HIST 2098 - Cincinnati's West End - Fall 2019

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Course Information

Instructor Information

Dr. Rebecca S. Wingo
wingora [at] ucmail.uc. edu
McMicken Hall, 320C
Tues 10-11:30AM; Thurs 3:30-4:30PM
or schedule an appointment.

Dr. Vanessa Allen-Brown
allenbv [at] ucmail.uc. edu
Teachers College, 638J
Office Hours by Appointment

Course Details

Class Time & Location
3:30-6:20PM Tues
McMicken Hall 354

Important Links

Course Texts

Required Books:
Avila, Eric. The Folklore of the Freeway: Race and Revolt in the Modernist City. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014

All other readings:
Other readings and resources will be available through this digital syllabus or via Blackboard.

Course Description & Objectives

In the late 1950s, the City of Cincinnati slated the southern half of a neighborhood known at the West End for urban renewal and highway construction, ultimately displacing over 25,000 predominantly African American citizens. This neighborhood, currently known as “Queensgate,” is facing another wave of displacement through encroaching gentrification and the construction of the FCC stadium in what the developers are now rebranding OTR-West.

This course uses an object-based oral history approach called the History Harvest, a community-based, student-driven, collaborative digital archive. The Harvest is a one-day event in which people bring their objects of significance and tell the story of the artifact. As the founders of the History Harvest state, “It is […] the shared experience of giving that is at the heart of the History Harvest concept.” There is no acquisition, and unlike Antiques Roadshow, everything is valuable.

Photograph courtesy of the Cincinnati Museum Center History Library and Archives

survey photograph depicting row houses with African American men sitting on a stoop and walking down the street. On the right, the surveyor stands with a survey sign for the photograph. The address in the corner reads 733 West Court Street

Upon the successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in the history of African Americans in Cincinnati and the history of urban renewal on a national and local level
  • Practice Dublin Core archival standards and gain expertise in oral and digital history methods
  • Recognize the ways public historians and the communities they serve reciprocally shape history and the field
  • Examine the best practices and ethical considerations of developing partnerships with marginalized communities and communities of color
  • Articulate the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the public history practice, and be able to recognize when there is an absence of diversity as a result
  • Gain interdisciplinary experience in the classroom across colleges, especially with the two affiliated courses DAAP and Film Studies

Transferrable Skills

History classes are about the past, but they can inform your future. You can leverage many of the skills you gain in the course to your future careers both in and out of the historical discipline. Skills gained through the study of history include (but are not limited to):

  • Organizing and managing diverse and complex information
  • Expressing strong and persuasive evidence-based arguments in writing and speech
  • Building unparalleled research skills through deep and broad inquiry
  • Exploring the complexity of the human experience across time and space
  • Using the lessons of the past to understand the present


Date Topics Read & Prepare for Class Assignments Due
Week 1
Tu 08/27


Where is the West End?

What is a History Harvest?

READ William G. Thomas, Patrick D. Jones, and Andrew Witmer, "History Harvests: What Happens When Students Collect and Digitize the People’s History?" Perspectives (January 1, 2013)

READ Alyssa Konermann, "25,737 People Lived in Kenyon-Barr when the City Razed it to the Ground" Cincinnati Magazine (February 10, 2017)

Week 2
Tu 09/03

Guest: Anne Delano Steinert

History of Highway Construction

History Harvest Mechanics

READ Avila, Folklore of the Freeway, Introduction, (p. 1-16)

READ Avila, Folklore of the Freeway, Chapter 1, (p. 17-52)

QN Quote Notes #1 (Avila)

Week 3
Tu 09/10

Gender & Politics

Digital Community Engagement

READ Avila, Folklore of the Freeway, Chapter 2, (p. 53-88)

READ Rebecca S. Wingo and Amy C. Sullivan, "Remembering Rondo: An Inside View of the History Harvest," Perspectives (March 1, 2017)

