Student Research

Students who complete designated Programs of Emphasis in History write senior theses during one or two semesters. For details on the process, see the Curriculum page. For faculty research, please see the individual faculty pages in the left sidebar.

Senior Research in 2015-2016

Jonathan Altland '16, "Aiming High: The Longbow during the Hundred Years War" (B. Tuten)

The Hundred Years War, which lasted from 1337 to 1453, was a long and drawn-out struggle primarily between England and France. From the beginning of the war, the English longbow showed its ability to achieve success in battle, and continued to do so until the end of the conflict. The longbow remained a fearsome weapon throughout the war, despite an increase in the protective capabilities of armor. The longbowmen in the English army, although lightly armored and of lower birth, were able to disrupt the powerful charges of heavy cavalry and other soldiers. This success was due to the effectiveness of the longbow as a weapon, and to the preparation and skill of the men who wielded it.

Emma Campbell '16, "The Prodigal Daughter Returns: An Analysis of the Relationship Between Henry VIII and his Daughter Mary" (B. Tuten)

Based on the Submission of Mary documents and other related documents in the Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Court of Henry VIII, this paper explores the bizarre relationship between Henry VIII and his eldest daughter Mary through the reigns of three different queens. Mary had been removed from court after the end of the marriage between Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon, but by 1536 Mary attempted to get back in Henry VIII's good graces. Mary consulted the Spanish Ambassador Eustace Chapuys and the Lord Privy Seal Thomas Cromwell to try to assist her in returning to court life. Even though Mary eventually became an acknowledged member of the family again, it would be another decade until she was restored to the line of succession. She would ultimately have to sign a document declaring her mother's marriage unlawful and denounce the Pope. Mary decided that she would rather reconcile with her father than die for her religion. This thesis gives a glimpse into the drama of the Tudor dynasty.

Linley Erickson '16, "Curmudgeon for a Cause: Harold Ickes' Lifelong Work for Racial Justice" (J. Tuten)

Harold LeClaire Ickes is best remembered for serving as Secretary of the Interior under Franklin D. Roosevelt and a year into Harry Truman’s tenure. Importantly, his years as Secretary (1933-1946) make him the longest serving Interior Secretary in U.S. history. While Secretary of the Interior, he had charge of the Public Works Administration (PWA) and held the title of Oil Administrator. Prior to his service in the executive branch, Ickes worked in Chicago as a major Republican and Progressive Party politician and lawyer. Beyond his work as FDR’s Secretary of the Interior, Ickes devoted much of his political power for social justice causes, especially those concerning minorities. Although it was never his primary focus, Ickes consistently used his political influence to fight for equality for all nationalities. The four groups that he worked for the most were Native Americans, African Americans, Jewish Americans (including the Jewish diaspora during World War II), and Japanese Americans. My senior thesis is an examination of Ickes’s work for minority rights. The few scholars who have studied Ickes career in-depth focused on other aspects of his career, such as his time prior to the White House or his close relationship to FDR. In these works, Ickes social justice advocacy are merely a subplot and never researched or analyzed in full. Since he was present during so many turbulent years (early 1900s Chicago, FDR White House prior and during WWII) when questions of minority rights and social justice played a contributing factor, Ickes’s experiences provides valuable insight into these specific times.

Alexander Matoushek '16, "The United Mine Workers of America Leadership: The Forgotten John" (D. Sowell)

John Mitchell was born in Braidwood, Illinois as a miner’s son. He learned the craft from his stepfather, and traveling west to states including Colorado and Wyoming. It was in Illinois where Mitchell started to make his mark in the union scene. From his humble miner upbringing Mitchell brought a moderate approach of leadership to the UMWA, United Mine Workers of America. His experiences in Colorado with a significant local labor leader, Daniel McLaughlin, inspired Mitchell’s use of joint conferences throughout his terms as presidency of the UMWA. John Mitchell was pitted against and compared to other significant local leaders of his time including Powderly, Gompers, and Debs.  Mitchell made his mark in the anthracite mining region of Northeast Pennsylvania. This is where Mitchell led the UMWA to victory over the monopolistic railroad/mine owners, with some aid from the federal government, in the 1900 and 1902 Anthracite Coal Strikes. He is honored in Scranton, Pennsylvania to this day which raises the question: is John Mitchell actually a forgotten man?

Olivia Millunzi '16, "'No Caste in Blood...No Caste in Tears:' Stolen Generations in Western Australia and A.O. Neville" (A. Fletcher)

From 1915 to 1945, Auber Octavius Neville was Chief Protector of Aborigines in Western Australia. In this position Neville had the power to remove Aboriginal children from their families and place them in government schools and missions- literally stealing entire generations from family trees. Neville believed the children needed to be removed so they could be 'saved from their primitive pasts' and brought into white society, but in doing so Neville destroyed families, societies, and cultures. This thesis examines Neville's intentions and actions as well as the destructive consequences of his policies.

