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The village of Canton was incorporated in 1845; St. Lawrence University opened in 1856. What, in 2018, do we know about the history before and since these developments? What sources do historians from the local community as well as academics use to write local histories in the North Country?

In this seminar, we will explore local history as well as write it. We will visit sites of local scholarship such as the St. Lawrence Country Historical Society, the Canton Village Archives, and Traditional Arts of Upstate New York (TAUNY), and SLU's Special Collections. While we will employ traditional methods of reading paper archives and conducting oral history interviews, we will also learn about digital methods to collect and share local histories such as the use of data visualization, scanning documents and photographs, and the creation of digital timelines and story maps.

Students will identify a particular subject about which to develop a research project that will result in a digital narrative. Possible topics include but are not limited to intentional agricultural communities such as Birdsfoot Farm, Women Together, a feminist collective from the late 1970s, Henry Rushton, local boat builder and canoe-design innovator, the origins of SLU's First-Year program. The possibilities are vast.

Throughout the semester we will consider the ways that a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary areas of study (from the arts, humanities, natural and social sciences) that contribute to learning about and engaging in one's local community.

Last updated
December 04, 2018