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Advanced History Research is designed for the seriously interested history student to participate in an original research experience that goes beyond the traditional classroom. The broad theme of the course is predetermined and typically has a connection to local Minnesota history and draws upon the expertise of individuals and professionals from outside of Breck. During the year students choose their own specific topics to investigate that are related to the overarching theme. History Research students are asked to read widely and dig deeply into primary and secondary source material in addition to interviewing and learning from individuals with direct experience and expertise in the field. Students work in both an intensively collaborative and significantly independent environment.

Students spend time reading background material during June and July and then begin their collective research and learning activities during the month of August. This often will involve a trip to see specific sites in Minnesota. In the fall, students attend the regularly scheduled Advanced History Research seminar class and continue to research, learn and discuss the broad outlines of the topic. In the second semester, students select their own specific focus of inquiry/research related to the overall topic. It is expected that students will apply to be Minnesota Scholars of Distinction, present to outside groups and the Breck community, and to submit their work to relevant publications suggested by the teacher.

This course is for rising seniors only and requires the recommendation of the History Department. It typically is offered for two years on the same topic and then the teacher and topic rotate through the department members.

Previous general topics include:

2012-2013 – Mississippi River towns: stages of development

2013-2015 – The assassination and administration of President John F. Kennedy

2015-2017 – The historical and contemporary experience of Native Americans in Minnesota