Lost and Found in the Nineteenth Century (HIS2142.01)

Eileen Scully
Revolutions in transportation across the nineteenth century wrapped a “girdle of steam around the world,” giving people a sense of wider horizons in a shrinking universe. Indeed, Frederick Douglass’ newspaper spoke in the 1850s of “walls…giving way before the physical, mental and moral pressure of a world, whose business by land and water, is shot over its surface by steam, and whose daily history, progress, and improvements, in everything, are told almost everywhere, and at the same time, by lightning.” In this mix, people came to see “loco-motion” as their birthright, meaning “the power to change [one’s] situation, to move one’s person to whatever place one’s inclination might direct.” This course is an opportunity to explore this long-ago yet very familiar world on the move, focusing on people who “disappeared,” such as runaway slaves, absconding debtors, eloping spouses, disoriented immigrants, abducted children, and so on. Using online materials, including historical newspapers, censuses, vital records, digitized maps, and virtual reality (VR) tools,  we will compile and develop fact-driven narratives of individuals who in their own time were lost, exiled, or on the run. Expectations for students include short weekly challenges and culminating projects.

Learning Outcomes:
Students will fully engage Bennington's core capacities (Inquire, Research, Create, Engage, and Communicate), as we work to:
1. Generate tentative observations based upon identified facts and intuitive insights
2. Identify and integrate key elements within and across particular historical moments
3. Successfully collaborate with others on a range of activities
4. Craft plausible, engaging, fact-driven narratives about individuals in the past
5. Transform self-constructed, fact-driven narratives into media-based productions (such as podcasts)

Delivery Method: Remotely accessible
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 4
M/Th 3:40PM - 5:30PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 22
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: All courses , History , Remotely Accessible
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