Shared Projects Across All Courses:

Frontispiece Project

In this first project of the semester, students were asked to consider Whitman’s careful visual presentation of himself — his frontispiece — in the anonymous publication of the 1855 Leaves of Grass. They were asked to analyze his stance, his facial expression, and his physical adornment, and then to attend to these same issues in crafting a visual representation of themselves. Each student created his or her own “frontispiece,” accompanied by 6-10 lines of carefully selected text from “Song of Myself.” The primary purpose of this project, aside from fostering critical thinking about Whitman’s self-representation and its relation to the construction of online identities, was to create an opportunity for each student to introduce him or herself to the larger Looking for Whitman community. Many students reused the frontispiece image as a personal avatar.

Image Gloss project

In this project, students were asked to investigate a word or phrase from the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass. Students wrote a multimedia blog post providing the background information, or context, necessary to understand the word or phrase as Whitman used it. The purpose of this assignment was to develop a collective knowledge base to scaffold students to deeper understanding of Whitman’s ouevre. Whereas the first assignment encouraged students to connect on a personal level to Whitman, this second assignment challenged students to engage with the unfamiliar, the historically distant.

The Material Culture Museum

This was a substantial historical research project that built on students’ work in the Image Gloss project. Each student selected an element of material culture, some sort of cultural artifact that Whitman incorporated into Leaves of Grass. Students researched the cultural context of the selected artifact, focusing on: a) how the object was used in everyday life; and b) how the object was incorporated into the popular imagination and intellectual history; c) the meaning and significance of the artifact in Whitman’s writings.

Annotation project
This assignment asked students to use the WordPress theme to annotate a Whitman text written in that project location. Some courses made this an individual project, while others took a collaborative, team-based approach.

Field Trips
This space aggregates posts, images, and videos from various Whitman-inspired field trips across the campuses. The tag that is being used to aggregated these posts is “fieldtrip” (no quotes).

Finding Whitman Videos

This was a required final project in each course. Students used flipcams to videotape him or herself reading an excerpt from Whitman’s work in a specific locale chosen for the purpose. The challenge of this project was to think deeply about the relationship of place to text.

Course-Specific Projects

Address Project

City Tech students chose an address in which Whitman lived briefly during his time in Brooklyn.  Students performed historical research on the address using insurance maps, land conveyances, city directories, and other resources provided by the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Visitor’s Center Scripts (Camden)

Translations (coming soon) (Novi Sad)

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