Grant Will Support U.Va.-Va. Tech Project
To Explore Jamestowns Complex Role
In Forming American
2, 2000 -- Anticipating the
400th anniversary of the first permanent English settlement
in America, history teachers from around the country will have an
opportunity next summer to take part in a major reexamination of
colonial America and take a fresh look at Jamestowns complex
meaning for our national heritage.
the support of an $88,000 National Endowment for the Humanities
grant to a joint educational project of the University of Virginia
and Virginia Tech, 15 high school teachers will be selected to participate
in a month-long seminar that will challenge the idea of early New
England as the norm and the South as "deviant" in the
forging of American culture.
historians are beginning to discover is the extraordinary significance
of Jamestown and how the Chesapeake region represents broader patterns
in the cultural formation of British America," said Crandall
Shifflett, director of graduate studies in history at Virginia Tech
and co-director of the seminar, "Jamestown and the Formation
of An American Culture." Sponsored by U.Va.s Center
for the Liberal Arts, the Charlottesville-based program will give
teachers a chance to conduct new research using important databases
of records as well as visit the major archaeological project under
way at Jamestown.
key part of the seminar and a national discussion about Jamestowns
significance will be a Web archive, "Virtual Jamestown,"
that includes historical documents, databases and other
that shed light on the intentions, backgrounds and ideals of the
colonists. The award-winning NEH-supported Web site, intended both
for classroom use and use by anyone, was created by Shifflett and
is a project of U.Va.s Virginia Center for Digital History.
G. Thomas, director of the Center for Digital History and co-director
of the teachers seminar, said the summer program will conclude
with the teachers ideas about how to teach about Jamestown
in the period leading up to the 400th anniversary in 2007. Both
Thomas and Shifflett serve on the Virginia state committee responsible
for the "content" portion of the anniversarys planning.
historians, Native Americans, African-Americans and others are uncertain
about what they are to "celebrate" in the anniversary,
Shifflett and Thomas noted, adding that it should be used as a time
for better understanding.
natives of the region, 1607 marked the beginning of the annihilation
of their culture. For Africans it marked the coming of the long
years of slavery. But Jamestown, more so than Puritan New England,
also represented the start of a social order more open than in Europe,
the historians said.
research is showing that the Chesapeake colonies, far from being
chaotic enterprises founded on get-rich-quick schemes, were strongly
based on the colonists desire to form stable families and
harmonious communities guided by religious principles. "The
pursuit of happiness," including a drive for economic and social
improvement, "was the rule in the cultural formation of British
America and the seeds were sown first at Jamestown," Shifflett
the close of the 17th century, this "Chesapeake
model," which included racial slavery, subjugation of native
peoples, commercialism, and market centers, had spread throughout
the colonies outside of New England, he said, and "in its broadest
dimensions was much more pervasive than the Puritan ideal of a chosen
additional information about the summer seminar contact the U.Va.
Center for the Liberal Arts at (804) 982-5205.
Bob Brickhouse, (804) 924-6856