Students learn how to do their own research at Trinity. All senior majors prepare independent research projects, either theses or senior research essays, under the supervision of faculty. Interested students may also have the opportunity - unusual at the undergraduate level - to assist the faculty in their research. One History major recently assisted a professor in assembling an English-Language bibliography of works on the Carolingian Empire; another helped a professor scan 1940s periodicals for a study of Black-Jewish relations.
A Strategic Location For Research
Any list of resources for historical research at Trinity must begin with the College's own Watkinson Library, an extraordinary Americana collection that attracts scholars from around the country. Just off campus are located many other institutions that provide a wealth of opprtunities for supplementing the classroom experience of Trinity History students. A city rich in history, Hartford is home to the Wadsworth Atheneum, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, the Mark Twain House, the Connecticut State Library, and the Connecticut Historical Society. An Historic Hartford trail links more than two dozen places marking the cultural and industrial leadership of the 19th-century city.
Many students visit these sites in connection with courses, do research in their collections, or undertake internships that give them hands-on experience in the museum and library fields. Still other opportunities for learning the historian's craft are offered by the Hartford Studies Project, which takes many approaches to investigating the modern history of the city. Directed by Professor Susan Pennybacker of the History Department and Professor Stephen Valocchi of the Sociology Department, the Project sponsors a popular research-oriented History of Hartford seminar for seniors and graduate students. Its achievements to date have included the acquisition of important records of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for the State Library and the assembly of a collection of 4,000 pictorial images of historic Hartford.
Trinity's campus-wide computer network plays an integral part in enhancing each student's educational experiences. Every dorm room is wired for direct computer networking, offering links to other students, to the CTW library system, to the campus-wide Local Area Network, and, through the College's subscription, to the Internet international computer network and the World Wide Web.
As is true of most of their peers, both History faculty and majors are begining to exploit the Internet, with some exciting results. For example, Trinity's Learning Technology Project,with financial support from the Charles E. Culpeper Foundation, has encouraged faculty development and exploration in the use of the web in some of Prof. Luis A. Figueroa's courses, such as Hist. 247- Latinos/Latinas in the U.S.A., and Hist. 378 - Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans: Colony, Nation, and Diaspora. The Department has also set up state-of-the-art computing, scanning, and printing hardware and software to support the use of information technology by History students and faculty as part of the renovation of the recently-named "Professor Jim Williams History Study" in Seabury Hall.
About one-half of Trinity's History majors choose to pursue studies in academic programs overseas. Many spend a term at Trinity's Rome campus. Others have studied in locations as diverse as the curriculum itself, including England, Ireland, France, Russia, Mexico, Australia, and India. Trinity has also started new study abroad programs of its own in Cape Town, South Africa; Trinidad, in the West Indies; and Kathmandu, Nepal. A special semester-away Trinity program in San Francisco, California, got under way in 1999.
Because History intersects with many other disciplines, historians at Trinity collaborate with professors from many other departments and programs. History courses stand at the core of Women's Studies, International Studies, American Studies, Guided Studies, the Cities Program, and many of the College's minor programs. History faculty have been also pioneers in the development of year-long interdisciplinary series of courses, films, faculty lectures and symposia focused on Colonialism and Decolonization, and Migrations, Diaspora Communities, and Transnational Identities. All History majors are urged to explore widely in the humanities and social sciences to enhance their historical studies.