Honors Abstracts 2016
Mallory Allred, “Life Magaziner and the Collapse of the Idyllic American Middle-Class Myth.” This paper analyzed the cultural changes that led to the ceasing of weekly Life issues in 1972.I situate the analysis in a 1950s and 1960s context. I begin the paper by exploring the content of the magazine in the 1950s. The paper then transitions to an analysis of the early 1960s. By focusing on infamous events, the paper is situated in the readers’ familiarity with the 1960s. Assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King introduce the discussion. The temporal separations between the two events and the different types of coverage justify the ways in which Life tried, but failed to change its story telling model from the 1950s. Engaging in both visual and statistical analysis, I developed an argument reading the increasing disconnect between the American people’s desires and what was shown in the magazine through the scope of the Vietnam War. I then transitioned to an exploration of the cultural forces that undercut the cultural changes. These included but were not limited to increased college education, the growth of television, and the changing role of the consumer. I then related these shifts to the development of special interest publications in the magazine industry. These special interest publications directly competed with Life. I then analyzed a few covers form the 1970s to demonstrate that a visual disconnect and financial struggles resulted in Life’s declining popularity. The Kent State Shooting of 1970 was discussed to show how people reacted with multiple opinions to Life’s coverage. I concluded with a 1972 cover of Life which showed how disconnected the magazine had become by its final year. Several months later, Life, one of the United States’ most popular magazines would never again publish a weekly issue.
Hannah Alms. By examining Eleanor Roosevelt’s syndicated newspaper column, “My Day”, which ran six days a week from 1936 to 1962, this research attempts to reach a fuller understanding of the First Lady’s public persona. More specifically, I examined the columns from 1936, 1940, 1944, 1952, 1956, and 1960 to compare how Roosevelt addressed her campaign work for FDR and Adlai Stevenson and to reveal gradual changes in the column (and Roosevelt’s public image) over time. Additionally, secondary sources and primary documents accessed at the FDR Presidential Library in Hyde Park, New York and the Library of Congress were used to compare Roosevelt’s involvement in different campaigns and understand how “My Day” was conceptualized and managed by United Feature Syndicate, Roosevelt’s literary agents, and Roosevelt herself. Ultimately, great contrast was discovered between the 1936 and 1960 columns, including a rebranding of the column in 1960 that was not discussed in secondary sources. Furthermore, examining newspaper coverage of Roosevelt during FDR and Stevenson’s election years demonstrates the extent to which gendered notions of power and personality dominated Roosevelt’s public image. The extent to which these gendered stereotypes and descriptions remained prominent throughout Roosevelt’s life challenges common narratives about progression toward gender equity throughout the twentieth century and demonstrates the need for further research into the scope and meanings of public femininity in the mid-twentieth century.
Oliva Clark, “Disco Killed Disco: What Disco’s Death Tells Us about the Study of the History of Popular Culture.” This thesis attempts to dispel the mythic phrase “Disco Sucks.” A product of the decade long thought to be the dark ages of modern American history, disco exists in contemporary consciousness as a vapid dance and musical genre. What could such a phenomenon, let alone its death, tell us about the study of popular culture? Not only was disco a valid cultural movement of liberation, but it offers an interesting case study of how historians actually do pop culture history. In an attempt to validate disco, scholars have reveled in its populist underground roots to show its importance to such movements as gay liberation, desegregation, sexual exploration, and music innovation. These same historians then almost completely write off the mainstream disco of Saturday Night Fever, Studio 54, and the Bee Gees. Through an examination of the dominant popular culture theory and the stages of disco’s life cycle, this study uses disco’s death as a touch point to demonstrate a larger gap in popular culture studies. Studying disco in its entirety, instead of a postmodern binary of good underground disco and bad mainstream disco, provides a lens to view the popular response to the stress and stagnation of the 1970s. Those who study disco need to better develop their theories so as to make room for its different types, from the underground to the Bee Gees. Disco had no shame, so scholars should not either. Adviser: Michele Gillespie.
Emma Dolgos, “The Cycle of Revelation and Amnesia: Acceptance of Water Torture in the United States from the Spanish-American War to Post-9/11 America.” In 2009, President Obama released a series of memoranda drafted by John Yoo and Jay S. Bybee, lawyers in the Department of Justice (DOJ) during the Bush administration, detailing the United States government’s official policy on torture. This revelation renewed the public discussion of torture practices, including waterboarding, used by the US military and the CIA. The press and the American public treated torture as a recent phenomenon. This paper, however, argues that the United States government has maintained a consistent water torture policy from the Spanish-American War in 1903 to the release of the “torture memos” in 2009. Analyzing courts-martial decisions, Senate committee reports, CIA manuals, and DOJ memoranda, this paper demonstrates that the courts-martial during the Spanish-American War and the executive lawyers in post-9/11 America used similar legal interpretations – context, liberal interpretations, and deference to domestic law – to permit United States government officials to justify water torture as an appropriate military and intelligence action. Finally, this paper seeks to explain how the cycle of revelation and amnesia of official torture policies in the American public’s collective memory allows the public to discount United States as a perpetrator of war crimes and the US government to legally justify waterboarding. Adviser: Professor Robert Hellyer.
Jonathan Friedman, “From Nuremberg to the ICTY: Command Responsibility for War Crimes in International Criminal Law.” This paper analyzes the application of the crime of command responsibility from the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg (IMT) in 1945-46 to the present day International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. A contextual analysis of the trials of Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Tomoyuki Yamashita, and Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic, three cases involving high-ranking government and military officials in command of military and state security units who committed war crimes such as murder, deportation, and execution, reveals how the notion of command responsibility has evolved over time. The analysis draws mostly on court documents from the aforementioned trials, as well as from scholarly sources that examine the crime of command responsibility. This paper identifies the source of the current instability regarding the interpretation of command responsibility by supranational judicial bodies and discusses what implications it might have regarding the future of international law. While the ICTY has avoided the victors’ justice that threatens the legacy of the IMT, its inconsistent interpretation of the crime of command responsibility directly threatens its efficacy as a platform upon which to try high-ranking officials. This paper suggests that the controversial acquittal of Stanisic and Simatovic, in the context of past trials, may have significant consequences for command responsibility moving forward. In so doing, it also questions whether international law can ever truly be separated from the political agendas of hegemonic powers.
