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HR 101: What we Leave Behind: Fashion and Decor Through the Ages



HR 101- What we Leave Behind: Fashion & Decor Through the Ages 

Welcome to the online version of your library instruction class for HR 101.  It is meant for you to use throughout your course. If you have any questions after our library instruction class, please feel free to contact the Library Services & Information Desk in the library, either by coming in person, by phone at 203-254-4000 x2188 or email at You can also schedule a one-on-one research appointment, or instant message us through Ask A Librarian (see box to the right).


Assignment language provided by Professor Porter and Learson:


Period Research Project

This project addresses all the material of the semester, and is in lieu of a final exam.

In this class we are examining the visual culture of various periods, though in an understandably broad fashion.  This project is your opportunity to go deeper--much deeper--into a particular culture.

You have some choices to make.  What period or culture do you want to investigate?  It might be one that we have already examined, or it might be one we examine later in the semester.  We also want you to be able to drill deeply into the culture, so we ask that you narrow the focus of your research to a particular reign or decade.  You might also want to specialize in a particular country, as these various cultural ideas are expressed differently in different countries.  This will take some preliminary research on your part.

As the specific topic of your project is up to you, we will schedule private conversations with each student, so you can explain your ideas for your project.  In those meetings, we will ensure that you have a solid game plan, and you have an appropriate scale of focus for your research.  We will be holding those meetings the week before Spring Break: February 26-March 2. 

Research may be collected from libraries, museums, the Internet, magazines and other appropriate sources.  Appropriate bibliographical annotations are expected in your written and visual documentation.  Use the course guide that our Class Librarian, Lisa Thornell has assembled [this guide].

You will gather detailed information about:

  • A particular fashion of the period. This could be a discreet decade/era (“la Belle Époque” or “the 1970’s”), a trend (“German Puffs and Slashes”), a major fashion icon (“Marie Antoinette”), or designer (“Coco Chanel”).

  • A particular public building or monument of the period.

  • A particular domestic building of the period

  • A particular piece of furniture of the period.

  • A particular decorative item of the period.

    As always, our guiding questions are:

    What are the articles?  How do they express the culture that created them?


You will gather your discoveries into:

1.  A detailed written document, explaining all that you have discovered.  Make sure your paper is well-organized, thoughtfully written, and carefully proofread.

2.  A detailed visual document that examines your discoveries, using PowerPoint.

3.  An engaging 5-7 minute presentation that unpacks one or two particular artifacts that you have researched. 

4.  A two-page summary of your research, to be used as a handout during your presentation.


This assignment is worth 30% of your course grade.


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