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EXPLORING PLACE: HISTORY (HIS-244774)

Center for Distance Learning Home > Distance Learning Catalog > Historical Studies >

Course Description:


This is an advanced-level research course in which students, with guidance from the instructor, propose and carry out their own semester-long, self-directed, in-depth research agendas.

Thinking of place as a community in a geographical location or physical environment, this interdisciplinary course seeks to offer an opportunity for a place-based approach to history. Explore the local history of the place you live (or some other place of interest), whether you define that place as a neighborhood, a whole village or town or city, a geographical region, or a watershed. Research, for example, a particular topic or period of local history by engaging with historical scholarship, consulting local archives and historical societies and/or interviewing community members who have witnessed local history.

Collaborate with other students interested in history, the arts and culture to learn concepts for thinking about place as a process, as a coming together of nature and culture, of the local and global and of issues ranging from gender, class, ethnicity and the environment to modernization, conservation, and preservation. Design and share with peers the results of your own projects about local history and the place you are interested in. "Visit" one another's place online as part of a cross-place comparison. Some of the reading materials for this course have been predetermined and are available at the bookstore. However, each student, in consultation with the instructor, will be responsible at the outset of the course for proposing a set of individualized, place-specific research topics that will comprise the bulk of their work throughout the term. (For example, a project might require acquiring a scholarly book and a popular book about your place in order to analyze and compare how they represent its landscape.) Each student will be responsible for acquiring (borrowing or purchasing) in a timely fashion the books and materials necessary for these projects. Such materials are not available at the bookstore.

Students and mentors should note that the highly-individualized approach of this course can enable students to develop projects that support a particular personal interest or degree program need that is not directly motivated by an interest in history per se. For example, a student who is interested in ethnicity could choose to develop his or her projects in this course entirely around the immigration history of a particular ethnic group in his or her local community. Or, a student in Business, Management, and Economics could focus for the entire term on the historical impact of a local business or industry on the community, or vice versa (e.g., a resident of Glens Falls, NY might look at the history of the paper mill industry).

Important Note: this course overlaps with Exploring Place: Humanities and Exploring Place: Arts. No more than one of these three should be included in a degree program.


This online course is offered through the Center for Distance Learning. You can take this as an individual course or as part of an online degree program, with term starts in March, May, September, November and January. View current term offerings and all online courses. Click here to register for online courses.

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Other Areas: The Arts | Business, Management & Economics | Community & Human Services | Communications, Humanities & Cultural Studies | Educational Studies | Historical Studies | Human Development | Labor Studies | Nursing | Science, Math & Technology | Social Science
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Liberal Study
Upper Level
Credits: 4
Term(s) Offered (Subject to Change) : Spring 1. Fall 1.

For Books and Materials List Go to the Online Bookstore