History+: Beyond the Classroom

history plus logo

**  Apply by February 15, 2024!  **

 

What is History+?

History+ is a mentored summer research experience for Duke undergraduates. It is designed to interface with the other + programs at Duke, and to follow their structure. For 8 weeks, in May, June, and July, several teams of Duke undergraduates- mentored by a graduate student and a faculty mentor- will engage in a variety of research projects. Ideally, those projects will result in a specific output: for instance, an exhibit at the Museum of Durham History, or a report for the North Carolina Historic Sites office; or a bank of oral histories to be stored at the Rubenstein Library. The primary goal of the initiative is educational. Students will learn to work together, as a team, and they will learn how to use historical research skills. They will learn, as well, how to engage with community partners, putting their academic knowledge into practice. 

 

Logistics

  • Only students enrolled at Duke University are eligible to apply.
  • The program this summer will run from Monday, May 20 through Friday, July 12, 2024.
  • Students will participate in History+ on a full-time basis, during regular work hours between Monday and Friday, and may not take on courses or other activities during this period.
  • The program is held in-person, following Duke guidelines for summer programs. There is no virtual option available, and students must reside in Durham during the summer to participate. On-campus residency is not required but is strongly encouraged.
  • Depending on the project, varying degrees of local travel will be necessary.  We will provide transportation options for any off-campus activities. Students are discouraged from driving private vehicles and from transporting other students in their own vehicles. If students organize their own transportation, Duke is under no liability.
  • Students will have three choices for compensation:
    • Students may choose to live on campus, have their room and meal plan covered, and receive a $1,000 award.
    • Students may choose to live off campus, receive a flat sum of $4,000, and be tasked with sorting out their own room and board.
    • Students living on campus who are receiving financial aid may choose extension campus housing + meal plan, with no additional monetary award.
  • Application process: This summer's History+ project proposals may be reviewed below. Students will have the opportunity to learn about those experiences, along with all of Duke's other "+" programs at the Plus Programs Fair, on Thursday, January 18, from 1-3pm.

    To apply, complete and submit the application form by February 15 at 5:00 p.m. Two references* and a short essay** are required within the application.  Decisions will be made in early March and you will be contacted no later than March 22, 2024.

    * References can be professors you’ve had at Duke, or someone you worked with or studied with at home. We likely won’t contact them, but in some cases we might, if we have questions about your application.

    ** Please write a 2-3 page essay, double-spaced, explaining what skills you might bring to this experience and why you wish to participate in a History+ program this summer. Please note that there are no prerequisites for applying: even if you’re a freshman who has not taken history classes, you certainly have some skills that are relevant, whether you know it or not, in writing, technology, project management, or even TBD.

 

If you have questions about the program or application process, please email historyplus@duke.edu.

(NOTE: Details remain subject to change.)

Project Description/goals

In the past half-century, Duke University has transformed from a well-regarded regional institution with just a few mainframe computers to a leading global university with ten schools, numerous interdisciplinary units, a $12.1 billion endowment and an alumni network of over 160,000.  

Duke’s centennial presents an opportunity to place the evolution of the university in historical context through oral history interviews with stakeholders and informants that have led, or been part of, the innovations that have shaped the university and the trajectory of higher education over the past five decades.

Building on the efforts of a 2023-2024 Bass Connections team, this History+ project will:

  • collect additional oral history interviews to add to the body of perspectives already collected; and
  • develop a public-facing online exhibit/archive to share these transcripts and audio of these interviews, along with brief biographies and possibly other resources that contextualize them                    .

 

Anticipated outputs

Oral history interviews; website including biographical sketches of interviewees and possibly other related resources

 

Student learning opportunities and skills sought

Students with experience in journalism and/or interviewing, exposure to qualitative research methods, background with the history of Duke and experience with website design and development would be particularly strong candidates for this project.

All students on the team will hone skills in historical research; learn best practices in oral history; engage deeply with the evolution of Duke University and higher education; and gain experience in the execution of a complex, collaborative project.

 

Key activities/timeline for how they envision the project might unfold during the summer

This work will take place in three phases:

 

List of key partners/collaborators

  • Edward Balleisen, History & Public Policy
  • Mary Pat McMahon, Student Affairs
  • Jenette Wood Crowley, Office of Undergraduate Education
  • Ani Karagianis, Duke Centennial Archivist

(NOTE: Details remain subject to change.)

Project Description/goals

The Museum of Durham History is planning an exhibit for Spring 2025 on the history of gentrification and housing inequality in Durham, North Carolina. This is one of the crucial stories of our time, and one that is affecting every city in the country. The museum directors would like the help of Duke students in both major steps of this process: first, the creation of an archive (oral histories, newspaper articles, etc.); second, the combination of those archival materials into a story for public consumption. Gentrification is a multi-faceted story, involving race, gender, environmental justice, and law.