Caroline Green., In the 1950s, national parks experienced an unprecedented tourist boom as a result of post-War economic and political conditions that fed mass consumerism. Cultural outlets, like National Geographic Magazine, not only appealed to the white, middle-class public that had the means to participate in mass consumption, but through them also propagated a traditional ideology of land preservation. In this principle of preservation, the environment was an untainted, consumable object, separate yet subject to human intervention. While national park policy was complicit in that ideology of accessible wilderness and curated a superficial experience of nature, individual park rangers proposed a radical ethic of symbiosis at odds with the institution they served.
Emma Huelskamp, “The Symptoms of Empire: Early Anglo-Russian Relations.” A relationship was formed quite by chance in 1553 when a fleet of British explorers drifted to the mouth of the Dvina River on the coast of Muscovy. This project focuses on the intersection of trade, politics, and cultural perception in Elizabethan England and early modern Moscow. By analyzing the correspondence, actions, and perceived religious and cultural identities of Elizabeth the I of England and Ivan IV of Moscow, this paper argues that the trade negotiations between the two states broke down as a result of a dissonance in each state’s political needs and discordant ideas about the alliance. This study relies on ethnographic accounts of Muscovy written by British and mainland European authors, as well as official letters and accounts from the Muscovy Company. Its larger significance is to provide a new perspective on the ways in which this cultural and trade relationship helped or hindered the development of these two mercantile empires in the early modern period.
Taylor Lackey, “Catholics, Communists, and Foreign Cinema: Rethinking Red Scare Narratives using The Miracle Case.” In 1950 The Paris Theater in Manhattan began screening the Roberto Rossellini film The Miracle. After the film’s release Francis Cardinal Spellman, the archbishop of New York, criticized the film as an attempt by “the minions of Moscow [to] enslave this land of liberty.” Though the film contained no communist message, the Cardinal took a firm and public stance. The New York State Board of Regents revoked the film’s license, and forbade screenings of The Miracle in the state. The film’s distributor appealed the decision in a dispute that eventually reached the Supreme Court in the 1952 case Burstyn v. Wilson. The Court unanimously voted to reverse New York’s ban and declared that the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech protected the right to show films.
Lee Larson, “The Shadow of the Nixon Pardon: The Impact of Gerald ford’s Decision on Politics and Economic Policy in the United States.” Just one month into his Presidential term, Gerald Ford issued a full and unconditional pardon for his predecessor, Richard Nixon. Ford’s pardon was a momentous event in his truncated tenure, and although the action initially enraged the voting public, most scholars now view the pardon as a positive, healing action. In contrast, this paper argues that the pardon increased public cynicism, demonstrated that political clout could overpower the justice system, and accelerated partisanship in government. Additionally, the pardon prevented Ford from addressing the nation’s most pressing domestic problem in an effective manner. During the 1970s, the United States faced the novel economic problem of simultaneous increasing inflation and declining output, known colloquially as “stagflation.” President Ford and his advisors, Alan Greenspan, William Simon, and William Seidman correctly focused on fighting inflation first, and borrowed many ideas from the newly developed economic theory of monetarism. But the pardon decision alienated the Congress, the national media, and many Americans, and this opposition prevented Ford and his administration from implementing a complete and coherent monetarist solution. Ford lost the election of 1976 to Jimmy Carter, and the nation’s economic problems would persist until the early 1980s. Eventually, President Reagan and Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker implemented monetarism by dramatically raising interest rates in order to rein in inflation. President Ford’s term therefore represents a turning point in politics and economics: his pardon of Nixon sustained the political turmoil and disenchantment begun by the Vietnam War and Watergate, but Ford also worked to apply inventive monetarist solutions to the problem of stagflation. Unfortunately, the Congressional and popular opposition to his pardon decision precluded an exhaustive application of monetarism, and Americans suffered through five more years of economic turmoil.
Christian Miller, “From Savagery to Civility: The Carlisle Indian School, Football, & the Democratization of the Early Twentieth-Century Newspaper.” After fighting in the American Civil War, Colonel Richard Henry Pratt spent eight years in the Midwest managing United States military relations with Native American tribes. Pratt promoted a policy of peace when dealing with Native Americans, and in 1879 the military granted Pratt old army barracks in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he opened the Carlisle Indian School, a boarding school for young Native Americans meant to assimilate students into American society. Modeling his school after Ivy League universities, Pratt adopted the upper-class sport of football in 1892 in the hope that the intelligence and teamwork necessary for success on the field would translate into their daily lives. As the Carlisle Indians began competing with the nation’s best teams, Ivy League schools, newspapers across the country, but particularly in New York City, began covering these clashes of “savagery” and “civility.” Early in the program’s history, newspapers’ main target audience, lower-class immigrant readers, enjoyed reading sensationalized, melodramatic reports of Carlisle’s football games. Over time, however, lower-class readers found more in common with the “savage” Indian than with the “civilized” Ivy Leaguer. The football games between Carlisle and its Ivy League opponents did not sway public opinion or convince the American public that Native Americans were capable or manly. Instead, the newspapers covered Carlisle’s games because the team interested their readers, and varied their coverage based on how their readers viewed the Carlisle team. In doing so, the newspapers gave the lower class a voice, and with this voice, power. The coverage of the Carlisle Indians stems from new groups and cultures arguing for acceptance in a rapidly changing America. This desire manifested itself in newspapers as they battled for lower-class immigrant readers, which, in turn, influenced popular culture as a whole.
