About the Seminar


Mapping American History, a First Year Seminar, will challenge you to write, research, and analyze historical sources in increasingly sophisticated ways. You will constantly be writing and receiving feedback on your work from your peers, writing specialists, and your professors. The class project is designed to focus your attention on a single place, using that focus to see how that place has changed over time using a variety of sources and methods.

This course will also give you a coherent sense of the history of Richmond. You will learn about the city's history and geography both through your readings and through our class project, in which you will write the history of a city street. This project fits within the University of Richmond's Community Based Learning program: it arises out of our belief that we are at our best when we engage course material and the world around us together.

We bring writing, analysis, and the community in which we live together through mapping. Maps have given men and women ways of seeing patterns that are otherwise difficult, of simplifying the complexities of history and geography. We will be looking at old maps and creating our own in order to consider how Richmonders and the places they built were connected, both internally and to places far removed. You will come away from the course with knowledge of the history of your adopted home and the ability to interpret texts, maps, and images so that you can build stories from these sources and critically examine the stories others tell.

Edward L. Ayers and Scott Nesbit