AccoladesA Collection of Student Scholarship

2016 Accolades

Accolades entries are organized by degree program. Each program section includes an overview of the featured student works followed by a listing of individual project abstracts for easy browsing.

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Master of Arts in History View all accolades »

Students in the Master of Arts in History program conduct a comprehensive analysis of the major developments, events, and figures of the past through the pursuit of one of two tracks: American History and World History.

  • 2016
  • Master of Arts in History

An Analysis on the Importance of Commercial Port Cities in the Netherlands and Urban Networking in the 16th and 17th Centuries

Author: Richard Sierra
Abstract:

The economic, intellectual, and political relationships shared amongst the cities of The Netherlands in the Early Modern times are an under-studied subject in world history. The urban network in the Netherlands served as a fundamental core of the interconnected economy of the world-system proposed by Immanuel Wallerstein and is a center of gravity in Dutch historiography that merits closer examination. This paper focuses on the role the secondary urban network played in making Amsterdam and the Netherlands a major world power during that country's "Golden Age."

  • 2016
  • Master of Arts in History

Blank Generation: The Cold War and the History of Punk Subculture

Author: Shalon van Tine
Abstract:

During the Cold War, mainstream society struggled to adapt to changing times, leading to the growth of various countercultures. The rise of societal and cultural movements during the 1970s and 1980s was a direct reaction to the political uncertainty of the period, and the boundless optimism experienced by the Baby Boomer generation was replaced with the disillusionment of Generation X. Plagued with economic, social, and cultural problems, the youth culture reacted by creating their own independent music and style that sought to fight these problems through artistic protest and social change. Punk music and punk culture emerged during this time as a reaction against the demoralizing political events related to the Cold War and against the mainstream values and commercialization of the Baby Boomer generation. The political, social, and cultural phenomena of the punk movement were inextricably intertwined, and the punk subculture was undeniably connected to the social and cultural consequences of the Cold War era.

  • 2016
  • Master of Arts in History

Capturing an Expanding World: The Growth of Luxury Trade and the Art of the Renaissance

Author: Brittany Gay
Abstract:

The Italian Renaissance of the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries produced some of the world’s most beautiful pieces of art. The true power of art for the historian extends far beyond an appreciation of the beauty or an examination of changing techniques. Art did not develop in a vacuum but rather was a product of a complex series of social, economic, political, and intellectual factors. Failing to recognize and evaluate this wider context diminishes art’s historical value. Essentially, we deny the art its voice as a culturally-bound artifact. This essay presents a small sampling of the developments and trends in the study of Renaissance art. Following the developments of social history in the 1960s, historians began to examine how art influenced wider cultural and economic changes and vice versa. Art was a way for the Renaissance individual to send messages about their social power, political influence, and economic success to those around them. Due to its high cost, patronage was a luxury of the elite and rising merchant classes. Art became a repository of the dominant social values of the emergent urban-elite class that developed in the wake of the commercial revolution. As merchants, bankers, and traders gained wealth and political power, as a result of the luxury trade in the Mediterranean, they sought to emulate the culture of the old landed elite. As a result, their values set the new standard for the urban culture of art.

  • 2016
  • Master of Arts in History

Historiography of the Kurdistan Nationalist Movement: 1945-1995

Author: Michael Earle
Abstract:

As the world’s largest stateless ethnicity, Kurds have fallen victim to numerous Middle Eastern states, themselves beneficiaries of post-colonial nationalism, which rejected a true answer to the “Kurdish Question.” Arising in spite of uneven or otherwise absent international support was a bifurcated resistance and nationalistic movement. Discussing Kurdish nationalism across the fifty years following the end of World War II traces post-colonialism, Arab nationalism, the Cold War, United States interventionism and the rise of ethnic diasporas across Europe without a particularly careful look at the Kurds themselves. How the United Nations succeeded and failed in representing all people after 1945 is demonstrated in their handling of Kurdish oppression and uprisings and the Kurds continue today to be a disparate piece in a much larger regional puzzle. The historiography on such people falls primarily into two broad categories—opinions from American and European historians and the much newer Kurdish academic viewpoint. This essay also considers those two perspectives most closely with additional consideration given to Turkish and Russian points of view, which help contextualize the broader two bodies of historiography. Kurdish Nationalism in this era displays the success and failure of self-determination during Western Europe’s retreat from the rest of the world, a vacuum filled by the United States and Soviet Union and the beginnings of a Kurdish academic assembly.

