is not what is stressed in a college class. As has already been mentioned, Literature majors don’t often study minor characters and “unimportant” works of otherwise more noteworthy authors. Things that have definitive names to them (i.e. were named for their formulators) come up dramatically more in quizbowl than they do in the classroom in pretty much every subject.

Success in the classroom is not a one to one relation to success in quizbowl, and I don’t think it can ever be that way. I’d say that we should strive to make the relationship closer (i.e. with the removal of most of the science and literature history from science and literature distribution), but by the nature of how a class works compared to how quizbowl works, it’s never going to be completely analogous. I can’t really remember the last time I took a “fill in the blank” quiz or test in a serious history course in college, yet quizbowl is essentially a slight variation of these quizzes. And while I would probably do well writing an essay on “the environmental history of the Columbian Exchange” compared to the other team, I don’t really see such a format to be interesting or expected in quizbowl.
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Post by Important Bird Area » Wed Aug 08, 2007 10:32 am

This post comes with the following warnings attached:

1. I didn't play at this tournament and haven't yet seen the questions, so what I'm going to say is mostly high theory in reaction to previous comments.
2. If this tournament's distribution did in fact favor "17th-19th century kings, treaties, and military conflicts," I probably would have enjoyed playing it, being a 17th century military historian and all.

But. I don't think a tournament with that distribution is in fact ideal. Andy's original post states that there hasn't been a call for change in history questions. Maybe I haven't called for these things, but I've certainly been trying to actually implement them in my writing and editing over the last few years. (Not always with success. Historiography is always going to be difficult, so I'm not surprised that the Marc Bloch tossup I once wrote got edited into oblivion. There does seem to be substantial opposition to the notion of interdisciplinary geography.)

On the relationship between quizbowl and the academic curriculum: there will always be substantial overlap between what's taught in college classes and the quizbowl canon. This is why we use the adjective "academic" in ACF and NAQT, what separates academic quizbowl from trash. On the other hand, the overlap is never going to be the kind of perfect correspondence that would produce the much-hypothesized "for a quick ten points, drop your buzzer and compose a five-paragraph essay on the consequences of the reformation." Two specific points about the gap between quizbowl and academia:

1. One is the nature of "obscurity," which is always going to be relative to the population of people who play. Here we have something like a trickle-down theory of canonicity, with a sequence of knowledge production running from published research to the undergraduate classroom to eventual appearance as tossup fodder. Everyone who talks about the "too many wars/kings/battles" debate is really in agreement on this model, which isn't actually going to change: quizbowl will always lag behind what is cutting-edge within the academy. While I fully support incorporating more social and cultural history into quizbowl questions, it's very easy to imagine the situation replicating itself in short order. Coming in 2017: "Ugh, look at all this social history. Quizbowl is clearly still stuck in the 1960s!"

2. The other gap between quizbowl history and academic history is the nature of the question, something we've seen beaten to death over in all of those "lab science" topics. Because quizbowl demands specific answers, it probably will end up privileging some forms of history over others, and that's fine as long writers and editors recognize this and strive to acheive some measure of balance within their packets. (Again, here's where the hypothesized "distribution nuts" who draw sharp boundaries between the quizbowl categories overreact. Categories are functional distinctions intended to enforce community standards of what constitutes a balanced packet. I've always considered the usual rider of "don't write all military history/all tossups on French playwrights/all bonuses on physical chemistry" to be just as important as the hard numbers of tossups and bonuses in each category. They are, however, a lot harder for editors and writers to pick up on violations.) That was a bit of a tangent, but the fundamental point is that quizbowl history is likely to overemphasize the history of events because of the episodic nature of quizbowl itself, while underemphasizing the Annales school and other things that don't fit neatly into tossups and bonuses.

A final note on two books: I'm amused that commentary on this tournament has begun with "too much decades-old military history," since it was named after a popular work of military history from 1962.

I will now leave everyone to busily incorporate the work of George Rable into the quizbowl canon.
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Post by Awehrman » Wed Aug 08, 2007 10:34 am

On the contrary, I think an tossup on the Columbian Exchange would make a great question. It would certainly combine natural science with history and probably reward those who have read Alfred Crosby. I've heard it come up before, but not in a long time. It's another example of a question that would probably either be edited out entirely or changed so that it fit one distribution better than another.

