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Peering Across the Waveline: The Challenge of Studying Uphill Vermonters

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10/19/2006

Residents of Vermont have a special affection for their state, and they take great pride in being labeled "Vermonters." Throughout the state's history, this community of "Vermonters" arguably has been deeply divided. Vermont's past has been distinguished by the cultural and ideological tension that has existed between its cosmopolitan village folk and its more parochial farming elements. It is the historian's responsibility to honestly and fairly give meaning to the inert and finished past. The attempt to claim as complete an appreciation for the past of Vermont's hill farmers - who left behind much less of a paper record - is fraught with peril. In this talk, Lyndon State College History Professor Paul Searls addresses the challenges facing scholars who seek to understand the lives of rural Vermonters in the past.

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