Kayla Morgan '16, "Fleeing to the Fort: Loyalist and Indian attacks in Sinking Valley" (D. Hsiung)

Fort Roberdeau, the Lead Mine Fort, is a small fort located in Sinking Valley near Altoona, Pennsylvania. The fort’s purpose was to provide protection for the lead miners hoping to secure enough lead to help with the lead shortage the colonies were facing during the Revolutionary War. The fort faced many struggles, such as not having enough skilled laborers and also Loyalist and Indian attacks. Primary sources such as letters are used to describe several different attacks that occurred in the area. This paper discusses loyalism in central Pennsylvania and Native American relations with the settlers. Fort Roberdeau is used as a case study to exemplify the turbulent time on Pennsylvania’s frontier and the fort’s shifting role of providing protection for the lead miners to settlers in the area.

Emily Reinl '16, "Altruism or Bust: Collective Action on the Overland Trails to the West" (D. Hsiung)

This paper examines the interactions emigrants on the Oregon and California Trails between the years 1840 and 1860 had with both other emigrants and other people they encountered throughout their journey. By referencing both secondary literature on the overland trails and primary sources (particularly a sample of six emigrants’ diaries), this thesis shows how people helped the emigrants overcome the trails’ dangers and how they hindered them, making the trails more dangerous. It concludes that people usually tried to help the emigrants, and that when they were successful, they played an important role in making the emigration possible, but that they also sometimes hindered the emigrants, usually by mistake.

Alison Shannon '16, "Friend or Foe: Conceptualizing the Enemy in Berlin, 1945-1949" (D. Hsiung)

This paper focuses on post-WWII Berlin in order to examine the delicate political relationships that were in the balance between 1945 and 1949: specifically, the United States’ political relationships with Germany and the U.S.S.R. Because this particular time period demonstrates the process of national formation of enemy and friend, this historical context provides the backdrop for an examination of the human psychological process of enemy-making. The research methodology is based in contemporary secondary sources in the fields of Cold War history and psychology/sociology which cover a variety of academic fields and interpretations. The ultimate goal of this paper is to provide a case study in psycho-social interaction by historical example. Specific instances in post-war Berlin demonstrate the personal and political intricacies of enemy creation, pairing historical writing and research with the detailed examination of a complicated psychological process.

Senior Research in 2014-2015

Erik Krueger ‘15, “Pride and Prejudice:  An Examination of the Nazis’ Anti-Semitic Propaganda Campaign,  1933-1941” (A. Fletcher)

Elizabeth Faust ‘15, “How Screams into a Quiet Night go Unheard: American Government and Newspaper Censorship of Concentration Camp Reports During World War II” (D. Hsiung)

Kymberly Mattern ‘15, “Mobilizing the German Woman: Conforming to and Resisting Nazi Gender Ideology" (A. Fletcher)

Amberle Nickas ‘15, “’Suffer Little Children’: the Burial Grounds for Unbaptized Infants in Ireland” (B. Tuten)

Heather Kleber ‘15, “The Nazi plot against the Altoona Curve Railway” (J. Tuten)

Steven Park ‘15, “Cold War Politics and the Olympic Games” (D. Sowell)

Clinton Webb ‘15, “Xinjiang and the Campaign to Open Up the West” (D. Stiffler)

Senior Research in 2013-2014

Lisa Bean '14, “'On Account of My Love for My People': Afrikaner Nationalism, Apartheid, and Afrikaner Identity in the Writings of Beyers Naudé" (A. Fletcher)

Daniel Chessen '14, "US Policy During the Soviet‒Afghanistan War and its role in the End of the Cold War: Decisions, Policies, and Implementations" (D. Sowell)

Chris Durkin '14, "More Than a Tally: Lieutenant Colonel Levi Bird Duff and Escaping Post‒Traumatic Stress Disorder in the Civil War Era" (D. Hsiung)

Russell Jacobsen '14, "Courage and Double Barreled Shotguns: An Analysis of the Texan Invasion of New Mexico 1861‒1862" (J. Tuten)

John Lavender-Stott, "The Denby Family: Anti‒Foreignism, Foreign Rapacity, and U.S. Policy in China, 1895‒1905" (D. Stiffler)

Austin Nace,  "Football and Brown: How a Budding Southern Pastime Helped Integrate Universities in North Carolina" (D. Hsiung)

Elena Ostock, "A Snapshot of Cultural Propaganda: Photojournalism in the Vietnam War" (J. Tuten)

Colleen Wall, "Gossip, Glamor, and Cosmopolitanism: Deconstructing the Spectacle of the Bright Young People" (A. Fletcher)

Senior Research in 2012-2013

Andrew Groninger '13, "Political Violence in Meiji Japan" (D. Stiffler)

Melissa King '13, "We are All Astronauts" (D. Sowell)