You're right that social history does not yet have as large a set of canonical answers as political/ military history. Part of this is due to the fact that you mention, sometimes good social history does not have many asakable names. The other side is that because these things have not come up, they are kept obscure to non-experts. Cultural history, however, is much more askable. For instance a tossup on Grant's Tomb might combine, history, architecture, popular culture (why does everyone know that joke?), geography with a very accessible answer. Contrast this with a question on Grant's Wilderness campaign. Which has more cultural relavance? Which is easier for non-experts but likely to be answered more quickly by a modern historian?

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Post by Important Bird Area » Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:19 am

Cultural history, however, is much more askable.
Quite often this material shows up in quizbowl outside of the history distribution. A lot of the material in John Brewer's The Pleasures of the Imagination comes up in quizbowl; just not under the label of "history."
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Post by Birdofredum Sawin » Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:43 am

A few observations:

1. A summer tournament entirely written by Bruce Arthur is probably not best taken as an accurate reflection of the current "state of the game." He adores military history and 19th-century American politics; unsurprisingly, those topics were exceedingly well-represented.

2. I don't think anyone is opposed to the very idea of having more social and cultural history questions. That said, there are better ways of getting such questions into the game than writing tossups on 18th-century pamphlets which have never come up in the world of quizbowl before. If you wrote a tossup with "John Wesley" as the answer and described his lesser-known writings in the opening sentence, I for one would accept it for any tournament I was editing. (And, as an NAQT editor, I would consider such a question "religious history," which is indeed a subset of the NAQT history distribution.)

3. I also don't think that anyone has a problem with more questions on historians. The problem is that it can be hard for people outside the discipline to know which contemporary historians are "important" enough to ask about. (This is the same problem which arises when people who aren't English grad students contemplate writing questions on literary critics, or when people who aren't social scientists try writing questions on current anthropologists.)

4. Having said all that, I want to note that this kind of complaint seems like a logical consequence of the agitation among science players for lining up the science canon with "what we learn in our classes." I don't want to rehash that struggle once again. But I'm frankly surprised that more disgruntled players in other disciplines haven't been inspired to launch their own crusades by the success of science players in purging "non-classroom" science questions from the game. No doubt the art historians will eventually start decrying the practice of describing paintings in tossups, rather than using clues derived from their classes. Then the sociologists will complain about the endless questions on books nobody reads in their field anymore, and demand things relevant to their studies. Their arguments will be just as valid as those used by the people who succeeded in creating the current science canon.

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Post by kactigger » Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:46 am

Can you post a couple of examples of the sort of tossups you have in mind (not the wesley work:) I have a cultural history of the 19th century on my shelf, for instance, and it devotes attention to things like the evolution of hotel bathrooms and chamberpot design, which were very interesting to read about, but I'm not sure if that's the sort of tossups you have in mind, though its certainly cultural history.

example: In Mary Chesnut's diary in July 1862 she bemoans the lack of her favorite Limoges example of one of these after a slave girl broke it, being forced to use an inferior ersatz version from the new factory at Beaufort....

answer: _chamber pot_

is that a possible tossup of the type you have in mind?

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Post by grapesmoker » Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:47 am

Coming somewhat late to this discussion, I'll start off by saying that I also thought the Guns of August was inappropriately skewed in terms of distribution. It also suffered from some very confusing grammar which made it hard to figure out what was being asked for. Still, there were plenty of decent questions in there that would have been fine on their own, so I more or less had a good time riding Charles' coattails.

More importantly, I want to address the points Andy and Mike are bringing up. The argument starts out with the claim that scientists in quizbowl drove "fake" science questions out, replacing them with real science questions, and thus by analogy, "fake" history should be replaced with "real" history. I think that if you want to make this argument, you have to redefine "real" history to be whatever academic historians study, rather than what you take in undergraduate history classes. I've taken a number of them, and while they've all included analyses of social dynamics and the like, they also all involved a considerable amount of knowledge about the facts of what was going on in the world at that time. It's important to know about social trends, no doubt, but I don't think that as a consequence, the question of who was king of France at the time or what treaty ended which war is rendered irrelevant.

I'm worried about these arguments, because what you're asking for is not the equivalent of scientists asking that the science in quizbowl be a reflection of what science is covered at the undergraduate level, but rather the equivalent of me demanding that all physics tossups reflect the depth of my own graduate research. I would certainly do even better in the science categories if more questions were about cosmology to the exclusion of all that mundane stuff the undergrads study (tossups on the Gunn-Peterson trough coming to a tournament near you), but this would result in an unacceptable fragmentation of the category and render it inaccessible even to anyone who majored in physics without doing graduate research in it.