Alexis Slater, “How to Garner Positive Public Opinion While Conquering the World: Alexander the Great and the Burning of the Palace at Persepolis.” The palace of Persepolis stood for centuries as a symbol of the greatness, wealth, and power of the Persian monarchy until Alexander the Great burned down the palace in 330 BCE. The rationale behind Alexander’s burning of the great palace has been debated since antiquity. The explanations presented by the ancient historians (off of which modern historians base their own arguments) are as follows: Greek revenge for the destruction of Athens by the Persians, Persian hatred of the Greeks, Greek hatred of the Persians, and lastly, the idea that it may have been the drunken suggestion of a prostitute at a party.
Alexander, as hegemon of the League of Corinth, needed to appease the Greeks in order to maintain stability in the West as he travelled further east. He could not go back to Greece himself for fear of losing Darius and the Persian Empire forever, so he completed an action that demonstrated to the Greeks that he was fighting on their behalf and enacting revenge for the wrongs that the Persians committed against them a century and a half earlier. At the same time, Alexander’s decision in the moment of the burning was very likely an attempt on his part to destroy the palace because of the potential opposition to his rule that it posed. He would never be accepted by the Persians as a legitimate successor to Darius, because he was not Persian, Aryan or Achaemenid. The palace symbolized everything he wasn’t and his destruction of it was the destruction of opposition. His personal reason for the burning of the palace was to ensure that he could achieve his goal of becoming ruler of the world. His strategically publicized explanation for the burning was one that ensured the continuation of the empire he had already conquered in the West.
Honors Abstracts 2015
Caroline Angle, “Picturing Algeria: French Colonial PHotography as Immigration Propaganda, 1830-1888.” In 1839, a Parisian scientist named Jacques Louis Mandé Daguerre created the first daguerreotype photograph of a Paris street. His invention, created only nine years after the French invasion of Algiers, would come to have a critical function in the establishment of the Algerian colony and the formation of an iconography of French superiority and power.
Throughout the nineteenth century, French photographers traveling through Algeria created thousands of images with their colonizing cameras, staging and posing Algeria’s landscape, its people, and its architecture to fit within an Orientalizing lens. The photographs they sent back to France depicted typical scènes et types of Algerian life, portraying native Algerians’ penchant for leisure activities, explicit sexuality, military ineptitude, and architectural inferiority. These photographs were created with an express purpose: to construct an illusion of Algerian life as simplistic, secure, and fully under French control in order to encourage reluctant colonists to settle in the new territory. By carefully interpreting these photographs and deconstructing relationships of power between colonizer and colony, this paper presents the iconographic and artistic stereotypes that encouraged French immigration to Algeria and that continue to affect the way we picture and present Algerians and North Africans through the present day. Adviser: Professor Nate Plageman.
Alison Fieldhouse, “Identity management: Liberalization, Taiwanese Youth, and Popular Band Mayday in the International Arena.” The Liberalization and Taiwanization Movements of the late 1980’s and 1990’s fostered democratic values among the Taiwanese people. These values were newly transmittable due to a burgeoning independent media, specifically in the realm of popular music. Under Taiwanization, Taiwanese youth began to cultivate a new self-conception distinct from the Mainland. On the other hand, economic reforms launched in the People’s Republic of China since 1978 also ushered in a new era of Cross-Strait dialogue and economic integration. Popular bands like Mayday, who see their music as both a passion and a business, increasingly needed to navigate the global market delicately, with regards to identity, in order to maintain both their Taiwan and mainland China fan base. When students of the Sunflower Movement occupied the Legislative Yuan from March 18 to April 10, 2014 in protest of the controversial Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement, it functioned not only as a manifestation of “Taiwanization,” but also revealed the tricky nature of Cross-strait relations. Mayday’s desire to stay true to their fans becomes difficult when these fans attempt to politicize the band, pulling them to one side of the Taiwan issue over the other, as it jeopardizes the band’s multiple markets. This thesis demonstrates that although Mayday must tread carefully in managing their identity internationally, their continued popularity amongst their Taiwanese fans lends them credibility as representatives of their homeland, allowing them to convey what it means to be “Taiwanese” abroad through the moving lyrics of the songs they now perform worldwide.
Brittany Forniotis, “Divisive Unifier: The Antebellum Rhetoric of Lincoln, the Southern Reaction, and its Impact on the Union.” This research considers the nature of Abraham Lincoln’s oratorical rhetoric before the beginning of the Civil War. The specific goal of the project is to show how Lincoln’s divisive ideologies and tonalities show his intent as a party-driven politician of the Whig and Republican parties, instead of the mythicized Unifier persona attributed to him in both public and historical memory. The speeches examined include the Peoria Speech, the House Divided Speech, and his Inaugural Address, among other major speeches. To understand the reverberations of Lincoln’s words and those of his party, Southern newspaper articles were analyzed for their reactions to Whig and Republican platforms. Overall, Lincoln’s speeches reveal him to be motivated to win the favor of the people as a sectional politician. However, the Southern presses show that more attention was placed on the Republican party rather than Lincoln himself, making his role in the road to the Civil War before his nomination for presidency negligible.
Samantha Geary, “London’s ‘Little Africa’: Turn-of-the 20th Century Human Zoos within London’s Colonial Exhibitions, and Their Contributions to Public Understandings of ‘African-ness.'” Zoos as we know them have not always been reserved for animal species. In fact, beginning in the mid-19th century and lasting through the mid-20th century, commercial exhibitions of human beings were common among colonial powers in Europe and North America. London’s “Little Africa”: Turn-of-the 20th Century Human Zoos within London’s Colonial Exhibitions, and Their Contributions to Public Understandings of “African-ness” examines African human zoos featured within London’s late 19th and early 20th century colonial exhibitions in order to gain insight into their impact on public conceptions of Africa and its people. Through analysis of exhibition programs, newspaper articles, and a series of non-archival postcards- never before employed in scholarly analysis- in an attempt to understand the human zoo experience as well as the surrounding discourse, it becomes evident that these attractions were incredibly formative in casting African people as the “primitive other,” both for the exhibition-goer as well as the broader British public. The implications of this exhibition-born conception of “African-ness” can be seen historically, with the British public accepting, if not encouraging the destructive forces of colonialism in Africa, as well as contemporarily, with modern ideology and prejudice concerning race finding its roots in the human zoo.
