Colt as National Park

Colt as National Park

An interesting issue as Hartford and Ct. have to grapple with politics and history, celebrating the past, and dealing with the present.  Here’s a topic for an argument paper in Composition 101.   


Using Seminar in Lit and Comp

After our vibrant workshop at Holyoke, I decided to dive into using seminar in my ENG 102 Literature and Composition course.  It had been awhile, admittedly, since I relinquished that much control in a class, even though most of my classes feature active learning strategies.   As predicted, handing the class over to the students flourished and nourished deep discussion of our common play, The Whipping Man. Continue reading

Bakery poetry – Hartford’s George Scott

Check out this video featuring George Scott, owner of Scott’s Jamaican Bakery in Hartford.  It gives a little history and George recites his favorite poem, recalling his early life in Jamaica.



The Leisure Class – a musical primer

I heard this on the radio the other evening, and thought immediately of our upcoming workshop.  The recording isn’t great but a fun little ditty nonetheless.

Where Would H.B. Stowe Occupy?

Despite all its flaws, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Christian abolitionist activism is inspiring and leads me to an ahistorical question: if Stowe were alive today, what issues would she be most concerned with?  In the weeks since our visit to the Stowe Center, the activist landscape has been dominated by the “Occupy” movement.  Started on Wall St as a living protest against economic injustice and the concentration of resources, power and policy among the richest few Americans, the movement has spread to Hartford and other cities across the world.   Recently, on a radio program, I heard that the percentage of actual unemployment in the country is about 16%, including those people who have stopped looking for jobs.   The guest on the program said that was about the same percentage of people in this country who were slaves in the mid-1800s. This parallel between slavery and today’s economic situation is striking.

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Reflections of workshop 9/2

Hi All,

This workshop today was great!   With so much food for thought I hope everyone has great holidays

Cruising the CT River on the “Hartford Belle”

Delicious food, beautiful views, and great company

Story about Frederick Law Olmstead on NPR’s “Where We Live”

I think that you will all find this story really fascinating.  Enjoy:



Hidden Hartford History

I’ve had the pleasure of attending, designing and leading several tours of alternative Hartford history over the years.  The best source of this kind of wonderful info is Steve Thornton.  His day job is with SEIU 1199, but by night he’s an amateur (only in that he doesn’t get paid) progressive/radical/labor historian of Hartford.  Steve’s website, Hartford Homefront, features current activism, but also his Shoeleather History of Hartford.   On June 21, Steve led a tour of the Charter Oak Avenue area of Hartford as a benefit for the CT Center for a New Economy, and while the distance was small, the amount of amazing history he uncovered was tremendous.  What follows are some of the highlights:

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Impressions from our Summer Institute

Well, we made it through the week! I thoroughly enjoyed spending the week with all of you. One of the gratifying aspects of this project for me is hearing the comments of the institutional reps and speakers about our group. John Teahan’s comments were probably the most poignant and public, where he sincerely marvelled at the commitment, the diversity, the engagement of our team. But others — Sally and Jenn at the OSH, Jack Hale, Brenda Miller at the Hfd History Center, and Matt and Robert of CCSU — have commented to me about these same attributes of teamwork, commitment, and engagement that characterize our team. I am truly honored to work with such a dynamic group. I’m almost wishing we had a Saturday event planned for today (totally kidding — just want to see if Arthur is on the blog yet!).

I thought we could start a thread here that would allow us to post our thoughts on various events of the week while they are fresh in our minds. For example:

  • What aspects of the week were especially meaningful for you and why?
  • How are you beginning to imagine using our experience in your classes?