One of my favourite things about Dartmouth is the ability to take classes outside your major concentration. When selecting classes for this spring term, I wanted to take a break from my usual study of Religion and experiment in some other departments. I was thrilled to learn that to celebrate Dartmouth’s 250th anniversary, the College is offering a selection of different courses that focus on the history of the school. During this spring term, these classes include two English classes and one speech class offered through the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric. One of these English classes, taught by Professor Dobson, is called “Dartmouth Fictions.”
“Dartmouth Fictions” focuses on studying “a collection of poems, stories, and historical sketches by the graduate and undergraduate writes of Dartmouth College.” Meeting three times a week, our class began our literary studies in the late eighteenth century, reading first-hand accounts of the founding of Dartmouth College. As the term goes on, we are progressing through Dartmouth history up to present day, reading works written about Dartmouth, the people who attended the school, and the events that took place on campus at that specific time.
While the majority of our grade is based on our exams and term paper, each week we have a short assignment. Professor Dobson assigns a location on campus, one that is usually related to our assigned readings, for us to visit. While at this location on campus, we spend time reflecting about the space in relation to our reading and more personally, our own experiences at Dartmouth. So far, we have visited a reading room on campus (I chose to write about the Tower Room) and Bartlett Tower. Built in the late nineteenth century, Bartlett Tower is located right beside the stump of the original “Lone Pine” at the highest point on campus.
I am thoroughly enjoying this “Dartmouth Fictions” class because not only is it allowing me to learn more about the history of the institution, but it gives me a better understanding of the complex events that have shaped our community. From the introduction of co-education to the operation of the Greek system, learning about the intricate past of the College, while it’s not always easy, has given me a great appreciation for the place I call home.