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Skidmore College
Honors Forum

Past Great Conversation Proposal Example


Project Title: Engaging with Scholarship: "The Prender of Pitcairn Island"

Faculty Sponsor: Tillman Nechtman

Student 1 First Name: Isabel

Student 1 Last Name: Long

Student 1

Student 1 Class Year: '21

Student 1 Major: History

Student 2 First Name: Isabel

Student 2 Last Name: Tobin

Student 2

Student 2 Class Year: '21

Student 2 Major: Undelcared

Student 3 First Name: Casey

Student 3 Last Name: Moser

Student 3

Student 3 Class Year: '21

Student 3 Major: History

Overview: In five (or more) meetings over the course of the spring 2019 semester, we, along with other interested students, will read and discuss in depth Professor Nechtman's latest book "The Pretender of Pitcairn Island." The three of us had have class(es) with Professor Nechtman, and his overview of his book intrigued us. We have the unique opportunity to engage with scholarship that we heard about before publication by a professor from whom we have taken classes on related subjects.

Additionally, in talking to our peers, we have found there is a general interest among other students who have taken Nechtman's classes to engage with the book beyond reading it on their own.

Timeline: This project will take place in the spring 2019 semester on campus. The group will meet five or more times, as needed for discussion. Each member will be expected to read the book and bring questions, opinions, and relevant scholarly connections to each meeting. Each meeting will be approximately an hour and a half, and we suspect the book itself will take many hours to read thoroughly. Additionally, we hope to have a group discussion with the author, Professor Nechtman, as a conclusion to our extended discussion.

Goals: We hope to exchange with scholarly work on a deeper level than limited class time allows. The ability to converse with the author of the scholarship you are reading is rare, and we want to take advantage of the opportunity "The Pretender of Pitcairn Island" presents.

This will benefit the community creating an opportunity for students to discuss scholarship outside of class that is relevant to their Skidmore experience.

Academic Quality: We intend to approach this as several of us have learned to approach discussion of scholarly writing in Intro to the History Major through background research of the author, and thoughtful thought provoking questions derived from our interaction with the text. Engaging in depth with with type of source is not something there is often time to do in classes. We hope that this experience will change how we engage with scholarly works in general, giving us a better understanding of how experts engage with work in their field.
This project furthers "life of the mind" by facilitating an opportunity for intellectual conversation with other students who are interested in expanding on what they learned in the classroom as well as the scholar behind the work.

Additional Comments: We are all terribly excited to engage in depth with Professor Nechtman's book, and have several others outside of Honors Forum interested as well. From the moment the idea for this project formed, we could not imagine a more perfect way to engage in the "life of the mind." It is thrilling to think of engaging with the scholarship of some we know and can actually talk to about the work.