HISTORY 491 - Topics in History: HistoryLabs II
Fall 2022, Section 001 - Race, Local History, and Sundown Towns
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


In this research seminar, students will research and write about the racial histories of small towns in the United States. We will focus on suspected “sundown towns,” places where residents drove out or actively excluded specific groups from residing there (from being in a town after sunset) through ordinances, signs, and acts of violence. Sundown towns excluded Black people, and in some cases, Chinese Americans, Jewish people, and other racialized groups. Since the nineteenth century these towns have been prevalent throughout the United States and especially in the Midwest, West, and East.

Students will conduct research into these towns and work collaboratively to contribute their findings to a website devoted to documenting the history of sundown towns. Students will also research and write about the racial past of a town, exploring the racial groups and interracial interactions in that place. They will research local records, including in libraries and archives, census records, local histories, and oral histories. They will share their findings online using StoryMaps.

Public-facing goals include educating the public about sundown towns and working with local communities on how to respond to these troubling histories through acknowledgement and through concrete steps toward racial justice in their communities.

Course Requirements:

Research and writing in local history; collaborative work on a website; collaborative work on a StoryMaps project

Intended Audience:

History majors and minors; advanced undergraduates in American Culture, DAAS, RC, and other departments; students interested in public history and social justice work. Interested students should contact the professor directly at sberrey@umich.edu.

Class Format:



HISTORY 491 - Topics in History: HistoryLabs II
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
W 2:00PM - 5:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

The partner U-M / Barnes & Noble Education textbook website is the official way for U-M students to view their upcoming textbook or course material needs, whether they choose to buy from Barnes & Noble Education or not. Students also can view a customized list of their specific textbook needs by clicking a "View/Buy Textbooks" link in their course schedule in Wolverine Access.

Click the button below to view and buy textbooks for HISTORY 491.001

View/Buy Textbooks


Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for HISTORY 491 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi

CourseProfile (Atlas)

The Atlas system, developed by the Center for Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (Atlas)