Revising History of Southern Appalachia Course
Identify, contact, and add community partners (individuals and organizations) who can contribute to the next offering of this upper-level seminar in history and environmental studies.
In addition to the usual sources of information available to an upper-level seminar (books, films, maps, primary sources, and etc.), this course would benefit from offering students access to people and places in southern Appalachia who are examples of larger trends, as well as local exceptions to regional patterns. In the first offering of the class, we visited the Grundy County Heritage Center and the Grundy Lakes area. This grant will make it possible for me to identify, contact, and interview other local informants (both individuals and organizations) for the course’s next offering. By expanding the course in this way, I expect the students will have a richer and more memorable experience interacting with and interpreting this history. I hope these interactions will also spur the students to action and understandings of the area that go beyond the limitations of the course.
Project Alignment with Southern Appalachian Studies
Knowledge of the history of southern Appalachia is fundamental for the Collaborative’s efforts. This course aims to deliver that basic insight, and to do so in ways that offer local-place connections to students, as well as participation in the Collaborative effort to local informants.
The basic goal is to add to the number and variety of community partners who can inform the course’s efforts. In addition to having more contributors, we need to make sure that these informants represent an array of aspects of local life and history. For example, even though coal mining is a key aspect of the region’s history, not every informant should be chosen to speak only to that experience. Nor should they all come from the same geographical area or friend/colleague network. If I can generate a group of community partners who speak to a variety of issues, and do so from different backgrounds and viewpoints, this effort will be a success. To gauge impact on student learning, I will add a qualitative question regarding the contributions of community partners to the course evaluation. From my experience working with local history sources in the Many Faces of Sewanee course, I expect that students, individual informants, and the b roader community will all leave the experience feeling they have contributed to a connective educational enterprise. At this point, I am hoping to integrate 8-10 community partners into the course.