Really Cold Cases: Investigating America’s Most Notorious Unsolved Crimes, 1850-1950 (HIS2340.01)

Eileen Scully

Using films, documentaries, podcasts, historical newspapers, and mixed reality (VR/AR) resources, we will craft narratives of individuals caught up in America’s most notorious unsolved cases, from the mid-nineteenth century to about 1950. For our historically grounded storytelling, we will explore “portraiture,” a unique methodology that “seeks to unveil the universal truths and resonant stories that lie in the specifics and complexity of everyday life.” Focusing on individuals and specific cases will illuminate larger contexts, including changing understandings of “criminality,” modern policing, incarceration policies, forensic investigation, and America’s continuing fascination with “true crime.” Course work includes short weekly assignments, collaborative presentations, and culmination projects including podcasts.

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 cases
3. Successfully collaborate with others on a range of activities
4. Craft plausible, engaging, fact-driven narratives
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: 18
Course Frequency: Once a year

Categories: All courses , History , Remotely Accessible
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