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From the Fragments: Places and People in Colonized New England

is an NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture week-long workshop for K–12 educators hosted at the University of New Hampshire in Seacoast New Hampshire in July 2023:

July 10 – 14 or July 17 – 21.


From the Fragments is presented by the Center for the Humanities and the Great Bay Archaeological Survey at the University of New Hampshire. We will host educators in a series of place-based encounters with global colonialism in the Great Bay Estuary. The Great Bay Estuary drains over 2400 square km in what is today New Hampshire and Maine. Its ecological distinctiveness makes it one of only 29 National Estuarine Research Reserves. This unique estuary along the Atlantic Ocean has been occupied for millennia by Abenaki/Penacook peoples, who know it as P8bagok, and it was an important early English colonial frontier starting in the early 1600s. New England holds an iconic place in understandings of early colonialism, but much of what we think is dominated by colonial Puritan Boston and Massachusetts Bay. Frontier landscapes offer the chance to learn different stories. Today, 400+ years on, we can see colonialism as a broad moment of historical change and as a global imperial project, but the people living through it, navigating complex relationships with each other and their evolving circumstances, experienced it at a very different scale -- it was their lived condition.

Over the course of the week, we will consider different communities living in this colonial frontier landscape, placing the experiences of Native Americans, indentured Scots, and enslaved Africans alongside narratives of English colonists who, while they eventually became the dominant population, were not a monolith in the 1600s. We will engage educators in developing modes of inquiry as they synthesize disciplinary content, taking action through curricular design and revisions customized for their students and contexts. Welcoming participants from many disciplines and grade levels provides opportunities for discourse vertically and horizontally, as well as within and across areas of expertise. The combination of expert lectures, immersive place-based field trips, a boat tour, hands-on time with cultural heritage materials, and online resources will help educators develop ways to share with their students a more equitable and inclusive early American story.

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