My experiences with this class:
This history class was the first course I took as a non-traditional student at UNE. Telling Tales turned out to be an excellent springboard into my history major. The object of the class was to learn how to tell historical stories using different methods and understand the differences between them. Students had to select a broad historical topic that they would apply to three different projects throughout the semester. The projects were:
- Write a historical academic paper
- Write a historical fiction story
- Create a podcast
The broad topic I selected was “Maine in the Civil War”. I was able to focus on different aspects of the subject, which helped achieve some variety with my projects throughout the course.
My academic paper explored the potential connection between the anti-slavery movement in the state and Maine’s high volume of enlistment during the Civil War. It was a typical, historical paper, with a thesis, etc. It was the first academic paper I had written as a UNE student. The world of the digital library and scholarly articles was a learning curve for me.
Ironically, the historical fiction story was just as difficult to craft as the academic paper. “Veteran’s Reckoning” was based upon my family’s history. In 2018, through some genealogical research I had discovered that four of my ancestors had fought in the Civil War. Only two of them lived to return to New England. I based my story’s setting and characters loosely upon their lives. I also strove to illustrate the challenges that veterans and their families faced upon returning home at the end of the war.
My podcast, “Veterans in Togus, Maine” discussed the history of the Togus Veterans’ Hospital. It was established shortly after the Civil War as the first veterans’ hospital in the country. I found out some intriguing snippets of its rich past and was excited to present the findings in my podcast. I had to learn how to create podcasts in Audacity, which was a challenge, but I am proud of the result.
This class encouraged me to create projects in mediums that I would never have explored otherwise. Rather than an exam or a boring paper, we were encouraged to create and tell stories about the past. I would recommend it to any student! My podcast is below; I invite you to listen to it.
Official Class Description:
The HIS 150 course examines the various ways that we think about the past by exploring documentary and blockbuster film, “scholarly” and “popular” history, heritage tourism, memory, and genealogy. Over the course of the semester we will focus on the myriad ways that people tell tales about important historical moments, events, and personalities.