Date of this Version
Hill, Michael R. 2008. “Local Archives and Teaching the History of Sociology: Experiences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.” Timelines (Newsletter of the ASA Section on the History of Sociology), No. 12 (November): 5-8.
Opportunities to teach and conduct research on the local disciplinary history of sociology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are limited only by one’s imagination and the pragmatic realities of classroom constraints. Over the years, I have been privileged to introduce Nebraska students to many particulars of the local sociological record via guest lectures in courses and colloquia, standalone PowerPoint slide shows, archival displays, informational brochures, various publications, and by distributing extensive compilations of pertinent documents on compact discs. Most recently, I included a one-and-a-half-week segment on the history of Nebraska sociology in an Introduction to Sociology course (Hill 2007c), employing a reader based in part on archival writings and documentary photographs (Hill 2007d). An independent study course on life-history documents focused on discovering and interpreting relevant archival data (Hill 2007e). More informally, I recently organized a two-hour tour for the Nebraska Undergraduate Sociology Organization, escorting its members to sociologically significant sites and landmarks on the campus, including a visit to the university archives. Tour participants were provided with a printed map and guide (Hill 2007f). The ability and opportunity to weave parochial disciplinary history into the local academic scene hinges in part on the locally-available resources, on having a history to document and explicate, and on possessing a continuing and active interest in one’s early sociological predecessors.