  • 2016
  • Master of Arts in History

Institutionalizing Poverty through Federal Policy

Author: Dennette Derezotes
Abstract:

Title IV and Title V of the Social Security Act of 1935, created by progressive female welfare reformers and based on eugenic principles to ameliorate prevailing anxieties over ethnic and racial identity and promote degeneration of the unfit, shifted the American contract from one of rugged individualism to a welfare state driven by progressive maternalism, steeped in eugenic principles, and designed to maintain social control. This created, for the first time, national and state social supports for children and their single mothers while it maintained social control by limiting the level of support these families received to below the level of a living wage, only obtainable with restrictions. Although some changes have been made through the years, Title IV and Title V of the Act remain the foundations of ineffective modern day national public welfare systems that created and maintain poverty and oppression in America today. This is not to say that Title IV and Title V of the Act were not innovative or that gender, politics, and social experience did not influence the welfare thinking of the period as social welfare historians suggest, but that active distribution of eugenic theory presented as scientific fact in the United States during this time influenced the efforts of social welfare reformers of the early twentieth century and continue to influence policy and practice today.

  • 2016
  • Master of Arts in History

Monsters, Savages, and the Criminally Destructive: How Anarchism was Effectively Defeated by its Opponents

Author: Robert Wood
Abstract:

First, this paper explores the European and American portrayals of anarchists and anarchism from the end of the nineteenth century through the middle of the twentieth century and how these portrayals were used to effectively overcome the challenge anarchism posed to rival political ideologies. Secondly, it examines the legislative, judicial, and policing methods used to combat the perceived threat by anarchists and anarchism, including the creation of police agencies and networks like the F.B.I. and INTERPOL. Lastly, there is an overview and analysis of the use of police and military force against anarchist movements. The foundations of modern counter-terrorism systems originated with the effort to combat anarchism.

  • 2016
  • Master of Arts in History

Mr. Black and the Limits of Sacrifice: Rationing and the Black Market in Fredericksburg and the Commonwealth of Virginia during World War II

Author: Vina Hutchinson
Abstract:

In popular history and memory, the World War II years are remembered as glory years for the United States. The country’s armed forces fought in league with their allies across the globe to protect freedom and secure the same for the oppressed. People in Allied countries easily identified Hitler and Tojo as representatives of evil and enjoyed seeing them vilified in cartoons and caricatures. World War II was, in most ways, a good and just war. But even this good and just war called upon Americans to make sacrifices for the greater good. The government viewed rationing of certain goods and price controls on others as necessary not only as a means to prevent inflation but also to ensure equitable distribution. While Americans supported the principle of sacrifice, they often found the reality difficult to bear, employing a series of alibis to excuse their behavior “claiming their sacrifices would not really have helped the war anyway, that someone else was receiving favored treatment, or that some blockheaded bureaucrat was bungling the whole thing.” Some Americans during the war years viewed rationing in the United States with suspicion because as residents in the land of plenty, they found it difficult to believe that food and other supplies could be available only on a limited basis. For some Americans, sacrifice had its limits.

  • 2016
  • Master of Arts in History

Nat Turner, the Virginia Slavery Debates, and the Path towards Disunion

Author: Philip Grathwol
Abstract:

A fascinating look at the one case of violent rebellion acted on by black slaves against their white masters in U.S. history. The impacts of the Nat Turner Revolt in 1831 were far more wide ranging than many realize. The debates over the abolition of slavery in the Virginia Legislature that followed in the immediate wake of the uprising, prompted discussion and thought that set the nation on a path towards Civil War with abolition and slavery as the central issues 30 years later.