… to “Hamilton in Context.”

In Spring 2018, I asked students in English 698 “Capstone: Hamilton” to begin creating an online resource to accompany the musical Hamilton, so others could have information about the musical and its themes. Another set of students in English 695 “Hamilton in Context” continued the project in Fall 2019.

Students chose from a list of over 100 people, places, and cultural references that appear in the musical Hamilton, and they followed assignment directions and expectations to share historical background, a close reading of the scene where the reference first appears, and insights on a key theme that emerges when we experience the musical through the lens of that reference. Entries earning high marks appear here on this site.

The debut of Hamilton on the small screen is the catalyst for finally getting these perspectives shared out beyond the classroom. Additional entries will appear in the weeks ahead.

For now, we start with the Washington Monument, a line from South Pacific, the myth of Icarus, a line from the Bible, and John Laurens.

Many thanks to the students who brought such energy, insight, and acumen to their projects and to our class discussions — and for their patience during the past months. Their work offers a glimpse into the complex cultural nexus that creates Hamilton: An American Musical.

— Karin Westman, Associate Professor/Department Head, English, Kansas State University | Site Editor

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