Students Present Prohibition Research – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Students Present Prohibition Research

John Marks, curator of the Geneva Historical Society and an adjunct instructor of history, and students taking his course, “Public History: The Theory and Practice of Making History Relevant,” will deliver a presentation on Geneva’s Prohibition Era (1919-1933) during the next Geneva Night Out event on Friday, Nov. 1.

Launched earlier this year, Geneva Night Out showcases the talents of local artists and hosts various exhibits. The community-wide event is held on the first Friday of each month in locations throughout the city.

From flapper fashions to old-fashioned bootlegging, the students in Marks’ course have researched and dissected multiple aspects of the historic past of Prohibition in Geneva, with research presentations displayed as posters or short videos.

“This is the first opportunity I’ve had to assign projects that will be on display for the public,” Marks says. “The goal is to have students take academic research and present it effectively to a non-academic audience.”

The Nov. 1 presentation on Geneva’s Prohibition Era will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Hucker Gallery of the Geneva Historical Museum located at 543 S. Main St. The event is free to the public. In addition, Marks will conduct a short talk about Prohibition that ties each of the projects together. The projects will be on display throughout the month of November.

“I am working on a poster about domestic winemaking in the Italian community of Geneva,” says Erica Randazzo ’15. “I’ve really enjoyed gathering information from the great resources the Colleges and Geneva have to offer.”

Randazzo says she is excited to present her work at Geneva Night Out, as it was a rigorous research process that proved successful in the end.

“Geneva Night Out is the perfect forum to bridge the private nature of academics with members of the Geneva community,” she says. “Through the public history class, I’ve learned that Geneva has a very vibrant history which doesn’t start and end in the classroom.”

In addition, the students’ presentation is an example of the many connections the event offers between the HWS community and Geneva.

Clara Lowenberg ’15, who also worked on the project, shares Randazzo’s belief.

“I have worked to present an accurate portrayal of life back then, and I hope that my work reflects that,” says Lowenburg, who will present on the bootlegging of Italian immigrants.

She says her academic research has helped her feel more connected to her off-campus community.

“The class has really allowed me to better engage with the Geneva community,” she says.