Workplace Learning: Miscreants & Rascals (HIST*3480) | College of Arts

Workplace Learning: Miscreants & Rascals (HIST*3480)

Code and section: HIST*3480*03

Term: Summer 2021

Instructor: Kris Inwood


Workplace Learning: Miscreants & Rascals
Instructor & Workplace Supervisor: Dr Kris Inwood

Course Synopsis:

This independent study course provides direct experience in the creation and analysis of data describing Canadians imprisoned during the 19th and early 20th. The lives of these people are documented in the admission registers for a select prison. This year we are working on the records of the Fort Saskatchewan Provincial Gaol in Edmonton during the 1930s and 1940s.

Your experiential learning opportunity will involve transcribing the prison registers from images of the pages in order to make rare but highly useful documents more accessible for researchers now and in the future. The transcription element of the course will cover roughly 500 admissions to prison.

In connecting this work experience to your academic discipline you will write two short critical reflections and a research paper analyzing what can be learned about the patterns of offences and offenders using the prison register as a primary source.

Course Format:

You will be conducting independent work and attending class meetings. The course and your workplace are all online. Four scheduled class meetings (their day and time to be determined during the first week of class) will take place remotely in a synchronous environment.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Critical Understanding of 19th & 20th-century criminal justice systems and prisons.
  2. Ability to understand 19th & 20th-century handwriting & vocabulary.
  3. Knowledge of transcription practices.
  4. Knowledge of research practices.
  5. Ability to critically reflect upon your own work.
  6. Ability to critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of criminal justice records as sources

Methods of Evaluation:

Transcriptions 40%
Weekly Critical Reflections 20%
Final Essay 40%
Texts and/or Resources Required: No Required Textbook

HIST*3480 Timeline

Week 1: Receive instructions for transcription, digital images of the source and an excel template with sample entries. You investigate the challenges of transcribing including conventions that have been designed to minimize inconsistency between transcribers.
Week 2: discussion to review the instructions, discuss challenges of transcription and learn about the questions and quantitative methods with which to mine the prison records for meaning.
Week 3: Your first set of transcriptions is due. No grade will be assigned to your work at this point. This is an opportunity for Dr. Inwood to see how you are doing and address any issues early in the semester.
Week 4: The first Critical Reflection is due. In it you will discuss challenges encountered in the transcription, anything interesting or surprising that you encountered and verbally report on the topic you will do for your essay.
Week 5: The remaining transcriptions are due.
Week 6: The second Critical Reflection is due. In it you discuss challenges, the rate or speed at which you work, interesting or unexpected aspects of the prison register and the prisoners, and assessments of quality and productivity. Discussion of the final essay/document analysis.
Week 12: Essay is due.