Foundations of America

QU201 Prof. Scott Leone

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Overview

Foundations of America explores the relationship between natural resources, immigration and rise to national prominence of the community surrounding the Stony Creek pink granite quarries from 1850 to the present. For over 150 years, the culture, economics and surrounding this precious resource has found permanent positions in U.S. History. Literally and figuratively, the Nation’s history of the past 150 years is revealed by tracing the demand for and usages of stone from Connecticut’s Stony Creek quarries by rail, land and sea. In the larger sense, Stony Creek as metaphor for similar natural resource centers around the country.

 

…understand and appreciate the cultures of the pluralistic American community, including dominant and other American cultural traditions in a way that articulates an appreciation for difference in all its forms…

 

An “oil-and-water” melting pot of European immigrants were absorbed into America’s “big boom” of national identity.  Scots, Irish, Cornish, Italians, Finns, Swedes and Chinese brought with them lifestyles and religions that scandalized the same Yankee hosts that sought and immortalized their skills, proudly exporting their work to New York, Boston, Washington, Chicago, Havana, Caracas, Paris and London.

 

Stony Creek pink granite, the nation’s signature stone, lines city streets, forms the foundations and facades of America’s great monuments, bridges and landmarks, each with its own historical context both local and national. The native stone forms the base of the Stature of Liberty, Grand Central Station, the Lincoln memorial and lives today in thousands of national monuments and architectural treasures, Pennsylvania Station in New York City, Boston Public Library, the George Washington Bridge, and the Battle Monument at West Point. Even the Connecticut state legislature resides within tons of pink granite, as does Quinnipiac University.

 

... critically examine what it means to assume a role of informed citizenship and leadership in the United States of America (by studying and recreating modern equivalents of existing monuments and landmarks.)

 

The history of many American monuments and movements, their underlying motivation instills the individual entrepreneurialism to leads the national community. Such permanent symbols at once reinforce, unify and direct the culture of tomorrow. It is a metaphor of tradition and transition, knitting together the disparate but synonymous histories of many localities from one era to the next, both successful and unsuccessful.

 

… use information resources for quantitative and qualitative research and inquiry in critical examinations of major themes and concepts that structure American life.

o    Immigration data figures

o    Population of  New Haven area

o    Rise of railroads (local opportunity and mobility)

o    Rise of monuments in an age of nationalism

o    Rise of native Stone, craftsmanship, growth of trades and opportunity

 

 

Interdisciplinary Potential

Students will help develop a “Foundations of America” curriculum for K-12, and develop a national web (wiki) presence in which participants in schools across the country participate by adding their own local images, investigations and interactions with historical societies and public archives. Educational modules and learning units can overlap with almost any discipline within the University.





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