ACCC’s College-wide Book Project 2007-2008 ACCC’s College-wide Book Project: The Basics Here at Atlantic Cape Community College, we believe that the experience of our community is a huge part of our students’ education. To foster the community spirit, ACCC chooses one book each year for its students, faculty, and staff to read in collaboration. The book is just not any book, however. It must meet certain criteria: contain about 250 pages (or close to this number) have multiple themes for application in many courses be accessible to students at all levels This “College-wide Book” isn’t easy to choose, and we need your help! As you read, keep note of any book you think may make a great college-wide book! (Don’t forget the three stipulations of the previous slide…) Watch the Communicator for announcements about next year’s book selection and this year’s events! Meet this year’s College-wide Book, The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diamant, author of The Red Tent. “Set on the high ground at the heart of Cape Ann, the village of Dogtown is peopled by widows, orphans, spinsters, scoundrels, whores, free Africans, and ‘witches.’ Among the inhabitants of this hamlet are Black Ruth, who dresses as a man and works as a stonemason; Mrs. Stanley, an imperious madam whose grandson, Sammy, comes of age in her brothel; Oliver Younger, who survives a miserable childhood at the hands of his aunt; and Cornelius Finson, a freed slave. At the center of it all is Judy Rhines, a fiercely independent soul, deeply lonely, who nonetheless builds a life for herself against all imaginable odds…” (Diamant’s back cover) The Last Days of Dogtown Reading Context A novel by Anita Diamant Does Dogtown really exist? Does Dogtown really exist? (page 2) “Dogtown is known for its woods and for its boulders and rock formations left behind when the last glaciers melted. Because of the availability of water, in 1642, the Commons Settlement was located here and was for a century the most prosperous part of Gloucester”. http://myweb.northshore.edu/users/ccarlsen/poetry/gloucester/dogtownhistory.html Does Dogtown really exist? (page 3) “A change in economic conditions after 1750 brought about the decline of the Commons Settlement and the onset of Dogtown. Deforestation, an absence of pirates, and the victory over the British in the Revolutionary War brought the Commons Settlement’s more successful families to the harbor. Their properties were rented, often to the less well-to-do, and sometimes to widows of Revolutionary War soldiers, whose use of dogs for protection and companionship helped coin the name Dogtown”. http://myweb.northshore.edu/users/ccarlsen/poetry/gloucester/dogtownhistory.html Does Dogtown really exist? (page 4) “Until 1830, when the last resident of Dogtown, Black Neil, was taken to the poorhouse, the area spiraled downward into a depression. It was during this era that many of the colorful characters that have come to be associated with Dogtown made their impressions on Gloucester history and lore”. http://myweb.northshore.edu/users/ccarlsen/poetry/gloucester/dogtownhistory.html Dogtown Today “The modern twentieth century history of Dogtown is the story of its becoming a natural resource for Gloucester. Naturalist, historian, and philanthropist Roger Babson (1875-1967) is the man most responsible for this”. http://myweb.northshore.edu/users/ccarlsen/poetry/gloucester/dogtownhistory.html Contrasting Characters “After the Revolution, when the Commons Settlement became known as Dogtown, two among many legendary figures emerged: Judith Rhines and Tammy Younger, “witches” behaving badly during the depressed decades of Dogtown in the 1800’s”. http://myweb.northshore.edu/users/ccarlsen/poetry/gloucester/dogtownhistory.html 19th Century Life The Road to Dogtown… Some important themes: Abolitionism Alcoholism Canine behavior Homeopathic medicine Poverty Prostitution Racial tension Slavery Sexuality ACCC’s Website for The Last Days of Dogtown (Courtesy of Kathy Fritz): http://www.atlantic.edu/library/ TheLastdaysofDogtown.htm This all sounds great, but how do I incorporate The Last Days of Dogtown into my class? That’s a good question! Here are some suggestions for using the College-wide Book in your class. Allied Health, Nursing, and Physical Education Create the nutrition label for Easter Carter’s potato and cabbage stew; Oliver’s cold biscuit with goose fat spread; and Cornelius’ salted, fried ducks. Research the best types of physical labor (logsplitting, stone masonry, etc) for creating lean muscle mass. Compare and contrast the eating habits of the Commons Settlement inhabitants with the eating habits of your family. Write a report on the best ways to care for a toothache (Tammy), a hangover (Stanwood), or syphillis AKA “French pox” (Stanwood). Arts and Humanities Craft a scene from the novel in clay (or with paint, charcoals, pencils, etc. on