Alex Gromer, “A War of Expectations: Loyalist and Patriot Writing in Colonial Newspapers.” This paper contains a comparative analysis of the writing in loyalist and patriot newspapers during the American Revolutionary War. An examination of the rhetorical themes and trends in these newspapers reveals both the differences and a fundamental similarity between loyalist and patriot writing. Loyalist writing went through three distinct phases: mockery, extremism, and acceptance. Patriot writing, on the other hand, remained consistent throughout the conflict. Patriot writers maintained an unwavering message of confidence and optimism. This consistency defined the patriot rhetorical arc, while consistent change defined the loyalist arc. Despite their opposite nature, however, the patriots’ consistency and loyalists’ change were caused by the same factor: a recognition of the patriots’ slim chances of success. It was this perceived unlikelihood of sustained American independence that simultaneously caused mockery, extremism, and moderation among the loyalists, and the remarkable consistency and optimism of the patriots. The analysis concludes with a case study examining the writing surrounding George Washington and Benedict Arnold. This case study not only reinforces the paper’s earlier findings, but also reveals further insights into the nature of the two sides.
Anne Hillgartner, “Compassion, Communism, Freedom, and ‘Revolutionary Art.'” The Effect of Italian Fascism on Luigi Nono, Avant-Garde Venetian Composer.” This honors project seeks to explain the ways in which war and revolution can affect an individual life. Luigi Nono was a twentieth-century Venetian composer, torn among three revolutions: Fascist, Communist, and Musical. In the first twenty years of his life he witnessed the institutionalized violence of the Fascist authorities in Italy contrasted with the intellectual, cultural, and freethinking environment of his upper middle-class Venetian family. Despite his privileged upbringing and law school education, Nono chose to purse musical composition as his career. Nono’s music became a reflection of post-World War II Venice, the anti-Fascist and communist causes, a call to action for a more democratic future, and most importantly, a space for him to explore in harmonic language his own feelings towards the revolutions in his life. Nono also chose to join the Italian Communist Party in 1952 and became an advocate for the party’s policies in his public life and in his music.
This paper also seeks to introduce an interdisciplinary approach to the existing scholarship on Luigi Nono by not only considering his composition as a primary source, but also situating his composition and biography within the larger context of twentieth century history.
Saverio Longobardo, “Newburgh, the Republican Synthesis and Early America, 1782-1783.” This project demonstrates how the discourse between the Continental Army officers, Congress and George Washington concerning the officers’ promised pensions during the Newburgh Crisis from 1782-1783 can be interpreted to expand upon the Republican Synthesis school’s depiction of a unanimous public commitment to a singular idea of republicanism in Early America. In developing this narrative, this project examines the officers’ and Washington’s public and private texts, including Major John Armstrong’s infamous Newburgh addresses, Washington’s responses to these addresses, and his own attempts to argue for the officers’ pensions according to his republican framework. It also examines the Constitution of the Society of the Cincinnati which was an organization that included many of the officers from Newburgh and pledged to maintain their rights. An analysis of these documents reveals that even though the officers’ public texts argued for their pensions from a commitment to the popular idea of republicanism at the time, their arguments departed from this idea in private. They viewed Congress’ refusal to grant them their pensions as a violation of their rights that justified mutiny. This construction of justice contrasted with Washington’s republicanism sharply. They also criticized the merits of republicanism. This research is significant not only for its expansion on a current body of scholarship, it also highlights a fracturing in the idea of which rights citizens could expect from their republican government and what responsibilities these citizens had to their government. This fracture, was a precursor to the partisan divide of the 1790s.
Eva Ward, “The ‘Old Public Functionary’ and a New Crisis: James Buchanan and the Congressional Controversy over the Lecompton Constitution.” Of the many factors that played a role in the sectional crisis preceding the Civil War, the controversy over the passage of the Lecompton Constitution proved to be one of the most divisive within the political system. In the midst of the altercation, President James Buchanan proved to be one of the most polarizing figures, as he played an important role through his efforts to ensure Kansas’ admission to the Union under the Lecompton Constitution. From the outset, the Lecompton Constitution was extremely controversial due to the nature of its formation and the proslavery terms of the constitution itself, and it is not startling that the attempt at Lecompton’s passage in its original form would eventually prove a failure. However, Buchanan was not obligated to support it, and in light of the fierce opposition it engendered, the most pertinent query regarding the fate of Lecompton is not the reasons for its demise, but rather the motives of Buchanan that compelled him to seek to force it through the House. The political context of the sectional crisis provided the impetus for Buchanan’s advocacy for Lecompton. The safety of the Union was paramount for Buchanan; however, it was jeopardized by the increasingly tense relations between the North and South. He had long viewed the sectional crisis as a result of agitation over slavery caused by northern abolitionists, making him a longstanding supporter of the South. Buchanan believed that the only way to end the danger to the Union was the resolution of the question of slavery in the territories, which would terminate the popular agitation over slavery, thus calming sectional tensions and ending the crisis. Furthermore, the resolution of slavery in Kansas would deprive the Republican party of an electoral issue in the 1860 election, and Buchanan was convinced that a Republican victory would spell the immediate secession of the South and the end of the Union. Buchanan saw Kansas’ decision regarding slavery and subsequent admission to the Union as a method to remove the slavery issue and ensure the demise of the Republican “sectional party” and the threat that it presented to the integrity of the Union. Lecompton would serve as a vehicle for admission and subsequent resolution of the slavery question; furthermore, its proslavery terms would appease the Southern radicals threatening secession. Thus, his efforts to force the Lecompton Constitution through Congress were done in an attempt to ensure the safety of the Union. However, they would serve the opposite purpose, proving instead to further exacerbate sectional tensions and serve as another factor in the Union’s eventual descent into civil war.
