Field Schools

Being in the field promotes empirical studies, inductive analysis, opportunities for application, and reflexivity. While the research methods and theory courses that I teach also include fieldwork and application components, what makes field courses distinct is that these courses require students to live in the field for an extended period of time. You may download the syllabi and student from the Fieldwork Courses PORTFOLIO by clicking here.

Course 1: BLC Field School

The Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures field school is offered every summer. Students, invited experts, scholars, and neighborhood affiliates work with residents and community organizations in order to explore, document, and examine historic buildings and cultural landscapes of a selected neighborhood. They create site reports that become part of the historical record of Wisconsin. They engage local residents in art, storytelling, and oral history projects.  They produce an inventory of sites that have historical value to the selected neighborhood and provide users with interpretive ways of reading these sites. We expect summer field schools to increase awareness of neighborhood history and preservation of the built environment. Students receive an immersive experience in the field recording of the built environment and cultural landscapes and they get an opportunity to write history literally “from the ground up.” They receive training in site documentation (including photography, measured drawings, digital documentation, audio-visual production), historic interpretation of buildings and landscapes (focusing on how to “read” buildings within its material, political, social, cultural and economic contexts), and primary source research (including oral history, archival research, architectural analysis).
I directed the summer 2012 BLC Field School in the neighborhood of Thurston Woods, Milwaukee. Nationally recognized humanities scholars who directed portions of this school included Jeffrey E. KleeColonial Williamsburg FoundationMichael H. Frisch, Professor and Senior Research Scholar, University at Buffalo; Judith Weiland, Director of Operations, The Randforce Associates, LLC; Jasmine Alinder, Associate Professor of History, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee; Michael Gordon, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee; and Erin Dorbin, of Hey Man Cool!, Digital history productions.
The 2012 BLC field School has a blogsite, a traveling exhibit, short documentaries and a website.
The field school also produced two monographs:

1. Exhibit Monograph:
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2. History of Thurston Woods:
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Read UWM News article on field school here.
Read local Newspaper articles on field school here and here.
BLC field school blogs can be accessed here.

Course 2: New York Field Study
This class, offered during the summer sessions, involves fieldwork, documentation, and analysis of New York’s Lower East Side neighborhood. The class produced a monograph that can be purchased:
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Click here for a list of field work related courses offered by BLC