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Skidmore College
Honors Forum

American Studies


New England Begins

Prof. Mary Lynn

"New England Begins" is primarily concerned with the ideas of Puritanism and their influence on the people who settled New England in the seventeenth century. The course begins with a consideration of the rise of Puritanism, then moves to a study of the reasons why some 10,000 English Puritans migrated to Massachusetts Bay in the 1630s, and continues with an examination of the society they founded. Most of the rest of the course is taken up with an intensive study of the evolution of Puritan society and culture in the conditions of the New World, culminating with a month-long study of the Salem witch trials and their enduring impact on American society and culture. As an Honors course, "New England Begins" will require students to make extensive use of primary sources, focusing on texts that address such topics as religious toleration, Puritan society and the Salem witch prosecutions. Students will write several short papers and a research paper, and will contribute to a group oral presentation and weekly e-mail discussions.



Disorderly Women

Prof. Rebecca Krefting

Disorderly women focuses on some of the women who have been characterized by the larger society as unruly, disruptive, radical, militant, unfeminine-just generally “disorderly.”  The course examines women considered disorderly in the nineteenth and twentieth-century United States. We will focus, then, on “disorderly women” as actors within and upon their society and on the response of that larger society to their actions. Many of the women we will learn about this semester have made contributions to social justice efforts, community cultural development, and fighting for equality. In fact, it is for these efforts that they have been deemed “disorderly.” Following their example, this course will include a service-learning component fostering civic engagement.  Students will develop projects well-suited to the selected organization, learn the basics of grant writing, and collaborate with one or several non-profit organizations to execute the project throughout the semester.