Rural History (HIST*6550) | College of Arts

Rural History (HIST*6550)

Code and section: HIST*6550*01

Term: Winter 2018

Instructor: Catharine Wilson


Course Synopsis:

The countryside was not the city in overalls; it had its own complex trajectory intersecting with the rest of society in interesting and surprising ways.  This seminar introduces you to the social, cultural and economic themes of rural history.  You will explore the environment, gender, cultural traditions, material artifacts, consumption and production – and how these relate to community and identity.  You’ll write a research paper, create your own radio show, and participate in seminars.  As such you’ll be learning to communicate your findings in a variety of formats and engage the community.

This term, your research paper and radio show are based on old diaries associated with the Rural Diary Archive website, some of which were written 150 years ago. The power of these sources is their immediacy and they provide an intimate encounter with daily life. You will learn the skills and value of micro-historical analysis and test previous interpretations.  The essay exercise is designed to heighten your detective and analytical skills and increase your critical assessment of diaries as primary sources.  You will reveal the meanings found within these texts and creatively relate diarists’ lives to the themes found in the seminar readings.  In creating a radio show you will imaginatively share aspects of your research paper with the public. Staff members at our campus radio station, CFRU, will teach you the skills of script-writing and using a sound board.  The best shows will be aired on CFRU.
In weekly seminars you will engage in the field’s finest literature and hone your skills of critical analysis, intellectual independence, integrative communication and leadership.  You will take your reading skills to new levels as you probe how authors develop their thesis and make their case studies relevant to larger historical narratives. These are valuable skills that you can apply to your essay assignment, radio show, and take with you into your MRP or MA.

Methods of Evaluation and Weights:

Seminar participation     40%
Research Essay        30%
Radio Show Sample     5%
Radio Show        25%

Texts and/or Resources Required:

There are no required texts.  Seminars are based on readings that come from a variety of sources which are available in the library.

*Please note:  This is a preliminary web course description only.  The department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description.  The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.