Honors Abstracts 2014
Emily Anderson, “‘Expanding the Narrative: Trauma, Revisionist History, and Operation Pedro Pan (1960-1962).” On December 26, 1960, two Cuban children arrived unaccompanied in Miami, Florida, where they were placed under the care of the Catholic Welfare Bureau. This was not an isolated incident. Their arrival marked the beginning of Operation Pedro Pan, a program that within two years brought more than 14,000 unaccompanied Cuban children into the U.S. Cuban parents sent their children as a response to Fidel Castro’s 1959 nationalist revolution and subsequent socialist reforms, while the U.S. government, seeking to delegitimize Castro’s regime, facilitated the effort by providing funds and allowing the Cuban children to enter the U.S. without visas.
Father Bryan O. Walsh, the Catholic priest who created and directed the operation, made sure it was conducted under strict secrecy. Writing the first history of the operation in the 1970s, Walsh generated a public memory that Operation Pedro Pan was a necessary and beneficial humanitarian mission.
Yet Walsh’s original history lacked the experiences of the Pedro Pans themselves. In the fifty years since the operation’s end, Pedro Pans have woven their voices into the narrative, producing memoirs, essays, and art that reexamine their childhood experiences and the politics behind them. These products of memory offer an important revisionist history, revealing Operation Pedro Pan as a traumatic, identity-shattering experience of childhoods spent separated from home. Adviser: Professor Michele Gillespie.
Nathaniel Brickhouse, “Evliya and Katib Çelebi: Ottoman Travelers in the Age of Confessionalization.” During the Early Modern Period, the Ottoman Empire used religion to increase state control and centralization. This process of creating a codified Ottoman religious identity, or confessionalization, created intense debate and conflict between the various religious groups within the empire as they competed against each other for state influence. This paper analyzed the works of two Ottoman writers of the 17th century, seeing how they dealt with and reacted to the religious conflicts of the time. Evliya Çelebi’s travel account and Katib Çelebi’s religious treatise together demonstrate the nuanced nature of Ottoman religious identity during their lifetimes. This paper also seeks to help extend the confessionalization thesis to Islam instead of its original solely Christian application. Adviser: Professor Leann Pace.
Joseph DeRosa. “A Challenge to Conceptions of Arabism: John Bagot Glubb.” John Bagot Glubb (1897-1986) was one of the most curious British imperial administrators to ever serve the Crown in Mandatory Iraq and later the sovereign state of Transjordan. His career witnessed the throes of the interwar period, the Arab-Israeli War and the Suez Crisis. Historians have not known what to make of the man or his career as a soldier, scholar and diplomat. The historiography has generally considered Glubb to be an Arabist par excellence. But despite this historiographic insistence, there are a plethora differences that separate Glubb from mainstream Arabists. Historians’ inclusion of Glubb into the Arabist ring has obfuscated his rather unorthodox career in the Middle East, producing a legion of analytic flaws in the process. In Glubb’s own estimation and particularly through an examination of Glubb’s racialist beliefs and recruitment policies, this paper explores an overlooked and uncanny similarity between Glubb’s behavior and the ‘humane imperialism’ advocated by Robert Groves Sandeman, who served as a district officer in the 19th century on the Punjab frontier – not the Middle East. In so doing, this analysis shows that British colonial officials in the 20th century did not all share the same intellectual forbears or the same outlook. As sensitivity and differentiation toward colonized peoples have enriched recent scholarship, so too can a more detailed understanding of their British imperial contemporaries prove useful. Adviser: Professor Charles Wilkins.
Liam McIntyre, “Slave Labor in Virginia’s Iron Industry.” This paper examines at the use of enslaved laborers in Virginia’s antebellum iron industry. Virginia represented the center of the South’s iron production before and during the Civil War, with distinct industries formed in the Shenandoah Valley and Richmond. Iron was contemporarily associated with cutting-edge production techniques and formed the backbone of the Industrial Revolution, enabling the construction of railroads and other infrastructure, as well as weapons and ammunition during the Civil War. Slavery is often associated with agriculture, but was used extensively in several industries, especially as agricultural productivity declined in the Upper South throughout the nineteenth century.
To gain a better understanding of this phenomenon, I looked at the records of William Weaver’s operations at Buffalo Forge, Etna Blast Furnace and Bath Ironworks, including the “Negro Books” from Etna Blast Furnace. I also examined a number of advertisements in Richmond Newspapers from Joseph Anderson’s Tredegar Ironworks in Richmond, as well as some of the company’s record. These primary sources were supported by a number of secondary sources, including Calvin Schermerhorn’s Money over Mastery, Family over Freedom, Ronald Lewis’ Coal, Iron and Slaves, and Charles Dew’s Bond of Iron.