READ Rebecca S. Wingo and William G. Thomas III, "Building Communities, Reconciling Histories: Can We Make a More Honest History?" in The Oxford Handbook of Digital Public History, edited by Serge Noiret and Mark Tebeau (Berlin: De Gruyter Press, 2021) [PDF on BB]

QN Quote Notes #2 (Avila)

Week 4
Tues 09/17

Guest: Eric R. Jackson

Community Trauma

African Americans in Cincinnati

READ Eric R. Jackson, “Why So Many African Americans have Roots in the West End of Cincinnati,” The Voice of Black Cincinnati, April 9, 2018

READ Mindy Thompson Fullilove, “Root Shock: The Consequences of African American Dispossession,” Journal of Urban Health 78, no. 1 (March 2001), 72-80

READ Marc Fried, “Grief for a Lost Home: Psychological Costs of Relocation,” in Urban Renewal: The Record and the Controversy, ed. James Q. Wilson (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1966): 359-379

QN Quote Notes #3 (Fullilove & Fried)

Week 5
Tues 09/24

Guest: Elease North

History & Memory

READ Avila, Folklore of the Freeway, Chapter 3, (p. 89-118)

READ Sheila Brennan, “Public, First,” in Debates in the Digital Humanities, eds. Matthew K. Gold and Lauren Klein (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016

QN Quote Notes #4 (Avila)

Film September 25: Berlin, Sinfonie der Grosstadt (Ruttman, 1927)

Week 6
Tues 10/01

Oral History


READ Mark Auslander, “Slavery’s Traces: In Search of Ashley’s Sack,” Southern Spaces, November 29, 2016

Family Stories Family Object Interview

Week 7
Tues 10/08



DO 3:30 - 5:00: Distribute Flyers

MEET Cincinnati Museum Center, 5:00pm

Guest: Scott Gampfer, Associate VP for Collections and Preservation

Film October 9: Paris (Klapisch, 2008)

Week 8
Tues 10/15


DO Bring and object from home!

DO Bring final drafts of all forms & protocols

Film October 16: Pruitt-Igoe Myth (Freidrichs, 2012)

Week 9
Tues 10/22



Last minute prep

MEET St. Joseph Church, 4:00pm

READ Avila, Folklore of the Freeway, Chapter 4, (p. 119-148)

QN Quote Notes #5 (Avila)

Film October 23: Swagger (Olivier Babinet, 2016)


City Links, 8:30am - 4:00pm

Week 10
Tues 10/29


Film October 30: Do The Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989)

Week 11
Tues 11/05

Finish Metadata-thon


Exhibit Planning

READ Cherstin Lyon, et al, Introduction to Public History, Chapter 5, 83-111. [PDF on BB]

READ B. Erin Cole, “I have to Write the Labels,” Medium (blog), December 2, 2018

READ American Alliance of Museums, "Excellence in Exhibition Label Writing Competition 2017"

EXHIBIT Bring at least one exhibit idea

Film November 6: Truman Show (Weir, 1998)

Week 12
Tues 11/12

Exhibit Design

EXHIBIT Outline of Exhibit

Week 13
Tues 11/19

Exhibit Design

EXHIBIT Exhibit Draft #1

Film November 20: Detropia (Ewing, Grady, 2012)

Week 14
Tues 11/26

Guest: Peg Fox & Alexis Kidd?

Exhibit Design

EXHIBIT Exhibit Draft #2

Week 15
Tues 12/05

Current Events


READ Avila, Folklore of the Freeway, Chapter 5, (p. 149-180)

READ Alana Semuels, "Highways Destroyed America's Cities: Can Tearing them Down Bring Revitalization?" The Atlantic, November 25, 2015

