The larger objective of this, the final seminar in the American Studies Program, is serve as a capstone to the Program, that is, to provide a space in which the interdisciplinary work you've been doing for the past two years -- as well as the web skills you've acquired along the way -- can be honed, integrated and applied.

It may seem that this objective has been compromised by the circumstances surrounding the course, the emergency that forced Professor Wilk to take a leave of absence this term as well as the necessity of my taking over her class when you should be getting the advantage of a perspective you aren't already familiar with. Her topic, On the Road in America strikes me as wonderful, but its just not one I can pick up and teach on two days' notice. So we're going to have to do something else.

In part, that something else is that we're going to have to design our own course. This may prove a recipe for disaster, but at this point I prefer to think of it as an opportunity, a challenge perfectly in keeping with the motto of AS@UVA, We Do American Studies.

What I've done to this point, then, is merely to select the general topic area for the course, The Depression in America, and to set in a few readings and resources to help orient us here at the beginning. Where I'd like us to wind up in the first week of May is to have produced a web project that is as beautiful as it is useful. What that will be, and most importantly, how we'll get there, is something we'll have to hammer out in the first weeks of the semester.