Undergrad: EDUC 356S/HIST 382S/ISS 356S/VMS 358
Grad: CMAC 758S/EDUC 758S/HIST 758S/ISS 758S
R, STS, W, Bass, ALP


Instructors: Trudi Abel and Victoria Szabo

DH Specialist: Hannah Jacobs, Wired Lab

TAs: Eylul Iscen (CMAC) and Danny Kim (MFA)


The history of Durham with an emphasis on late 19th century leading into modern era. We will explore representing Durham past and present through primary source materials and with digital media. Themes include: Education, Culture, Entrepreuneurship, Race Relations, Urbanization, Labor, Urban Renewal, Civil Rights, and more. Students will digitize historical and cultural materials, research Durham history in archives and public records and present information through various forms including web pages, databases, maps, video and other media. We will analyze the social impact of new representations of place and space as they relate to the history and culture of our city.


  • Edward Ayers, Southern Crossing (required)
  • Pauli Murray, Proud Shoes: The Story of an American Family (required)
  • Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird (required)
  • Online readings in Sakai CMS and handouts TBA
  • Primary source materials presented from Rubenstein Library and online


  • Class Participation and Blogs (25%)
  • Research Paper Proposal (15%)
  • Final Research Paper (35%)
  • Final Digital Project (25%)

Class Decorum:

Treat this class as a work environment. Remember to turn off electronic devices (including phones) before class begins. Bring laptops, but no email, web surfing, and texting during class. If you find yourself becoming drowsy during any class period, get up and walk in the hallway or get a drink of water.  No eating in class, please.

Class Participation:

This course is designed as a research seminar. We expect students to come to class having read and thought about the readings on the syllabus. Consistent attendance, preparedness for discussion, and attentive listening constitute the minimum that students should contribute. We value thoughtful contributions to the class discussion.  Write notes as you do your readings, listen to the comments of your peers and focus on advancing the discussion, not merely on talking. If you find it difficult to speak in class, you should make an appointment with us, and we will discuss strategies to help you participate more readily.


We expect you to turn in your written work at the start of class or as indicated in the syllabus.  Late papers will lose a third of a grade for every 24 hours. We will consider requests for extensions only in cases of significant illness or personal emergency and only if you request an extension before the deadline.

Bass Connections:

This course is part of the Bass Connections project Digital Durham: Past, Present, Future. Students enrolled in the course are considered part of the Bass Project Team. They may participate in additional projects related to the Bass project, and students not involved in the course may also be involved in the Bass Connections Project, which may include:

  1. Revision and update of the Digital Durham website in collaboration with campus technology staff
  2. Development of a high school education module focused on Durham history
  3. Partnership with Bull City 150 on digital exhibitions related to their research
  4. Construction of a Durham Project Portal for Duke

Contact Trudi Abel or Victoria Szabo if you are interested in these projects.