The complaint about the lack of social history in quizbowl doesn't resonate too well with me either, mostly because of the twin challenges of figuring out what social history is, exactly, and finding named things to write about within that category. I think Mike acknowledges the latter problem, but then makes some very weird points about category nuts painting clear-cut lines for what is history and what isn't. Among the group of editors with whom I am personally acquainted, I know of not a single person who does this. If you spend more than 30 seconds wondering whether something is history or not, you're probably spending too much time on it. Edward Gibbon? Clearly history (I would say British but whether British or Ancient is almost irrelevant as long as you don't have too many overlaps). John Wesley, Manicheism, and Oliver Cromwell would all make for fine history tossups, and I don't know what there is to debate here. People write those questions all the time. Whether or not these count as social history, the history of religion, or something else is a secondary point; the important thing is that I can find many pieces of information the uniquely identify John Wesley, and that's what you need for writing quizbowl questions. I wholeheartedly support the idea of integrating interesting pieces of social history into the questions themselves, by referencing prominent historians or by highlighting the importance of a particular event on the society that experienced it. This has actually been a trend in good quizbowl tournaments for some time; see the last couple ACF Nationals and other events like J.S. Mill, which all do this to some extent.

By all means, let's be creative in how we write questions and try to diversify the kinds of information we include. This can only benefit the game. But let's not forget that we are confined to a particular format which means that sometimes the over-representation of certain topics may just end up being its side-effect. We emphasize definitive answers and pyramidal questions, and I'm afraid that many of these topics, if not written carefully (I'm thinking of a Newton biography question here) would become either buzzer races at the end or, if the answer is not properly chosen, not be answered at all.
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Post by Chris Frankel » Wed Aug 08, 2007 1:39 pm

Not being an active circuit participant and not having seen Bruce's set, but to throw my hat in the mix very quickly, I invite everyone to recall the discussion over the history set I wrote for last year's CO. One of the main characteristics of that tournament was an increased presence of questions on social and religious history topics (both in terms of answers and clues) and even a set distribution area allotted for "intellectual history," i.e. covering both great thinkers (for example, a tossup on the Encyclopedia and a bonus on significant Enlightenment scholars) and the study of history. My motive behind that change was more for the practical purposes of keeping the answer set fresh and non-repetitive and leaving me more room to write on many topics without heavy overlap, as opposed to the ideological goal of imposing my classroom studies on the circuit (though that was also partially present). Anyway, the chief complaint of that tournament set was that it was significantly lacking questions on traditional topics like battles/rulers/treaties, and it's mildly amusing to see the reverse play out in a discussion on a subsequent history tournament.
"They sometimes get fooled by the direction a question is going to take, and that's intentional," said Reid. "The players on these teams are so good that 90 percent of the time they could interrupt the question and give the correct answer if the questions didn't take those kinds of turns. That wouldn't be fun to watch, so every now and then as I design these suckers, I say to myself, 'Watch this!' and wait 'til we're on camera. I got a lot of dirty looks this last tournament."

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Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Wed Aug 08, 2007 1:45 pm

OK, probably time for me to post in this thread.

First of all, I want to apologize for the grammatical errors, which I think were there for two reasons. First, I have become too dependent on the green swiggly line in Microsoft Word, which, as I've now learned, doesn't catch everything. Second, in the course of writing the tournament, I developed a fear that I would be criticized by Jerry for writing questions that encourage what he calls "lateral thinking", so in a couple of cases I actually tried to make it vague as to what category of thing was being asked for, and hoped that stockpiling specific tangible facts at the front of the question would make it clear for those in the know. Ironically, this resulted in Jerry criticizing me for the opposite.

I'll be clearer in my pronouns in the future, I promise.

As for the distribution, yes, I love 19th century American history, but I don't think it was overrepresented in this set. It was 1/0 of the distribution. There were more questions on Europe than on North America -- in fact, there were more questions on Asia than on North America.

As for military history, I think there are really two varieties of that. There are tossups on wars and battles that use strategic and tactical clues ("who outflanked who"), and there are tossups on rulers, empires, etc. that use the names of battles, generals, and treaties as clues. I wasn't expecting that the quizbowl community would conflate the two into a single category. I now know better.

On to the social history debate. I sympathize with those who say that quizbowl should have more social history, not because I enjoy it (I in fact despise it), but because I understand this is what virtually all history courses these days are. But I think it can be difficult to convert into questions, or even into clues.