 

Anticipated outputs

Archive of materials for the Museum staff to draw upon in crafting their story; a first draft of what the exhibit might look like; potentially a podcast or web exhibit to accompany the physical installation

 

Student learning opportunities and skills sought

This would be an excellent project for any student, but we would be particularly interested in students who have some grounding in 20th century American history, especially the history of the South. Students with experience in journalism or interviewing, or who have done historical research before, would be especially well prepared.

 

Key activities/timeline for how they envision the project might unfold during the summer

This work will take place in three phases:

  • Review extant work on the history of gentrification in the South, and in Durham especially
  • Collect primary sources: digital sources, printed sources, and oral histories
  • Work together with staff at the Museum of Durham History to make a plan for how to tell the story in a way that would be meaningful to the diverse array of visitors to the Museum

 

List of key partners/collaborators

  • Michelle Needham, Museum of Durham History
  • James Chappel, Department of History, Director of Undergraduate Studies
  • Kelley Lawton, U.S. History Librarian, Duke University Libraries

(NOTE: Details remain subject to change.)

Project Description/goals 

The Bennett Place Project, now in its second year, is part of a larger public history project, North Carolina Lives and Legacies, within Duke’s program in Information Science + Studies. Bennett Place, a NC State Historic Site located in Durham, is best known for an important Civil War surrender that took place there in April 1865.  The site offers possibilities to tell many other stories, however.  One of the crucial goals of the Bennett Place Project so far has been to expand analysis of the site to include Native Americans, environmental history, and the development of Bennett Place as a memorial site from the early twentieth century to the present. This work has been carried out with a view to shaping narratives that are both more inclusive and more engaging. Current work focuses on the early-19th century account book of James Bennett and the identification of other research materials relevant to the long history of the site. The recently announced three-year closure of Wilson Library at UNC-CH has heightened the need to gather special collections resources from the North Carolina Collection and the Southern Historical Collection.

 

Anticipated outputs

We plan to create digital resources including maps, thematically-oriented walking tours, and other digital visualizations related to the long history of Bennett Place, as well as continuing to develop a dataset based on the Bennett account book.

 

Student learning opportunities and skills sought

The Bennett Place Project provides an excellent opportunity for students interested in history and in digital storytelling to explore themes related to Bennett Place as part of the larger social history of North Carolina and the United States. The project currently encompasses the creation of a database based on Bennett’s account book, and using various graphic history tools to present this research. This summer, historical research in the archives at UNC-CH and in Duke’s Rubenstein Library on ledgers and topics related to the history of Bennett Place will be a major focus. Students interested in archival research, text mining, or data visualization will find interesting project opportunities.

 

Key activities/timeline for how they envision the project might unfold during the summer

We will review our past work and visit  Bennett Place and the UNC Libraries as a group as first steps.

After determining specific areas for individuals to focus on, we will begin work in the archives or online.  We will meet as a group at least once a week in a day-long lab session.  During these lab sessions, a portion of the time will be spent working on the long term project of transcribing and entering the ledger data into our master spreadsheet. Working cooperatively with the lab group, students will prepare digital projects with the goal of creating materials suitable for use in online and in-person venues, including exhibitions.

 

List of key partners/collaborators

· Robert Buerglener, Duke Information Science + Studies

· James Chappel, Department of History, Director of Undergraduate Studies

· Carson Holloway,  Librarian, Duke University Libraries

(NOTE: Details remain subject to change.)

Project Description/goals

This History+ project would have a team of undergraduate students assist Professor Cecilia Márquez on critical archival research at the Wilson Library at UNC and at the Rubenstein Library at Duke University. This is pursuant to her work on LatinX History and its connections to the conservative movement. As current polling indicates, the Latinx vote will be crucial to American politics in the near future, and conservative Latinx voters may well hold the balance of power. Understanding the relationship between conservativism and Latinx history, therefore, provides a crucial and under-explored vantage point onto contemporary political life.

The archival collections at Duke and UNC have rich resources about these themes, including collections on racist and anti-racist movements in twentieth century Southern history. The goal of this project would be to have a team of undergraduate students go through these archival collections looking for mention of Latin America, Latin Americans, Latinos, Hispanics, or the participation of those groups. This, often time consuming, work is urgently needed because of the announcement that the Wilson Library will be closing for three years. Working with Professor Márquez and a graduate student mentor, students will learn how to work as a group and how to handle archival materials with care.

 

Anticipated Outputs

The primary goal is to create a digital archive for use by students and journalists who are trying to gain a historical understanding of Latinx history and conservatism. The students will work together to figure out the best way to do this: it could involve lesson plans, podcasts, video essays, etc.

 

Student learning opportunities and skills sought

Students will learn several of the important tools of archival research: how to read large quantities of material, how to take notes in an orderly and descriptive way, how to use tools like Zotero to sort and catalog these materials, and how to work as part of an archival team.

 

Key activities/timeline

Students will spend the first few days of the session working with me and a graduate assistant learning how to work with archival material, how to use Zotero, and how to take notes. Students would spend most of the rest of their time working in the archives themselves. The History+ program will work with students to figure out transportation to and from the Wilson Library.

 

List of key partners/collaborators

  • Cecilia Marquez, Hunt Family Assistant Professor in History