I found that iron production fundamentally altered the master-slave relationship, giving slaves greater personal autonomy and creating a space through which they could extract minor but significant concessions due to their increased human capital and productivity. Many ironmasters established an overwork system, whereby slaves would be compensated in cash payments for exceeding a certain production threshold. Due to the competition for hired slaves between various industries, many slaves were also given small payments or gifts in return for “agreeing” to be hired to a specific master for one year. Finally, slaves could prevent permanent separation from their families via deportation to the Lower South by working in iron production, therefore increasing their value to their owners. After abolition, nearly all of Weaver’s skilled artisans resumed work on “free labor” contracts, and remained in his employ a full year after being freed. Adviser: Professor Anthony Parent
Robert Lewis Wilson, III. “Plotting for Survival: Taiwan’s Struggle to Ensure its Independence.” This history honors project explored the history behind Taiwan’s controversial political status. Supporters claim it is an independent nation. Detractors assert that it is, and always will be, a part of China. Whichever is the case, Taiwan currently functions as an anomaly. It officially carries no badge of nationhood and is widely acknowledged technically to be a province of the People’s Republic of China, yet Taiwan acts as it is anything but that. As a whole, historians have framed this situation as a result of the power struggle between China and the United States. The historiography has failed to account for Taiwan’s agency or for all the routes Taiwan explored in maintaining its sovereignty. This project’s research tool a different approach and added to the scholarship by analyzing Taiwan’s agency and control in determining its destiny. Adviser: Professor Qiong Zhang
Honors Abstracts 2013
Carolyn Cargile, “‘The World, I Assure You is Right Queasy’: The Paston Family during the War of the Roses.” This honors history project explored the experience of the Paston family during the Wars of the Roses, a series of three English civil wars that lasted from 1459-1485. Through close examination of the Paston Letters, the paper argued that the Pastons – a lower landed gentry family – were able to survive the Wars of the Roses with their family and lands intact due to a combination of their lower social status as members of the lower landed gentry, their pragmatic ideas of loyalty – in which they based their sense of loyalty on who was strongest and most powerful, rather than on bloodline or descent – and the very moderate action they took during the wars. Through the combination of these factors, they were able to avoid excess attention, switch their loyalties when convenient or necessary, and deliberately manipulate the chaos of the wars to maintain their own security, both of person and of property. Although the paper took a case-study approach, it also argued that though the Pastons’ actions were some of the best-documented of their class, they were not exceptional, and that the Pastons’ attitudes and actions could be considered very representative of those of their social station as a whole. As a whole, historians of the Wars of the Roses tend to ignore the roles played by the lower landed gentry during these conflicts. This paper took a different approach in examining lower gentry roles in these wars and acknowledging their political presence, thus contributing to an as-yet underdeveloped historical conversation. Advisor: Professor Heather Welland. After taking a gap year, Carolyn will enter graduate school to pursue a doctorate in Medieval History.
Caroline Culp, “‘Face Painting’ and the Formation of Feminine Identity: Women Artists of Charleston, South Carolina, 1690-1825.” The history of Charleston, South Carolina is one riddled with convoluted tales and contradictory narratives. “‘Face Painting’ and the Formation of Feminine Identity: Women Artists of Charleston, South Carolina, 1690-1825” seeks to reconfigure and re-contextualize the stories of female artists in this Southern city from the Colonial age through the American Revolution and beyond. By using visual artifacts as clues—historical pieces never before considered in a scholarly analysis—a new history emerges. Grappling with issues of gender, race, and class, this project uses maps, prints, drawings, and artworks to re-explore the history of one of America’s oldest and most beloved cities. Advisor: Professor Michele Gillespie. This summer, Caroline will intern in the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art before pursuing graduate school in Art History.
Joshua Garrett, “Patronage, Cultural Appropriation, and Collective Identity: State Sponsored Projects of Urban Renewal in Sixteenth Century Venice and Lisbon.” Much scholarly attention has been paid to the port cities of Lisbon and Venice. However, few studies have worked to jointly address the two, analyze their parallel maritime dynamics and contextualize their similar historical trajectory, a gap in the historiography this study hopes to fill. Venice and Lisbon executed a series of state-sponsored urban renewal projects in the sixteenth century and this study addresses themes of patronage, cultural appropriation and identity formation apparent in both. In Venice, Jacopo Sansovino’s Biblioteca, Mint, and reorganization of St. Mark’s Square shed light on how Venetian politics pressured for a rebirth of Venice vis-à-vis la Serenissima’s principal architectural monuments, and how their design reflected the social and historical events of the period, as well as, cultivated the Myth of Venice – claiming that Venice was successor to the grand Roman Empire. In Lisbon, the Manuel Style took hold, cementing its relation to the voyages of discovery and speaks to the fact that the monarchs who financed and encouraged the expeditions were eager to see them tangibly represented in the monuments which came to define the center of the new maritime empire. A comparison of differences in political structure, cultural heritage, and changing roles in realm of the Indo-European spice trade as they relate to these projects of urban renewal enables this study to contextualize these urban renewal projects in the larger spheres of the sixteenth-century European and Atlantic Worlds. Advisor: Professor Monique O’Connell. Joshua is currently receiving his TESOL/ESL/EFL certification at NC State University and working part-time in the ABMT clinic at Duke. He will move to Portugal later this year to pursue graduate studies as well as teach English.
Sallie James, “‘Law Not War’: women’s Peace Activism in Early Twentieth Century Britain.” This honors thesis examines the engagement of women activists in the peace movement in Great Britain between the First and Second World Wars. The paper considers the context of women’s public activism prior to the passage of women’s suffrage in 1918, and it looks at the ways women’s activism centered on “women’s issues” before 1918. The political environment for women activists in post-war Great Britain was shaped by both a pervasive anti-war sentiment and a rise of “active citizenship,” or greater public participation in mass political organizations and lobbying efforts. The paper explores the work of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the League of Nations Union within this post-war environment, alongside the writings of two key activists, Vera Brittain and Helena Swanwick. Ultimately, my thesis argues that women peace activists’ engagement in the interwar peace movement pushed the boundaries of women’s public activism and political engagement in Britain. Advisor: Professor Heather Welland. Next year, Sallie hopes to have an internship with an international nonprofit focused specifically on women’s rights and global poverty.
Meenakshi Krishnan, “‘The Decantation of Truths’: Recasting the Mariel Generation, 1980-1985.” This thesis focused on the Mariel exiles, a group of 125,000 Cuban emigrants who fled Cuba for Miami in the spring of 1980. The Mariels were distinct from previous generations of Cuban exiles in terms of both their demographic singularity and their ideological orientation. Yet they were also hampered by social stigmatization, as Fidel Castro spread rumors that they were all criminals and mentally ill individuals. My thesis examines the process of the public construction of the Mariels’ identity, with a particular focus on a group of intellectuals and artists who started a literary and arts magazine, Revista Mariel, to articulate a group identity and advance a political agenda. Advisor: Professor Michele Gillespie. Next year, Meenu will attend the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom to pursue an MPhil in International Relations and Politics.