A quizbowl tossup should be, in my view, a series of specific, uniquely identifying facts. The names of battles, laws, generals, etc. are all uniquely identifying, because, broadly speaking, a certain law was promulgated by only one ruler, a certain battle was fought specifically by a couple of generals, a single war was fought between two specific countries at one specific time. Therefore, these lend themselves to what I consider a good quizbowl question in a way that "the rights of peasants increased under his rule" does not.

I think that with many social history tossups, you'd still have to end up talking about specific laws and specific occurances (many of which will end up being of a violent nature). This will bring you back to clues of or relating to dead white men.

I will say, though, that if I ever write another history tournament again, I would be inclined to make it a history + RPM (and possibly geography) tournament. I think including those fields will lead to extra questions that people who like history will also tend to like, and should settle some of the problems for those who like social history.
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Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Wed Aug 08, 2007 3:34 pm

Also, I think another issue with social history is that it may be unclear as to what is being asked about.

Say you write a tossup about "Manifest Destiny", with clues like "so-and-so advocated this in such-and-such editorial". Well, it's likely that this person probably didn't just write an editorial on the subject of "manifest destiny", he probably specifically advocated one or two actions therein. So that might be negbait for answers like "the annexation of Texas" or "the seizure of the Oregon Territory", or even "54' 40" or Fight".

Likewise, a tossup on the triangular trade might incur negs of "the slave trade", etc.

Essentially, it seems to me that to write a good tossup on a social trend, rather than a specific event, you have to use confusion as a tool and in effect make the player think "ok, there are many things going on here, what's a term that historians use that includes all of these". And that may result in problems.
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Post by MikeWormdog » Wed Aug 08, 2007 3:37 pm

To clarify a few points made by my long, rambling, late-night post and to comment on others. I didn't go to Bruce's tournament, but I heard that the difficulty was appropriate. I feel the problems were only caused by his (and likely many others') understanding of the history distribution in quizbowl. Also, Andrew is right about counting me in the "disgruntled players of other disciplines" wondering why science is the way it is. I think this affects how we perceive history questions (and those in other subjects) in quizbowl.

I think the distribution problems are as much from the ground up as from the editors down. It seems that editors don't care that much about categorization, at least not as much as they appear to. However, to make an example: having strict distributions in the history requirement (and by having a separate place for religion) leads to fewer religious history questions. Unlike the bugaboo of social history, questions pertaining to religion often have very specific and knowable answers. History of science is the same way. (My point, to clarify, was that Newton, despite his magnitude as a historical figure could not be a tossup answer in the same way Cromwell could be.) It has importance, but because it's not really "science" and not really "history," it gets left out.

People write questions to fit the perceived formula, whether it actually exists or not. The more detailed the perceived formula is, the more compartmentalized the questions become. This has happened with science (which does have a rigorous formula as to what constitutes "science"), and I think it happens with other disciplines.

History questions don't really reflect what is learned in classes, graduate or undergrad. They only reflect a small subset of what is studied and are variations of this "purely historical" subset. Otto the Great and Manzikert get put in. St. Benedict (of Nursia) and Cluny get left out. The Battles of Sedan and Cowpens are in. Louis Pasteur and Edward Jenner are out. Nothing is wrong with the stuff that's in, but there's also nothing wrong with the stuff that doesn't come up much at all.

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Post by grapesmoker » Wed Aug 08, 2007 3:38 pm

Bruce wrote:First of all, I want to apologize for the grammatical errors, which I think were there for two reasons. First, I have become too dependent on the green swiggly line in Microsoft Word, which, as I've now learned, doesn't catch everything. Second, in the course of writing the tournament, I developed a fear that I would be criticized by Jerry for writing questions that encourage what he calls "lateral thinking", so in a couple of cases I actually tried to make it vague as to what category of thing was being asked for, and hoped that stockpiling specific tangible facts at the front of the question would make it clear for those in the know. Ironically, this resulted in Jerry criticizing me for the opposite.

I'll be clearer in my pronouns in the future, I promise.
Sorry if my points on that were confusing. When I say that "lateral thinking" is bad, I'm referring to tossups like that False Dimitriys tossup that become transparent by virtue of giving away substantive information early on. Saying things like "this group" or "this country" isn't really giving anyone anything of substance, it just helps clarify what is being asked for, so that people don't give a person when a group or a rank is being asked for.
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Post by Birdofredum Sawin » Wed Aug 08, 2007 3:45 pm

Bruce wrote:
As for the distribution, yes, I love 19th century American history, but I don't think it was overrepresented in this set. It was 1/0 of the distribution. There were more questions on Europe than on North America -- in fact, there were more questions on Asia than on North America.

