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History as Story (2022-2023)

Professors Andrew Offenburger (History) and James Tobin (Media, Journalism, and Film)

The Midwest is often understood as a place of unchanging culture—the “nation’s heartland.”  Yet recent scholarship reveals a much more dynamic Midwest, characterized by shifting populations, growing urban centers, and increasing diversity.  This lab aims to tell the story of a rapidly changing Midwest that has been overlooked in the popular imagination and much contemporary reporting.  

The lab seeks students interested in developing and using storytelling methods to reveal how the Midwest is changing.  Lab members will learn how to combine the hard-earned insight of the research historian with the narrative skill of the literary journalist.  By connecting the worlds of historical research and journalism, the lab will challenge its members to present historical research in the form of compelling narratives—prioritizing storytelling, backed by in-depth historical research.

The lab will operate as a winter-term workshop, convened synchronously over Zoom.  Students will carry their projects toward publication through an intensive writing workshop. Lab faculty will work with students closely and give their drafts the time and attention necessary to develop their first drafts into polished final pieces.

To enter the lab, students should be enrolled in History 450/550 or Journalism 350 or have experience in history or journalism courses requiring writing and conveying an understanding of historical narration and research methods.

Enrollment is now open: enroll here.

Courses (fall 2022):

  • HST 450/550: History as Story (Andrew Offenburger)
  • MJF 350: Stories of the Past (Jim Tobin)

Lab (winter 2023) 

  • January 2 - 13, 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Online. Enroll here.