Industrial Heritage & Communities

ANTH 399
ANTH 399

ANTH 399 examines the legacy of the Industrial Revolution in the United Kingdom and the United States where former industrial sites (such as textile mills, coal mines, chocolate factories) have been transformed from abandoned and unproductive blights on the landscape into major tourist attractions, economic regeneration machines for their communities, and even UNESCO World Heritage Sites or at least national icons. The course studies these industrial places in the context of the times in which they were operating, including contemporary social critiques about mistreatment of the working class. We look at the process by which their decay into ruins stimulated the birth of industrial archaeology and, ultimately, their "heritagization". We learn about the dastardly capitalists whose abuses inspired Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto, and about the charitable capitalists who built model villages for their employees, the imprint of which is still visible in modern communities. We learn about bloody labor battles in both countries and the rise of charismatic unionists such as the extraordinary Mother Jones. In lieu of exams the course requires a book review (The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell, https://libcom.org/files/wiganpier.pdf or available for purchase online for $10), discussion posts on Moodle, and an independent course-based project in which you either assess an industrial heritage site or propose to create one. Most lectures are accompanied by powerpoints and video clips. A few films are shown.

 

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