Sanders McNair, “A Crustacean Stuck in the Past: Time and Place in the Maine Lobster Fishery.” This paper will examine the unique features of the American lobster fishery and the social construction of the lobster as a popular seafood item since the nineteenth century. The American lobster (Homarus americanus) was once fed to prisoners and the poor or used as bait on the coast of Maine, but is now an expensive food served across the country. A historical analysis of the Maine lobster fishery shows that it remains an outlier when compared to other fisheries around the world. Despite its popularity, the American lobster populations have not collapsed like other species due to several factors, including distinct conservation policies and limited technological advances. Most lobsters are wild-caught off the North Atlantic coast because the industry has lacked a profitable model for farming lobster due to the crustacean’s biological features. These distinct aspects of the fishery have played a role in the social construction of the lobster that ties it to the Maine coast during the summer. An examination of its history shows that the Maine lobster remains deeply tied to the past in several aspects, which has influenced the conservation and consumption of the crustacean. Advisor: Professor Simone M. Caron. Next year, Sanders will work on farms first in Israel and then throughout Europe before returning to the States to pursue employment in the renewable energy sector or in the foo/environmental/energy policy sector.
Margaret Rodgers, “The Literature that Built the Tyrant: Insight on the Texts that Influenced Adolf Hitler.” Despite the vast amount of research that has been conducted about World War II’s most notorious villain, Adolf Hitler, little attention has been paid to one of the most telling discoveries made at the conclusion of World War II: Hitler’s private library. This paper takes an in-depth look at some of the literature that Hitler owned and read from the time of his youth until his election to Reichkanzler in 1933, and considers the influence of these works upon the mind and development of Adolf Hitler. Ranging from adventure novels and opera libretti, to political and racial dissertations, Hitler’s library was a diverse collection, and is an intriguing example of how literature can provide the foundations for dogmatic personal beliefs. Advisor: Professor Michael Hughes. Next year, Margaret will relocate to Wels, Austria where she will teach English through the English Teaching Assistantship awarded her by the Austrian Fulbright Commission.
Andrew Rodriguez, The Arab-Israeli Conflict and Britain’s Self-Destructive Imperial Strategy in Palestine, 1916-1948. This paper argues that Britain, by attempting to strengthen her imperial power, actually weakened it. Palestine, although only one colony in Britain’s empire, serves as a microcosm to the greater decline of Britain’s empire as a whole. Britain sabotaged her position in Palestine by Signing the Balfour declaration and thus beginning the Arab-Israeli conflict, by making promises to both the Arabs and the Jews throughout the time period, and depending on financial aid from the US, who ended up being an enemy to Britain’s imperial recovery rather than an ally. Losing Palestine was the beginning of the end of Britain’s empire because the loss of Palestine sabotaged Britain’s position in the Middle East, which was largely important to Britain’s post-war recovery. Without the Middle East, Britain would lack to resources to maintain her other colonies, and the empire was doomed to fail. This serves as a better way to understand decolonization in the 20th century and its causes. This particular instance suggests that decolonization was a self-destructive process in which the empires attempted to remain powerful but ultimately lost it. Advisor: Professor Penny Sinanoglou. Next year, Andrew will enter the Masters in Management Program.
Paul Stroebel, “The Civilian Experience During the Battle of Gettysburg.” The civilian experience during war is one that often does not receive its fair share of attention. This paper gave a detailed account of the civilian experience during the battle of Gettysburg and examined how the battle had a multifaceted effect on the civilians. The paper focused on how the battle challenged the citizens physically, psychologically, and affected their views of the war. Throughout the battle the citizens were subjected to a full spectrum of emotions that ranged from paralyzing fear to irresistible joy. The battle strengthened the resolve of the citizens to support the Union to win the war, but it also humanized the war for citizens. The traumatizing scenes of death and anguish allowed them to better understand the tragedies of war and made them realize that the Southerners were not that different from citizens such as themselves. The citizens would never forget the Battle of Gettysburg and the impact it had on their lives both mentally and physically; and just like these citizens, Americans today should not forget the experiences these citizens went through that helped ensure the unity of the United States of America. Advisor: Professor Paul Escott. Next year, Paul Stroebel will take a gap year in Spain and then return to the States to attend Law School.
Anna Williford, “Twisting the Lion’s Tail: Phases in Northern Anger at Great Britain during the American Civil War.” This paper sought to examine the relationship between the Union and Great Britain during the American Civil War. My thesis argued that the North’s attitude towards Great Britain was contingent upon Union military successes or failures, largely because Union defeat on the battlefield conversely meant Southern success. When Southern prospects looked favorable, the possibility of foreign recognition, especially by Great Britain, was a very real and disturbing prospect for the Union. To investigate this, I looked at the Trent Affair and the Battle of Cherbourg, two events that occurred at distinctly different times during the Civil War which illuminated the fickle nature of Anglo-American relations. By studying the reaction of the press in Northern newspapers following these two events, I was able to gauge public opinion and assess Northern attitudes toward Great Britain during different points in the war. The Trent Affair occurred in November 1861 while the Battle of Cherbourg was fought in June 1864. Although both events involved interactions between the Union and Great Britain, the distinct differences in timing allowed me to better chart the evolution of Anglo-American relations. Above all, these events illustrated how crucial timing and Union military prospects were in shaping Anglo-American affairs. This research highlighted how precarious the relationship was between Great Britain and the United States and how dangerously close war came between the two; such an occurrence would have produced a very different outcome of the Civil War. Advisor: Professor Paul D. Escott. Anna will take a gap year next year working on Capitol Hill before pursuing graduate school.