EXHIBIT Final Exhibits Uploaded to Omeka

Exam Week
Tues 12/10

Final Exam

4:00pm - 6:00pm

Exhibit Presentations to Community

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Assignment Descriptions

Component (click on labels for assignment overviews) Points per Assignment Number of Assignments Total
Quote Notes This assignment helps you develop note-taking skills to better comprehend class readings, help jog your memory in class discussions, find quotable quotes to cite and reference in class and your writing, and connect class readings to your own experiences and ideas. Each assignment requires you to identify two quotations. The first demonstrates your mastery of the material by selecting a quote that is emblematic / summative of the author(s)’s central argument or main point. The second is a quote that surprised you or interested you in a new way, and why. 5 5 25
Family Stories To practice for the History Harvest, you will digitize one of your family heirlooms and interview one of your family members about the artifact. Objects can tell rich histories, and it's your job to come up with questions to access those stories. Students will write a brief summary of the importance of the object, reflect on the process of interviewing, and present their findings in class. If you cannot locate a family member, please speak with one of the professors individually. 15 1 15
Final Exhibits Your final project is a web-based exhibit formed from objects digitized through the History Harvest. These will be completed in active collaboration with your classmates. Each group will develop exhibit ideas, outlines, and drafts for discussion and review in class. Groups will present their final projects to interested community members in lieu of a final exam. Project components will be due throughout the semester, adding up to 30 points. varies multiple 30
Films This class is affiliated with two other courses in DAAP and Film Studies through the UC Forward program. Dr. Conrad Kickert will screen and discuss a film about urban planning and design. You must watch two of these and write a 200-400 word blog entry about your reaction to the film and discussion. For each of the films you view, you are also required to write one response to students in the other classes. 5 2 10
Attendance Attendance and participation in this course are mandatory both inside and outside of the classroom. Your grade includes participation in class activities such as community outreach & advertising, the metadata-thon, the upload-a-thon, and active peer-review. You are required to attend and participate in the History Harvest on Saturday, October 26th. 20 weekly 20

Grading Scale

Letter Grades are comprised of points earned.

Grade Points
A 93-100
A- 90-92
B+ 87-89
B 83-86
B- 80-82
C+ 77-79
C 73-76
C- 70-72
D+ 67-69
D 63-66
D- 60-62
F 59 or less

Related Policies

Due Dates
Late work will not be accepted. Assignments submitted late will automatically receive no credit/zero points. Exceptions to this policy may occur in very rare cases (e.g. personal emergency or severe medical situations). These cases must be documented to my satisfaction and you must contact me before the due date.

Shit Happens Clause
Once per semester, you may invoke the Shit Happens Clause. This clause grants you a three-day extension on your assignment with no questions asked. However, you can not use this clause on your final project deadline or any group work. To invoke the clause, email one of us before the assignment is due, letting us know you are using it.

Extra Credit
You may earn up to 6pts of extra credit by attending local public history exhibits or lectures. Each event is worth 2pts, provided you show proof of attendance and write a one-page summary of your main takeaways.

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Classroom & University Policies

Classroom Etiquette

Courtesy & Respect
My goal is for us to create a constructive learning environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing ideas and participating regularly. Therefore, I expect you to come on time and stay for the entire class period, listen attentively while others are speaking, and respect opinions other than your own. I encourage discussion and healthy disagreements, so long as the disagreements are factual, constructive, and free from harassment. Unprofessional or disrespectful conduct will result in an absence for the day. Please contact me if you feel unsafe or have suggestions for improving the classroom environment.

Controversial Content
During this course you may encounter a range of topics to which you may experience strong reactions. It is important to keep an open mind and be respectful of others, as this will help to facilitate the discussion about content, audience, and purpose. If you feel uncomfortable with certain materials (such as references to violence or sex), please let me know and we can make accommodations or discuss other learning opportunities.

Name and Gender Identity
I am provided a class roster with students’ legal names. I will gladly honor your request to address you by an alternate name or your preferred gender pronoun. Please let me know your preference early in the semester. Please be aware that this will not affect your official university records, but I can help you with that process if you'd like.

Laptops & Mobile Devices
Please feel free to use any device that makes your participation in class discussions easier. It is expected that students of this class will use technology during class to take notes, experiment / work (during appropriate class times), refer to digital readings, show examples, etc. It is also expected that these technologies will not be used during class for purposes outside the scope of the class, including instant messaging (including with classmates), e-mail, social media (outside of the use as examples to particular arguments), etc. Please do not leave your cell phones on audible ring, and barring emergencies, do not take or make phone calls during class. The right to use such technologies in the classroom may be revoked at any time by the professor. Additionally, tech-free or screens-down classes will be employed throughout the semester during which time no technology may be used in the class. Headphones are prohibited from this classroom unless a student requires them for accomodations and has documentation.