As for military history, I think there are really two varieties of that. There are tossups on wars and battles that use strategic and tactical clues ("who outflanked who"), and there are tossups on rulers, empires, etc. that use the names of battles, generals, and treaties as clues. I wasn't expecting that the quizbowl community would conflate the two into a single category. I now know better.
No offense to Bruce, but this doesn't seem at all true of the history set. I've just opened Round 7 at random. Of the 15 tossups, 6 are on battles (Copenhagen, Fallen Timbers, Hydaspes River are tossups 1-3; later tossups include Solferino, Coral Sea, and Zama). In addition, there are two tossups (on the Ming Dynasty and Saladin) where most, if not all, of the clues are military. By any standard, having 40% of the tossups be on specific battles seems excessive. Also, 5 of the 15 tossups in this round are on American history (Fallen Timbers, South Carolina, Battle of Coral Sea, Gaspee incident, Planned Parenthood v. Casey).

I actually enjoyed playing this set quite a bit, but it definitely skewed heavily toward Bruce's pet subjects.

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Post by grapesmoker » Wed Aug 08, 2007 3:45 pm

MikeWormdog wrote:History questions don't really reflect what is learned in classes, graduate or undergrad.
That's just not true. I don't understand, did your undergraduate classes never include any factual information at all? There is no way to do the higher order analysis taught in graduate courses unless you know the facts about whatever it is that your'e studying. Given that quizbowl is not about doing that analysis and is instead about facts, you're going to get questions on things that are uniquely identifiable and also knowable.
Otto the Great and Manzikert get put in. St. Benedict (of Nursia) and Cluny get left out. The Battles of Sedan and Cowpens are in. Louis Pasteur and Edward Jenner are out. Nothing is wrong with the stuff that's in, but there's also nothing wrong with the stuff that doesn't come up much at all.
So, be the change you want to see in packets. All of these sound like perfectly cromulent answers and if any of them came to me as an editor, I'd keep them. I don't have any ideological bent that causes me to edit out tossups on Louis Pasteur in favor of tossups on Cowpens. I do however, object to the way that tossup on Louis Pasteur are all too frequently written: they tend to be little life summaries with no distinguishing information that isn't accessible to a non-Louis Pasteur scholar. So as long as people are writing pyramidal tossups on whatever, I don't have a problem with that.
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Post by MikeWormdog » Wed Aug 08, 2007 3:49 pm

grapesmoker wrote:
MikeWormdog wrote:History questions don't really reflect what is learned in classes, graduate or undergrad.
That's just not true. I don't understand, did your undergraduate classes never include any factual information at all? There is no way to do the higher order analysis taught in graduate courses unless you know the facts about whatever it is that your'e studying. Given that quizbowl is not about doing that analysis and is instead about facts, you're going to get questions on things that are uniquely identifiable and also knowable.
I meant that they only reflect a small portion of factual stuff learned. Sorry.

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Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Wed Aug 08, 2007 3:56 pm

MikeWormdog wrote:
grapesmoker wrote:
MikeWormdog wrote:History questions don't really reflect what is learned in classes, graduate or undergrad.
That's just not true. I don't understand, did your undergraduate classes never include any factual information at all? There is no way to do the higher order analysis taught in graduate courses unless you know the facts about whatever it is that your'e studying. Given that quizbowl is not about doing that analysis and is instead about facts, you're going to get questions on things that are uniquely identifiable and also knowable.
I meant that they only reflect a small portion of factual stuff learned. Sorry.
Eh, you're being generous. I've taken a class on "19th century American history" that didn't mention the words "Andrew Jackson" even once.
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Post by Scipio » Wed Aug 08, 2007 4:40 pm

By the way, it should be pointed out that non every historian in quizbowl thinks that "military history questions = bad; social history questions = good". I was, sadly, not at Arthur's tournament, but as an (ancient) military historian I would, I suspect, have had a ball at this event.

Moreover, I teach military elements in all of my classes; not just "these are the social factors which caused Cannae" but also "here's who got his ass kicked at Cannae, here's what his tactics were, and here's why the asskicking took place".

