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History

Republican Histories: Revolutionary Public Instruction in History

Emily Allen ('12); Mentor: Gary Kates

Abstract:  How and why did school courses in modern history come about in revolutionary France?  Debates in the National Convention at the inception of the revolutionary education system show the importance of the social sciences as the key to a new, republican citizenry.  Transcripts of the first class at the École Normale on teaching History, taught by Constantin-François de Chasseboeuf, reveal a more nuanced, more official account of bringing the study of civilization to ordinary people than governmental debates can provide.  Despite the pervasive myth that revolution brought equality to education, it is more accurate to say that the creation of a Republic required readjustment of privilege with regards to curriculum and to the student population.  I hope to study not only the goals of the Revolutionary education system, but if its practice mirrored the values of revolutionary morality.
Funding Provided by: Pomona College SURP  

Early Industrial History and Modern Environmental Policy

Laura Carr ('13); Mentor: Helena Wall, Richard Worthington

Abstract:  During my internship as an interpreter at Massachusetts living history museum Old Sturbridge Village, I steeped myself in the recreated patterns of life of an 1830s rural New England village.  I experienced, examined, and evaluated early-industrial relationships with the environment, shaping a backdrop against which to contemplate our current and future relationships.  To create a sustainable future we need coherent, comprehensive environmental policies.  Such strong policies require clear vision of a desired future world, and that vision should be informed by an understanding of the best and worst of previous patterns of interaction.  I would never advocate a planned reversion to rural 1830s New England life: it is clearly not a perfect template.  Instead, aspects of that lifestyle embody broader mindsets and circumstances that, were they readopted today, would help preclude our consuming flagrantly, destroying wantonly, and valuing lightly.  Adopting these changes would benefit our individual, community, and environmental health.
Funding Provided by: Hart Institute for American History (LC) Moir Intern Scholarship Old Sturbridge Village (LC) 

Kenyan Black Radical Tradition and the Pedagogy of the Oppressed: Genocide of a History

Salif Doubare ('12); Mentor: Ami Radunskaya, Sidney Lemelle

Abstract:  History is written by the victor, therefore it must be taken with a grain of salt. This project looks at this very issue in the context of Kenyan independence and the stigmatizations placed on the “Mau Mau” as well as observe that not only will the master’s tools not help the dismantlement of the master’s house it will only help to reify it.  This project also examines the silencing of “Mau Mau” activism through the use of psychological and physical torture which has left the legacy of colonialism in every facet of Kenyan society.  “Radicals” and the “insane” are terms we use to be dismissive of those that might have been the sanest in unnatural situations. “Naturally, when a people are enslaved, colonized and constantly brutalized, oppressed, exploited; their life-possibilities limited, caged, dictated by their oppressor they would rebel and, with courage, lash out to confront the oppressor with arms.”
Funding Provided by: Faucett Family Foundation  

The Japanese-American’s Struggle with Identity in World War II

James Heo ('12); Mentor: Samuel Yamashita

Abstract:  Although the framework of transnationalism is a relatively modern concept, throughout history many immigrant communities in the United States have struggled with conflicting influences from their host and home countries.  In the case of Japanese Americans much of the scholarship utilizing transnationalism as a framework has largely focused on their experiences in the late 20th and early 21st Century. Although recently there has been some literature addressing their transnational experience during the crucial interwar and WWII period, most of the work has approached their experience from a single-nation framework. Examining the accounts of second-generation Japanese American soldiers (Nisei) that served in WWII from a duel-nation perspective, considerably challenges the dominant historical narrative of the Japanese American experience. This approach has revealed the fallacy of narratives supported by authors like Bill Hosoakawa that depict Nisei as 100% Americans. It reveals that the Nisei experience was informed by Japanese and American influences.
Funding Provided by: Evelyn B. Craddock-McVicar Memorial Fund  

Letters from Socoro: The Fire Beneath the Ruins

Sarai Jimenez ('14); Mentor: April Mayes

Abstract:  The impact of Latin American women as active catalysts for political and social change has remained understated for most of recorded history. This makes historical research on women in Latin America challenging, especially in the Dominican Republic, which has limited resources devoted to proper and detailed historical record keeping. The research took place at the National Archives in Santo Domingo. As Professor Mayes’s research assistant, my purpose was to locate and catalog documents pertaining to the social historical period between the seventeenth and mid nineteenth centuries. I created a bibliography taken from various catalogues of these primary sources. In addition, I attempted to find information specific to one particularly active, outspoken and inspirational Dominican woman, Socorro Sanchez. I encountered letters she wrote and, through secondary sources, discovered some of her personal and powerful history.
Funding Provided by: Pomona College SURP David L. Hirsch III and Susan H. Hirsch Research Initiation Grant (AM) 