Online Etiquette
On all social media accounts used in this course (blogs, Twitter, etc.), students are expected to uphold professional standards that meet university and professional codes of conduct. No bullying or disrespect will be tolerated. If you are experiencing any problems, please let me know and we will work together to resolve the issue.

University Policies

A student who is discovered plagiarizing on any assignment will automatically receive a grade of zero (0) for that assignment and the assignment cannot be redone to obtain a different grade on the plagiarized assignment. A student who has been found guilty of plagiarizing shall not be allowed to withdraw from the course unless the student withdraws with a semester grade of "F." A second incidence of plagiarism will result in automatic failure of the course. For further details on the issue of academic misconduct, including plagiarism, see the Student Code of Conduct available on the UC website.

Americans with Disabilities Act
Students desiring a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act must contact the instructor immediately to discuss their needs. Failure to notify the instructor in a timely manner of the need for a reasonable accommodation may hinder the college’s ability to assist students in successfully completing the course.

Religious Holidays
UC / A&S students, who, because of their sincerely held religious beliefs, are unable to attend classes, take examinations, participate in grade activities, or submit graded assignments on particular days shall, without penalty, be excused from such classes and be given a meaningful opportunity to make up such examinations and graded activities or assignments provided that advance written notice of their absence is given to faculty members during the first two weeks of the semester.

Title IX
Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of your actual or perceived sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. Title IX also covers sexual violence, dating or domestic violence, and stalking. If you disclose a Title IX issue to me, I am required forward that information to the Title IX Office. They will follow up with you about how the University can take steps to address the impact on you and the community and make you aware of your rights and resources. Their priority is to make sure you are safe and successful here. You are not required to talk with the Title IX Office. If you would like to make a report of sex or gender-based discrimination, harassment or violence, or if you would like to know more about your rights and resources on campus, you can consult the website or contact the office at 556-3349.

Counseling Services
Clifton Campus Students have access to counseling and mental health care through the University Health Services (UHS), which can provide both psychotherapy and psychiatric services. In addition, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) can provide professional counseling upon request; students may receive five free counseling sessions through CAPS without insurance. Students are encouraged to seek assistance for anxiety, depression, trauma / assault, adjustment to college life, interpersonal / relational difficulty, sexuality, family conflict, grief and loss, disordered eating and body image, alcohol and substance abuse, anger management, identity development and issues related to diversity, concerns associated with sexual orientation and spirituality concerns, as well as any other issue of concerns. After hours, students may call UHS at 513-556-2564 or CAPS Cares at 513-556-0648. For urgent physician consultation after-hours students may call 513-584-7777.


Child Care
Parenting should not restrict your access to class. If there is an emergency that causes an immediate change to your child care plans for that day, you are invited to bring your child to class. Please be prepared to step out with your child if needed.

If you have any questions or concerns throughout the semester, please see or call me immediately. I am here to help you learn, but it is your responsibility to address any issues you have concerning course content, assignments, and classroom dynamics. Do not risk your grade; if you are having problems, please come and talk me before it is too late.

Syllabus Modifications
This syllabus will serve as our guide throughout the semester, but may change, particularly as we identity digital skills we would like to pursue throughout the semester. I will alert you to any major changes made.

Acknowledgments & License
This syllabus has been developed in active collaboration with Lindsey Passenger-Wieck. It also borrows ideas from other history classes, including those taught by Leisl Carr Childers, Jason Heppler, Denise D. Meringolo, and Amanda Hill.

This syllabus and all assignments are copyrighted © 2019 Rebecca S. Wingo and licensed CC-Non-Commercial BY 4.0. You are free to use or modify this syllabus for any non-commercial purpose, provided that you attribute it to the author, preferably at the course website listed above.

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