Obviously I would be irresponsible if I didn't also teach social and political history in my classes, but there is nothing wrong with describing a battle in great detail, either (provided you can do it right; including a clue on Marye's Heights for the battle of Chancellorsville, while not incorrect, seems to be designed to be neg bait). Therefore, I don't think anything is wrong with including historigraphy, material culture, history of science (which I will be teaching in the Fall), and political history, but in addition to rather than instead of military history.

Now, back to revising my chapter on the military events of 90 BCE in Italy ...
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Post by setht » Wed Aug 08, 2007 5:37 pm

I'm not sure Andy's call for better history questions is exactly the same as the move to science questions that focus on science as opposed to anecdotes or science history or biography or whatever. Do people feel that history questions currently over-emphasize trivial anecdotes or biographical details that have little relation to the importance of the event/person/pamphlet/whatever being asked? I thought we were all pretty much agreed that anecdotal/biographical trivia has no place in almost any question--science, history or otherwise.

It sounds like there's no clear idea of "this is the history that comes up in undergraduate classes." To a large extent, there is a clear idea of what constitutes the undergraduate science curriculum.

Some things that seem possibly analogous: in a science tossup on "gravity," a topic anyone can answer with a decent giveaway, I can give graduate-level clues, then undergraduate-level clues, then "informed public"-level clues, and be reasonably certain that I've written something close to a properly pyramidal tossup. Perhaps a John Wesley tossup could start with clues from graduate-level courses that discuss the impact of his pamphlets or from studies by current historians before moving into better-known stuff, then wind up with Methodism. I don't think it would be a good idea to write the history tossup on a particular Wesley pamphlet, just as it wouldn't be a good to write the science tossup on the Nordtvedt effect--neither would play well.

I also don't think it really matters whether the John Wesley question winds up in the history distribution or the religion distribution. I guess I'd classify it based on the relative amounts of historical and religious clue content, but I have no moral objections to a tossup with some of both. The Chicago Open set has a packet with a tossup on Menno Simons; it was submitted under religion, and I'd say it has more religion clues than history clues, but I don't particularly care whether the packet in question is counted as having 4 history tossups and one religion tossup, or 5 history tossups.

Regarding science history, I'd say it's fair game for history questions that focus on the historical aspects of the question topic. I don't know much about the historical relevance of various science history topics, but hopefully any history editors out there will know more.

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Post by No Rules Westbrook » Wed Aug 08, 2007 6:12 pm

So, we've had a whole bunch of major editors come on here now and say they don't really care whether some tossup straddles the line between history/religion or history/science, or whatever. I'm another one who doesn't - if you submit a good pyramidal question on John Wesley, I'm not going to worry myself with exactly what it qualifies as. Like Seth said, if the packet ends up having 5 history-ish questions instead of 4, fine - at the end, I just look over the totality of the packet to make sure it's not obviously unfair in distribution.

In my experience, I haven't really noticed that those in-between tossups get written less often. But, if you think they do, like Jerry says - by all means write the types of tossups you'd like to see. If I'm editing, the bottom line is that I'll stick them in if I think they're good questions - that is, filled with unique substantive definite clues that are interesting and potentially helpful, not vague unbuzzable clues, and not likely to devolve into a lateral thinking contest or mass confusion or a pointless buzzer race, etc. If your questions qualify on those accounts, then we're all in agreement.

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Post by DumbJaques » Wed Aug 08, 2007 7:27 pm

On the contrary, I think an tossup on the Columbian Exchange would make a great question. It would certainly combine natural science with history and probably reward those who have read Alfred Crosby. I've heard it come up before, but not in a long time. It's another example of a question that would probably either be edited out entirely or changed so that it fit one distribution better than another.
Haha, what? Are you really putting forth that an editor would cut a tossup on the Columbian Exchange because it slightly straddles one or two distributions? This is what I don't understand about your argument. . . you act as if the only thing keeping tossups on Wesley's pamphlet or the other ridiculous "social" history questions is some fictional person's "rigid" view of distribution. Editors would reject Columbian Exchange tossups because it's nuts to ask about that. As for the other topics you brought up, I feel I must reiterate: Where is this lack of Manichaeism or the history of the Tulip tossups? I recall a tossup on tulip history from this year's div II ICT finals. Manichaeism has come up countless times. All the things you seem to be complaining about are either askable (in terms of difficulty) and do come up, or are ridiculously hard for mainstream tossups and don't come up for that reason, not whatever distribution problem you're claiming. Really, are there any editors here who meet this description you're putting forward?
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Post by Awehrman » Wed Aug 08, 2007 8:06 pm