Honors Abstracts 2012
Michael Byington, “The Political Reasoning behind Kwame Nkrumah’s continued Promotion of Pan-Africanism following Ghana’s Independence: 1957-1966.” In 1957, Kwame Nkrumah and his Convention People’s Party (CPP) led Ghana to its independence from British colonial rule. In the years that followed, the new Prime Minister continued to advocate for a single, unified African government in a movement known as Pan-Africanism. This paper explores why Nkrumah so vigorously pursued Pan-Africanism following Ghana’s independence. Historians agree that the most rational interpretation of Nkrumah’s continued support of Pan-Africanism is that he feared European-induced neo-colonialism. But a more careful review of reports written by non-Ghanaians, British trade directories, and Nkrumah’s own words demonstrates that Ghana’s leader was also apprehensive about the actions of other newly independent African states. Nkrumah believed Pan-Africanism was the means by which he could protect the political and economic interests of Ghanaians from both external empires and African nations. His continued advocacy of Pan-Africanism demonstrates that he was neither a Pan-African hero nor Ghanaian tyrant as he is often portrayed but rather an overly ambitious leader of a newly liberated nation. More importantly, his actions demonstrate why Pan-Africanism never came to fruition. On the one hand, Nkrumah’s notion of the movement gave undue privilege to Ghana at the expense of other African states. While Africans shared the common concern of neo-colonialism, the leaders of newly independent African nations did not want to relinquish their national sovereignty to a continental body under Nkrumah’s direction. Pan-Africanism, as proposed by Nkrumah, was impossible despite the many political and economic benefits it might have held for Ghana or the continent as a whole. Advisor: Professor Nate Plageman.
Eleanor Davidson. Winston-Salem’s early twentieth-century industrialization caused tension between white textile mill workers and black tobacco workers, culminating to a race riot six days after Armistice. The alleged rape of a white woman by a black assailant sparked an outbreak of violence from textile workers who attempted to kidnap and lynch the accused man. Civic and industrial leaders downplayed the event, which reached a national audience, and the local justice system actually prosecuted white perpetrators to return the city to racial harmony and economic productivity.
William McClure, “The Ascendancy of Girolamo Savonarola in Fifteenth-Century Florence.” Savonarola’s rule of Florence from 1494 to 1498 is a unique episode in Florentine history and in the progression of the Renaissance. Espousing moral virtue, he attacked what he perceived as the vanities produced by the Florentine culture yet also instituted republican reforms which permitted citizens greater agency over their society. Though the current scholarship is deep on the actions of Savonarola and much attention is given to his motivations, there is not yet a comprehensive understanding of how he gained and maintained power during this period. Drawing heavily from his sermons, correspondences, and accounts and critiques written by his contemporaries, this paper argues that Savonarola rose to power through three specific means. It concurs with arguments previously set forth that Savonarola gained power by attacking the previous oligarchic government of the Medici and by capitalizing on the general disgust with the papacy and Church bureaucracy. However, this paper adds the previously unmentioned argument that Savonarola also effectively appealed to and integrated the disaffected young men of Florence into his movement. In setting forth these three components of Savonarola’s rise to power as well as maintenance of de facto leadership, this paper adds to the scholarship about Savonarola and this period of Florence and contributes to future research projects on this topic. Advisor: Professor Monique O’Connell.
Margaret Wood, “‘We Called Ourselves Revolutionaries’: Remembering Integration at Wake Forest University.” While Wake Forest was the first major Southern, private college to integrate, it was by no means the first or most-remembered integration. Many people recall the integration of large public universities like the University of Mississippi or the University of Alabama where violent white protests caused President John F. Kennedy to send in the U.S. Military to enforce desegregation. Yet these are extreme cases inconsistent with most Southern school integrations. Tulane University, Duke University, Emory University, Vanderbilt University, Rice University, and Mercer University provide more characteristic examples of integration at private Southern colleges. In this paper, I will scrutinize the impetuses behind the federally-mandated desegregation at the University of Georgia, the integrations at Tulane, Duke, Emory, Vanderbilt, and Rice as prominent, private Southern colleges, and the parallel motivations of Wake Forest’s sister Baptist institution, Mercer. The connections between Wake Forest University, the University of Georgia, Tulane University, Duke University, Emory University, Vanderbilt University, Rice University, and Mercer University are evidence of a network of influence among all Southern schools as pressure to integrate climaxed in the 1960’s. Examinations of these schools’ integrations offer helpful context for understanding Wake Forest’s integration in the larger matter of integration in higher education. Advisor: Professor Michele Gillespie.
Alexander Boston, “The Raven and the Crown: Ethnic Diversity and Political Legitimacy in the Reign of Matthias Corvinus.” Hungarian history, along with that of many other Balkan and Central European countries, has been rife with ethnic strife. The image of Matthias Corvinus, Hungary’s only native-born king in a four hundred year span became a rallying point for later Hungarian nationalists. This is surprising because during his lifetime (1443-1490) Matthias never portrayed himself as Hungarian. Instead, it seems that in order to unite his multicultural state politically, Matthias created a cosmopolitan image of himself, expressed in his army, administration, and courtly academic culture.
Emma Lawlor, “A Step from the Test Tube or the Domain of the Wooden Plow? The State, the Peasantry, and the Industrialization of Mexican Agriculture.” The Mexican Revolution was a period of exceptional political and social reform driven primarily by peasant demands for land. As a result, the rural peasant became a celebrated national symbol and the central target of revolutionary reform programs. Most notably, President Lázaro Cárdenas (1934-1940) redistributed agricultural land to almost half of rural Mexicans. Yet scholars debate what happened next. In 1940, President Manuel Ávila Camacho (1940-1946) succeeded Cárdenas and restructured the national economy toward reliance on industrial agriculture. Camacho overlooked the productive capacity of Mexico’s peasant majority in order to foster development through increased production, modern technology, and international trade. This paper challenges some scholars’ assertions that Camacho’s economic reorientation represented a counterrevolution in which revolutionary ideals became inconsequential in the face of international modernizing forces. The paper asserts that the peasantry factored into Camacho’s agricultural policies as perceived beneficiaries and symbols of revolutionary legitimacy. The paper traces continuity in such symbolism from the 1920s to the 1940s by examining murals, periodicals, and presidential speeches. It charts a trend of presidents using the image of a primitive peasant as a backdrop for highlighting the revolutionary progress promised by their particular agricultural policies. Yet the paper also contends that such symbolic constructions obscured the peasantry’s true social and economic importance. As the industrialization of agriculture led to the uprooting of peasant societies, Mexico lost access to a variety of valuable services in terms of stability and social welfare that an agricultural sector sustained by peasants, not science and capitalism, had provided. Advisor: Professor Simone M. Caron.