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The History of Washington, DC: Promise and Paradox

The W&M Washington Center is please to welcome back Professor Adrienne Petty to Hybrid DC Summer Sessions!
  • 3 credits

This hybrid course will introduce students to the history of Washington, D.C. since the era of Civil War and emancipation. From its founding, D.C. has symbolized freedom and democracy. Yet the city abounds with contradictions. Until 1862, the seat of government also was a site of slavery and the slave trade. Today, district residents continue to be subjected to taxation without representation. By focusing on the city’s residents, economy, and culture, students will examine how and why Washington the city has so often stood in contradiction to the ideals and promise of Washington the Nation’s Capital. 

 During the in-person week in D.C., students will take walking tours of D.C. neighborhoods, and hear from a range of speakers currently preserving the city’s history and working for local political change. Students will leave the class not only with a better understanding of the city’s past but also with enhanced skills in reading, conducting research, and writing that they will carry into their professional lives.