Haha, what? Are you really putting forth that an editor would cut a tossup on the Columbian Exchange because it slightly straddles one or two distributions? This is what I don't understand about your argument. . . you act as if the only thing keeping tossups on Wesley's pamphlet or the other ridiculous "social" history questions is some fictional person's "rigid" view of distribution. Editors would reject Columbian Exchange tossups because it's nuts to ask about that. As for the other topics you brought up, I feel I must reiterate: Where is this lack of Manichaeism or the history of the Tulip tossups? I recall a tossup on tulip history from this year's div II ICT finals. Manichaeism has come up countless times. All the things you seem to be complaining about are either askable (in terms of difficulty) and do come up, or are ridiculously hard for mainstream tossups and don't come up for that reason, not whatever distribution problem you're claiming. Really, are there any editors here who meet this description you're putting forward?

Wow, I felt like the other posts were making some pretty good progress until this learned diatribe. Perhaps I have an exaggerated sense of what editors will include. I still think that average question writers will write what they think editors want to read, and rigid question guidelines do inhibit interdisciplinarity. I think now we know there is a bit more wiggle room than meets the eye, and more creative history questions or historically underasked topics will spring in more major tournaments.

It seems that you are being a more than a little obtuse here. I'm not sure I ever explicitly advocated more social history in particular. My arguments stem from a much more cultural background. There are many types of history, not just political and social. Look it up. I'm sure most of the history professors at Maryland (especially the younger ones) are cultural historians (I'm not saying that that's why there should be more questions on it, but why you should know what current trends in history are). You are also hung up on my quick examples. I don't care about tulips or Manichaeism specifically. I'm glad they have come up before. I was harangued for suggesting a question that had not come up before. I'm merely suggested these as examples to people who may be unfamiliar with the kinds of questions I'm arguing for. Bruce's tournament was an exaggeration of the problem, but military history and 17th-19th century political history do really (really) dominate history questions. I'm suggesting some things that might be done to change this.

On the subject of particulars, why the hell shouldn't there be a tossup on the Columbian Exchange? I'm pretty sure I have heard questions on it before. It's quite possibly the most important event in the history of the Earth. It affected every continent and every living thing. And as a nice bonus it appears as a glossary term in even the most basic history and earth science books.

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Post by DumbJaques » Wed Aug 08, 2007 8:20 pm

I'm not really sure why, given your posts in this thread, you think I'm making "diatribes." I'm merely pointing out that I'm now asking you for a third time what kind of tossups you feel get excluded because they straddle disciplines or because people like wars. I didn't intend for my response to sound caustic, just a little frustrated that you aren't addressing my quesitons. To that end, I still don't see this category that isn't asked purely because it's social history/historiography in nature or because of distribution guidelines. So far, it seems like you've identified 1) things that don't come up and happen to be interdisciplinary or "social history," etc., but are prohibitively hard for tossups at most tournaments and hence would be rejected on that grounds before any other, and 2) things that straddle disciplines and are "social history," etc. and frequently do get asked about. I just don't see what the problem is here. Also, the faculty at Maryland or how to pronounce Buchanan's name or the cultural relevance of something to "new history" or anything like that isn't a 1 to 1 correlation to what quizbowl is or should be. No matter how important the Columbian exchange is, it doesn't make for a good tossup and you can ask numerous good tossups that incorporate clues requiring knowledge of it.
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Post by grapesmoker » Wed Aug 08, 2007 9:20 pm

Awehrman wrote:military history and 17th-19th century political history do really (really) dominate history questions.
I'd really like to see some evidence that this is really the case. There are some categories of history (especially American history) that tend to skew that way, but my experience is that it's not really true.
On the subject of particulars, why the hell shouldn't there be a tossup on the Columbian Exchange? I'm pretty sure I have heard questions on it before. It's quite possibly the most important event in the history of the Earth. It affected every continent and every living thing. And as a nice bonus it appears as a glossary term in even the most basic history and earth science books.
If you can write a pyramidal tossup on it, that's awesome. However, I think this would make a great bonus part in a bonus about Crosby and some third easier part. Just because something ought to come up more often doesn't mean that it should go straight to a tossup at a mid-level invitational (c.f. the thread on expanding the canon).
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Post by Ray » Thu Aug 09, 2007 10:51 am

never change, bruce

never change

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Post by Important Bird Area » Thu Aug 09, 2007 1:44 pm

As Jerry mentions, starting with "what professional historians write about" is not the best way to compare the state of quizbowl history with what's taught in history departments. (Otherwise, I hope everyone is ready for a bonus on New Model Army dragoon captains to follow Jerry's tossup on the Gunn-Peterson trough.)

