Four Eras of Student Discourse At Athens State University

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This study examines 523 student newspapers from Athens State University from 1901 through 2000. The result is the discovery of unique student voices as expressed through perennial themes such as race and women’s roles. These voices are periodized into four eras in which dominant values, beliefs, behaviors, and norms vary over time. These four eras are labelled the eras of conformity, collegiality, emancipation, and vocationalism to capture their central feature. This study adds to the history of higher education by focusing on the expressions of students as reflected in the topics they wrote about in the student newspapers. The use of student newspapers as the primary source demonstrates how this type of evidence can be used to create themes which help understand the past. It also shows the development and changes in the perennial issues of race and women’s roles in small southern colleges.

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