Why Duffy's Cut?

Duffy's Cut: Investigating Immigration, Industrialization, and Illness in 19th Century America. "A Perfect Storm"

In the summer of 1832, fifty-seven Irish immigrant laborers died of violence and disease at a railroad site called "Duffy's Cut." Forensic evidence suggests that only six weeks after coming to America, these immigrants were quarantined at the railroad site where they worked and were murdered. This tragic event encompasses several themes in early American history, including immigration and nativism, railroad and industrial expansion, and epidemic disease and public health. The Institute will explore how the converging of these themes created "A Perfect Storm" in which tragedy at Duffy's Cut would not have otherwise occurred. The investigation to uncover this important event entailed interdisciplinary research involving historians, geologists, archaeologist, physical anthropologists, and forensic scientists.

Organized by Dr. William Watson, a history professor, published author and founding member of the Duffy's Project and Immaculata University, 6 to 12th grade teachers can apply for Duffy's Cut: Investigating Immigration, Industrialization, and Illness in 19th Century America, "A Perfect Storm". NEH Summer Scholars will spend three weeks at Immaculata University and the surrounding area engaging in vigorous discussions about this critical time period in American and Irish history. The Institute will facilitate the incorporation of these themes into curricula for middle school and high school teachers in history, social studies, literature, music, language arts, and the sciences.

Benefits include:

  • Stimulating readings and discussions with scholars and peers
  • Time to explore and create practical applications for your classroom
  • A $2,700 stipend to defray travel, lodging, and study expenses
  • A chance to experience Duffy's Cut, Immaculata University, University of Pennsylvania Anthropology Museum and much more.
NEHImmaculata UniversityDuffy's CutPenn Museum

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities

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