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Sophomore Seminar: Exploring Middletown's History


HIST 171
Spring 2013
Section: 01  
Certificates: Civic Engagement
Course Cluster: Service-Learning, Urban Studies

In most courses students read books by eminent authors and then offer their own opinions. This course is different. In this seminar students will learn about the history of Middletown and then select one facet of that history to explore in depth. Participants will devote most of the semester to research, write an essay based on their own digging, and present their findings to others outside the seminar. In the process they will develop skills at research, writing, and oral presentation that could serve them well in future research essays, senior theses, and other projects.

Although members of the Wesleyan community may be unaware of it, many of the significant themes in America's past can be seen during the course of Middletown's 360-year-long history--among them encounters between the colonists and indigenous peoples, the emergence and elaboration of the slave trade, the imprisonment of Americans loyal to King George, the social and cultural transformations wrought by industrialization and immigration, trade with China, shifting relations among ethnic and religious group, labor history, business history, church history, the impact of wars on the home front, the Civil Rights Movement, the effects of urban renewal and urban sprawl, and the history of public and private schools and colleges.

Despite its history, and the documentary materials readily available at Olin and other libraries and archives, Middletown has attracted relatively little attention from historians. Consequently, students in this seminar can make a genuine contribution to deepening knowledge of this area in which they spend their college years.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS HIST
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (HIST)
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on APR-23-2014
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