canvas or paper). Draw your depiction of one of the characters from the book. Research the clothing so that your character fits into his/her time period. Write an article to appear in The New York Times Book Review on the book. Consider the racial tensions in the book; how are they consistent or inconsistent with historical testimonies of the time? Research witchcraft—its main tenets, believers, changing representations through time. Create a one-act play based on one of the characters of the book. Have the character reflect on his time in Dogtown. Business Create a business plan for an item or idea you think would have found success in Dogtown in the early 1800s. Research the legality of prostitution from the 1800s to the present in the US. How have the laws changed? How have the penalties for breaking the laws changed? Look into the incomes of poverty-stricken communities that border wealthy communities. What trends are there? Consider the poor communities that manage: how do they survive? Computer Information Systems Create a website for one of the book’s characters. What would he/she be selling? Add links to items he/she would like the viewers to see and/or buy. Create a user’s manual for Dogtown’s residents on modern computers. Explain the computer and its purposes. Teach the residents, in layman’s terms, how to surf the web for some items they might be interested in reading about (assume they can read!). Craft your own College-wide Book website for the novel. Show your visitors what you think is important in the book. Culinary Arts Rewrite Cornelius’ recipe for fried ducks. Add your own flourishes that would be consistent with New England fare. Create a going away cake for Cornelius Finch, Dogtown’s last resident. Use ingredients that would be easy to find in or around the Commons Settlement of the 1800s, and considering Cornelius’ personality, decorate the cake in a way Cornelius might have liked. Create the menu for a peasants’ fare restaurant that focused on simple, tasty dishes at affordable costs. Consider the layout and design of your menu as much as your menu’s items. English Write a character analysis of one of the many colorful characters in the novel. Have the class work together to create its own Cliff Notes for the text, summarizing, interpreting, and providing context for readers of the novel. Show how well you know your stuff: place a character from our textbook into Dogtown. What would he/she do there? With whom would he/she be friends? Write an essay on the most important theme in the book. How was this theme integral to Diamant’s telling of the story? Research the treatment of U.S. Africans during the Antebellum years. Write a report on this treatment. Then, write a fictional account of either Cornelius or Black Ruth that captures the character’s experience in Dogtown. English as a Second Language and Modern Languages In whichever language is being studied: Write a letter to Anita Diamant explaining what her book taught you about life in the early 1800s. Prepare a speech on why Gloucester should or should not have helped fund Dogtown so that, due to its increasing and debilitating poverty levels, it would not have disappeared. Write a summary of your favorite chapter; then, explain why this chapter stands out to you. Listen to instrumental music that would be popular in New England in the early 1800s. Write the lyrics to one song you like. Math and Science Research Whale’s Jaw and what led to its partial collapse. Look into homeopathic medicine and its use through time. Which medicines seem the most common and successful? Study the effects of malnutrition on the poor of the early 1800s and compare/contrast with the poor of today. Find out what percentage of sunlight the Commons Settlement would have received in the early 1800s, and write a report that calculates how that percentage has changed since then. Create a formula that illustrates the creation of a pack of dogs (include likely litter numbers and deaths per year). Social Science Research other ghost towns (many in NJ) and what led to their extinction. Read about the landscape of the Commons Settlement and explain how the story would be different if set in another part of the country. Pick one particular area of the country that you don’t know well. Create an educational field-trip for grammar school students to visit a local ghost-town. Study the effects of poverty on self-esteem, social skills, and health. Look into alcoholism and other addictions that are commonplace in poor communities. The road to Dogtown continues… •Join us at the Country Living Fair on Oct. 21st. •Join us for other events to come… •All events will be announced in the Communicator. •Consider using the novel in your Spring courses. •Please contact us by October 11th if you are interested. •We’ll need your course number, section number, and estimated enrollment.