For the past several years, I have been attempting to gather a list of potential history thesis topics for local college students. I find that students often research and write on broad national themes without knowing that there are equally relevant -- and sometimes more dynamic -- local stories that have never been examined. It is a win-win when students write on local topics. We benefit from their research and findings, while they are provided a richer experience working with primary source materials in local archives and libraries. In addition, local topics give students opportunities to present their work to audiences outside of academia. Follow the link below to view a list of topics that have been identified by a team of local historians. These topics are intentionally broad. It is the responsibility of the student to narrow a topic into a manageable study. To aid this process, most of the descriptions contain a series of questions as examples of how the topic could be focused. All descriptions contain a quick summary of primary source materials (newspapers, photographs, letters, paintings, maps, etc.) that are available in local archives and libraries.
Students: These topics vary in their level of difficulty. Some topics contain an overwhelming amount of primary source material, which is both a blessing and a challenge, while others will offer little outside of period newspapers articles. Some topics relate to popular national subjects and will require a copious amount of time reading for your historiography. For others, you will need to cast a broad net to find published studies that even somewhat relate to the topic (as was the case with my college thesis). It is your responsibility to examine some of the primary and secondary materials before deciding to commit to the task. If you decide to work on one of the topics identified below, I ask that you please send me a note to let me know, as well as a copy of the paper once it is finished.
I will periodically revise and add to this list, so please visit this page for the most up-to-date information and list of topics. If you have a topic to suggest, please pass it along. To read the full link, please click on the link below.