Instead, let's look at some data on what historians do when they are faced with the same constraints as the writers of quizbowl questions: ie, discrete answers and short time limits. A common exam format for history undergraduates, from my experience on the receiving end at Princeton and the dispensing end at Berkeley, provides a list of terms and asks the examinees to write short paragraphs explaining the significance of said terms. In short, it is the inverse operation of quizbowl: given a discrete answer, explain its context.

There follow two lists of terms.

-The first list is the collected tossup answers in European history from ACF Fall 2004 and 2005. (These are the two most recent ACF Fall tournaments available on the archive. I've included a few questions that were categorized as literature or philosophy in the original sets.)

-The second list is the group of terms dispensed as a study guide to the undergraduates of History 5, European History from the Renaissance to the Present, at Berkeley for the spring semester of 2005. (Like ACF Fall, this course is aimed primarily at freshmen and sophomores. I'm not giving away any secrets to Berkeley's frat houses, either, since the same list can be extracted with slightly more effort here.)

1. (Quizbowl answers)
Donation of Constantine
Prince Henry the Navigator
Isabella of Castile
Christopher Columbus
El Dorado
the Hanseatic League
doge of Venice
Leonardo da Vinci
Süleyman the Magnificent
Martin Luther
Peace of Augsburg
Philip II
conversion to Catholicism
Edict of Nantes
Elizabeth I
Court of the Star Chamber
Gunpowder Plot
Cardinal Mazarin
Peace of Westphalia
Leviathan
Thomas Hobbes
Baruch Spinoza
the House of Orange-Nassau
the House of Bourbon
the House of Hapsburg
Culloden Moor
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
David Hume
division of labor
the Wealth of Nations
the Social Contract
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Candide
Treaty of Paris (1763)
Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier
Battle of The Nile
Chartists
Irish Potato Famine
Benjamin Disraeli
Napoleon III
Otto von Bismarck
Friedrich Nietzsche
Max Weber
Russo-Japanese War
Archduke Franz Ferdinand
Dawes Plan
Beer Hall Putsch
Francisco Franco
George Orwell
Erwin Rommel
Vichy France
Dresden
The Second Sex
Prague Spring
John Major

2. (the History 5 study guide)
Pope Boniface VIII
Black Death
Pico della Mirandola
Niccolò Machiavelli
Erasmus
Humanism
Prester John
Prince Henry the Navigator
Vasco de Gama
Christopher Columbus
Hernan Cortes
Francisco Pizarro
Bartolomé de Las Casas
Emperor Charles V
the House of Hapsburg
Martin Luther
Frederick the Wise
Ninety-Five Theses
Sola scriptura
Sola fide
John Tetzel
Pope Alexander VI
Pope Julius II
Pope Leo X
Diet of Worms
Henry VIII
Elizabeth I
Peasants’ War of 1525
Thomas Müntzer
Ulrich Zwingli
Calvinism
Council of Trent
Jesuits
Ignatius Loyola
Peace of Augsburg
Malleus Malleficarum
Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre
Huguenots
Edict of Nantes
Cardinal Richelieu
Spanish Armada
Thirty Years’ War
Peace of Westphalia
Siege of Magdeburg
Ferdinand II
Gustavus Adolphus
Nicholas Copernicus
Heliocentrism
Galileo Galilei
Francis Bacon
René Descartes
Isaac Newton
Royal Society
Charles I
Levellers
Oliver Cromwell
Charles II
Leviathan
Glorious Revolution
John Locke
Louis XIV
The Fronde
Versailles
Absolutism
Constitutionalism
Frederick the Great
Maria Theresa
Peter the Great
Deism
Philosophes
Enlightenment
Social contract
General Will
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Voltaire
Sapere Aude
Mercantilism
Jean-Baptiste Colbert
British East India Company
Bank of England
Seven Years’ War
Treaty of Paris (1763)
Bourgeoisie
Adam Smith
Invisible hand
Laissez-faire
“Blue Waterâ€
Jeff Hoppes
President, Northern California Quiz Bowl Alliance
former HSQB Chief Admin (2012-13)
VP for Communication and history subject editor, NAQT
Editor emeritus, ACF

"I wish to make some kind of joke about Jeff's love of birds, but I always fear he'll turn them on me Hitchcock-style." -Fred

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