Moira MacKay '13, "'Lift up thy Voice like a Trumpet': Anne Knight and the Fight for Enfranchisement" (A. Fletcher)

Elena Popchock '13, "Burying the Dead, as Well as a Memory: Media Coverage of the Augusta, Georgia Race Riot, May 1970" (J. Tuten) 

Gabriella Ricciardi '13, "Time and Treasures: Museums and the Selection of Objects" (B. Tuten)

Anthony Scalia '13, "Soldiers' Relations to Death: An Examination of the Battle of the Bulge" (D. Hsiung)

Chelsea Veranis '13, "A New Home and a New Identity: the Irish Migrant Experience in 19th century New Zealand" (A. Fletcher)

Claire Wayman '13, "Leaving their Mark: Trail Registries Along the Oregon Trail" (D. Hsiung)

Senior Research in 2011-2012

Marilyn Cobiseno '13, "'Three Generations of Imbeciles is Enough:' Eugenics, Progressivism and Sterilization in Virginia and California in the Early 20th Century" (D. Sowell)

Nora Davidson '12, "Fairy Tales, Bothy Ballads, and Superstition: Women's Agency in the Scottish Highlands during the Nineteenth Century" (A. Fletcher)

Riley Downs '12, "Newspapers and the Public: Investigating the Potential Influence of Editorials on Public Opinion During the Vietnam War" (D. Sowell)

Dani Gaisior '12, "Good Wolf, Bad Wolf: the Werewolves in Harry Potter" (B. Tuten/ C. Peters)

Tine Guldbrand '12, "Sanctuary or Mass Graves: Rwandan Churches During the Genocide" (A. Fletcher)

Meghan Hall '12, "Them's Fighting Words: War of the Roses Accounts from Yorkist and Lancastrian Chronicles" (B. Tuten)

Sarah Hodgkins '12, "The Impact of Personality and Experience on Decision-Making: Neville Chamberlain and his Policy of Appeasement" (D. Hsiung)

Amy Hunt '12, "More than 'Cheesecake': Apartheid and Politics in Drum Magazine in 1950s South Africa" (A. Fletcher)

Myriah LaChance '12, "Desmond Tutu's Idea of Restorative Justice Evaluated through Two Hearings of the Reconciliation Commission of South Africa" (A. Fletcher)

Carrie Lawler '12, "A Woman's Secret: Medieval Birth Control" (B. Tuten)

Madeline Rathey '12, "The Divergent Paths of Union and Confederate Scouts and Spies in the War of the Rebellion" (J. Tuten)

Senior Research in 2010-2011

Elizabeth Buenzli ’11, “The Eyes of Imperialism: Postcards of North African Women Mailed to Britain” (A. Fletcher) (Liberal Arts Symposium presentation)

Elizabeth Donovan ’11, “ Using Information Technology to Present the Past” (J. Tuten) (Liberal Arts Symposium presentation)

Daniel Follett ’11, “Monte Cassino: How Geography, Weather, and Climate Effected the Outcome of the Battle” (D. Hsiung) (Senior Thesis/ LAS)

Christina Gongaware ’11, “Chinese Hooligan Literature: Finding the Roots of Anti-establishment Writing” (D. Stiffler) (Senior Thesis/LAS)

Sam Lyon '11, "China Tea Clippers" (D. Hsiung) (Senior Thesis)

Patrick McShane ’11, “The Gaelic Athletic Association and Irish Nationalism 1884-1916” (A. Fletcher) (Senior Thesis/ LAS)

Jodi Oxenreiter ’11, “Vaudeville and the Yellow Peril: The Intriguing Story of Chung Ling Soo” (D. Stiffler) (Senior Thesis/LAS)

Jake Weller ’11, “The Hunter-Naturalist” (J. Tuten) (LAS)

Senior Research in 2009-2010

Erica Bettwy '10, "'And they were disillusioned...': the Sharpeville Massacre" (A. Fletcher)

Julia Bogue '10, "The 'Bitch' is back: Understanding Feminine Political Leadership through a Metaphorical Criticism of Hillary Clinton" (B. Tuten/D. Weimer)

Taylor Brown '10, "Constantine's Christian Legacy" (B. Tuten)

Matthew Dunker '10, "Prohibition and the Mafia" (D. Sowell)

Jacob Gordon '10, "An Ending Unwritten: Ivor Gurney's Life During War and its Aftermath" (A. Fletcher)

Zach Wakefield ’10, “Justice in Hattiesburg: The Murder of Vernon Dahmer and Mississippi's Changing Racial Cultures” (D. Sowell)

Michael Walsh '10, "Uncommon Valor on Iwo Jima" (J. Tuten)

Jordan Yeagley '10, "Religious Cleansing: the Cooperation of the Serbian Orthodox Church and Slobodan Milosevic during the Ethnic Cleansing in Bosnia" (A. Fletcher)