FYS*101*10 Description

First-Year Seminar

In this course we look at the past, present, and future of Kent County, Maryland through the prism of work and the ways of earning a livelihood in this smallest county in the state. We will begin with the European colonization that brought commercial agriculture to the Eastern Shore more than 300 years ago, and look at the ways in which Kent County residents have supported themselves since. We will explore the extent to which farming, harvesting the riches of the Bay, running small businesses, and other commercial pursuits have been inward-focused or outward-focused. Today's Kent County combines a desire to preserve the pristine nature of Chestertown and its environs with the need for good jobs and an acceptable quality of life for all of its citizens. Does the county's future depend on connecting with the larger world or can it remain more the isolated, insulated jewel? You will combine what you learn about the past and present of Kent County with research on other small locales experiencing similar challenges to propose recommendations for its future. Readings and class trips will survey the county's history, present, and possible future; guest speakers may include local farmers, watermen, environmental and civic activists, regulators, and politicians. In addition to learning about the vibrant community and rich history that surround Washington College, students will learn fundamental library research techniques, and how to move from secondary research to primary research. Most importantly, students will deepen their ability to ask questions and think critically.