Week 3 – September 19

Searching for Sensational Trials

What are sensational trials? What can they tell us about life, culture and society in United States history? How might you find them?

Before class:

  • Watch: Google, How Search Works on YouTube (approx. 3 min.)
  • Read: Caleb Crain, “In Search of Lost Crime,” Legal Affairs, July/August 2002
  • Read: Michael Ayres Trotti, “The Lure of the Sensational Murder,” Journal of Social History 35 no. 2 (2001): pp 429-443. [Available through Mason Libraries].
  • Browse: Douglas O. Linder, “Famous Trials,” University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law (2016) and come to class with a few trials (prior to 1960) that interest you.

In-Class Workshop

We’ll do an online scavenger hunt and learn how to find sources about sensational trials. Dr. George Oberle will join us to talk about online database resources available through GMU Libraries.

Blog Assignment:

Blog Post #1 due Saturday, September 24th by 5pm.

Prompt: Either from Linder’s site “Famous Trials” or generally from what you can find out online about sensational trials in American history, please pick one or two (or three) famous or sensational trials that occurred before 1960 and discuss:

  1. your initial interest in the trial(s);
  2. other sites, groups or organizations which have written or produced something about the trials. (This can include movies, documentaries, television shows, books, articles, comics, etc); and
  3. what you hope to learn by researching this/these trial(s).