What makes a community break apart? At many moments in American political and religious history, secessionist and separatist movements have threatened to break away from their own communities and to go it alone. In this course, students will identify a secessionist or separatist movement in the vicinity of their home campus, and learn the digital techniques to allow them to design a website presenting and analyzing the history of that movement. Who were the members of the secessionist movements? What made them different from the community of which they were originally part? Why was secession or separation – rather than dialogue and reconciliation – seemingly the better solution for their concerns?

Students enrolled in this course will analyze what makes a community, and what happens when that community breaks down. In developing their research project, students will investigate the history of community formation, read studies of social cohesion and social disunity, and learn  digital techniques to allow them to design their own website.