Telling the Story of Bondurant's History

Graduate students in the Department of English worked with the Bondurant Historical Society to develop multimedia resources that connect Bondurant's past and future, focusing on ways to preserve community heritage and identity in the face of rapid community growth.

Bondurant is a city deeply rooted in farming and agricultural traditions, yet the community's identity is being reshaped by rapid growth. Community leaders seek to balance responsible growth and preserving the "hometown" feel that is core to the experience of living in Bondurant. Working with the recently created Bondurant Historical Society, a class of graduate students in the humanities explore this tension. Through archival research, they brought together versions of the community that articulate its character.

The class “Bioregionalism in History, Theory, and Practice” is part of Humanities for the Public Good (HPG), a new collaborative, practice-based graduate certificate currently in development and funded by a major grant from the Mellon Foundation.  A goal of the labs is to create spaces for cross-disciplinary learning.

Through the IISC’s yearlong partnership with Bondurant, the 12 students in the course taught by Eric Gidal worked with the Bondurant Historical Society to research the community’s origins and early years of development. Simultaneously, they read widely in the ecology, politics, and culture of placemaking. Guided by their multidisciplinary training in the humanities, the students created a variety of materials for the Bondurant Historical Society and wider community, including:

  • An interactive "Embodied Map Experience" walking tour booklet (printed booklet and digital version)
  • A series of essays and stories exploring Bondurant's early days
  • Curriculum materials of Bondurant History for use by educators
  • A StoryMap providing a brief history of Bondurant (view the StoryMap here!)
old yellowed photo of large white wooden house on what appears to be a large, open plot of land.
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