A Study of the Environmental History of the Lakshadweep Islands in the Indian Ocean

Madhav Mehta ('12); Mentor: Arash Khazeni

Abstract:  This project explores the environmental history of the Lakshadweep Islands, a chain of atolls located in the Indian Ocean off the southwest coast of India, and situates the islands’ past within a broader global history. My goal has been to produce an account of the islands’ history that uses the environment as a unifying thread and rests mainly upon a global economic and natural resource/commodity approach. The project offers an environmental history of the Lakshadweep Islands and their connections to the Indian Ocean World through an account of a natural resource and commodity cultivated on the islands, the coconut palm (species cocos nucifera). The coconut palm and the products made from it, including coir rope, are natural resources of high economic value that have shaped economic and cultural exchanges between the Lakshadweep Islands and the wider Indian Ocean World from the Mughal Era (1526-1858) to the present.
Funding Provided by: Pomona College SURP  

Imagined Nationalities: Greek Identity in the Balkans, 1912-2012

Jacob Moe ('13); Giota Stogiannidou*; Mentor: Helena Wall
*Karipeion Institute Myrsini Kalogera

Abstract:  "Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities, an exploration of the origins of nationalism, proposes the definition of the nation as “an imagined political community.” The nation of Greece has thus “imagined” itself largely through interaction with its Macedonian neighbors, over centuries of conflict. How did Greece situate itself in the Balkans a century ago? How does it situate itself today? Using as flashpoints the First Balkan War (1912) and the current economic crisis, I examine how Greece “imagines” itself as a part of (and apart from) the Balkans. A month of research for primary sources (such as diplomatic interactions during the war of 1912) at the Karipeion Institute of Macedonian-Thrace Studies, and a month of interviews “on the ground” during the peak of the economic crisis constitute my material. Both are complementary: understanding Greek history in the Balkans is crucial to understanding how it deals with the current crisis."
Funding Provided by: Faucett Family Foundation  

That Blood Is Crying From the Ground

Evan Preston ('12); Mentor: Helena Wall

Abstract:  My research involved Civil War commemorations in 1913 Gettysburg and Boston. During the expansion of Jim Crow, the largest gathering of Civil War veterans since the war occurred in Gettysburg on the fiftieth anniversary of that battle. I investigated the organization of Gettysburg’s ceremonies and the public speeches made there to uncover how race was dealt with at this crucial moment in public memory. I found support for recent scholarship indicating a paucity of black veterans attended the event though the narrative of the public speeches said virtually nothing of the legacy of emancipation. Some speeches even evoked white nationalism. Black press accounts attacked the ceremonies at Gettysburg or ignored them. I discovered previously unmentioned articles from black-owned papers about bi-racial commemorations in Boston, including calls for militant egalitarianism. I also discovered that some recent scholarship overlooked a significant amount of local mainstream press coverage of the Boston ceremonies.
Funding Provided by: Hart Institute for American History  

Triggering Revolution

Benjamin Tumin ('12); Mentor: Helena Wall

Abstract:  My research initially focused on Thomas Paine’s role in the American Revolution. After reading his collected writings, it became apparent that he believed it his duty to convince others that revolution was imminent. His success in doing so played a major part in triggering the massive rebellion that was to come shortly thereafter.     This role as a catalyst raised further questions. How did Paine know that revolution was at hand, and how did he know how what to say to persuade many colonists? More generally, what sparks revolution? I turned to works on the natural history and sociology of revolution to begin answering this latter question.     My goal is to draw lessons from Paine’s exceptional ability to foresee revolution and apply them to a broader study. Hopefully, this will lead to a better understanding of revolutionary catalysts in the American Revolution and in revolution as a whole.
Funding Provided by: Hart Institute for American History  

A Study of the Sino-Chilean Trade: Its Implications for China-Chile Relations and the United States

Ge Zhang ('13); Mentor: Miguel Tinker Salas

Abstract:  Employing data issued by the Chilean National Customs Service and existing secondary literature on the subject, this research analyzes (1) the state of China-Chile trade (2) the development of Sino-Chilean relations through trade in recent years (3) its implications for the United States.  Conclusions:   China´s enormous demand for minerals has sustained elevated copper prices worldwide benefiting the Chilean economy over the past decade. In addition to copper, China has diversified its imports of Chilean products to include forestry, meat, and fish products.   Despite the scale of Chinese-Chilean trade, language, and cultural barriers have hampered bilateral academic and cultural exchange programs.  Increased trade with Chile has likewise no yet translated into political influence for China in Chile.  Chilean elites have been unwilling to risk its traditionally strong tie with United States and fear provoking Washington.
Funding Provided by: Paul K. Richter and Evalyn E. Cook Richter Memorial Fund  

Research at Pomona