Arthur Knight
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Williamsburg Documentary Project

The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) began in 2005.  It runs every spring term at the College of William & Mary as a collective research lab, which focuses on large questions of American social, cultural, and political history through the case of Williamsburg, VA.  

The WDP strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia--but especially it focuses on the town's post-colonial and post-Colonial-Williamsburg pasts.

By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg's recent past.  

The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg, both in its local uniqueness and in larger contexts, by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

Over the years the word "documentary" has sometimes caused confusion.  The main goal of the WDP is not creating documentary films--though it has, in fact, produced at least one.  We mean documentary in the broader sense of gathering and creating all sorts of documents in all sorts of media.

You can see the WDP's blog (currently inactive) here.

And you can find out more about the materials the WDP has collected and deposted in W&M's Swem Library here.

I was the founding instructor for the WDP, and taught its first six iterations (2005-2010).  Since then it has been taught by my colleagues Jennifer Taylor, Sarah Glosson, and Michelle Lelievre.  

The WDP is also proud to have helped some similar projects at William & Mary, for example, the "Integration at Work" project, which explored race in William and Mary's labor history (you can find its report here) and the ongoing William & Mary Mattachine LGBTIQ Research Project (you can find info here and here).