AccoladesA Collection of Student Scholarship

2017 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.

  • 2017
  • Master of Arts in History

The Polynesian Expansion into Remote Oceania: Ascent, Divergence, and Descent

Author: Brian DePasquale
Abstract:

The objective of this paper is to answer why was there variation in the Polynesian progression from hunter-gatherer bands and tribes into agricultural-based chiefdoms as they expanded their networks and developed their hierarchies and cultures during the era of Polynesian expansion. Cultural-historical analysis has revealed that the geographic scale of the Pacific Ocean, along with its environmental and climatic diversity, affected the development of Polynesian networks, hierarchies, and cultures during their expansion and led to considerable variation in societal evolution from hunter-gathering bands and tribes into sedentary agricultural-based hierarchical chiefdoms. Many of the patterns of the Polynesian societal evolution in Remote Oceania uncovered through cultural and historical research have shown that diversification within their societies was as much due to what occurred prior to colonization, but also to the circumstances of their post-settlement history. Polynesia prior to European contact was defined by its relationship with the ocean; its demographics, networks, hierarchies, and culture were the product of a Remote Oceanic worldview, which evolved from the seas they traveled and islands they colonized.

  • 2017
  • Master of Arts in History

Andrew Jackson Versus Historians: How Changes in American Moralism Created a Monster

Author: Eric Draudt
Abstract:

Andrew Jackson was, and still is one of the most polarizing Presidents in the history of the United States. His face is on our currency, much like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, yet, there isn’t an era of America named after them like Jackson. Washington belongs to the Revolutionary era and Lincoln belongs to the Civil War era, but Jackson belongs to the Age of Jackson. The Jacksonian Age saw a rebirth of Republican values, the spread of democracy, the rise of the common man, and the growth of federal power. These alone could keep historians arguing over Jackson indefinitely. However, the most controversial and hotly debated issue concerning Jackson’s presidency is Native American removal. Since his retirement from office, Jackson’s actions have generated debate over the legitimacy of the forced removal.

Recently, America has entered a new age of moralistic values. With little research, one can see a trend of when the defense of Jackson ended, and when the persecution began; the American Civil Rights Movement. The change in American moralism permeates through the pens of our historians, and turned a president who promoted American values, into a monster. Historians often make the mistake of using modern moralistic thought to interpret the past. While this makes for some interesting historical works, it does not make them historically accurate, and that remains true for the historiography of Andrew Jackson’s decision to remove the Natives.

  • 2017
  • Master of Arts in History

Averting Death: Civil Resistance, Social Networks and International Players in the Rwandan Genocide

Author: Anatasia Schafer
Abstract:

The ethnic cleansing of Tutsis in Rwanda was a neighborhood genocide where the regions, prefectures, and neighborhoods within the country all endured different experiences in April, May and June of 1994. Depending on parochial loyalties, local authorities and neighborly relationships, the genocide was experienced in very different ways. The research behind the smaller events of the genocide at the micro-level within prefectures and neighborhoods is new but developing. Analyzing the genocide within the context of the experiences and stories, along with UN reports and rescuer testimonies offers a unique, traumatic, and subaltern perspective of how the events unfolded. A socio-psychological lens helps to extract the whys and the hows of the genocide through asking questions such as: Why did the genocide occur in some places in Rwanda and not others? How were neighbors able to kill their neighbors? Why were places of safety used as sites of mass murder? And finally, how did the lack of international involvement affect the location or rate of violence and death? Swayed by fear, hatred or hope of reward, thousands of Hutu Rwandans chose to kill, rape, and rob their Tutsi neighbors. The strategy of ethnic division within local and national regions throughout Rwanda created a rift between neighbors, friends and families that ultimately ended in brutal bloodshed. However, the Rwandan genocide occurred with more vigor and at faster rates in some places over others due to the resiliency of social networks, courageous civil resistance and both internal and external oppositional forces.

  • 2017
  • Master of Arts in History

Bridging Cosmologies: Gaspar Antonio Chi and Maya Cultural Continuity in Colonial Yucatán

Author: Collin Lee
Abstract:

This paper is an examination of how the Maya were able to preserve their indigenous cultural and religious traditions after the conquest despite intensive efforts by the Spanish Franciscan authorities to eradicate them and replace them with Catholic European values. A close examination of the life of the famous Maya interpreter Gaspar Antonio Chi is used as a case study to show how a high-profile Maya elite was able to secretly act as a religious authority to his people in order to preserve Maya religion and culture after the conquest.

  • 2017
  • Master of Arts in History

Buddhism, Law, and the Rise of the Warrior: Decline in Women's Status between Heian and Kamakura Japan

Author: Stephanie McLaughlin
Abstract:

This paper questions why women's status in Japan declined between the Heian and Kamakura periods. Contributing factors discussed are Buddhism, legal changes, and the rise of warrior culture.

  • 2017
  • Master of Arts in History

Cultural Influences on the Politics of Religious Education in Saudi Arabia from 1950-1979

Author: Sharon Berube
Abstract:

From 1950 to 1979, Saudi Arabian rulers expanded their state-sponsored public education system for the first time in the Kingdom’s history. The new system, funded with the revenues generated by the growing oil industry, provided greater educational opportunities for a larger percentage of the population throughout the Arabian Peninsula. At the core of this newly expanded system was a religious educational curriculum based on the tenets of Saudi Arabia’s revivalist version of Sunni Islam, known as Wahhabism. Why did the Saud royal family concurrently develop a Wahhabi-based religious educational system during this period of rapid modernization? To cultural historians, religious-based education offered cultural consistency that stabilized the confusion of modernization, while political historians focused their attention on the political benefits of religious education to Saud hegemony. To American political leaders of the time, religious education was viewed as effective social reform executed in a manner consistent with their understanding of Islamic history and Arab culture. This capstone study identifies the internal and external forces that influenced the Saud regime’s decision to implement religious-based education during a period of modernization. The methodology of this study establishes historical context and illuminates, both historically and contemporarily to the time of this study, the political changes and events that influenced the Saud royal family’s decision. Ultimately, this capstone argues that it is the synthesis of cultural and political influences, perceived within appropriate historical context, that illuminates the nuances of religious education in Saudi Arabia during the Cold War years of 1950-1979.

  • 2017
  • Master of Arts in History

Fallmerayer and the Bulgarian Church Schism: The Effect of the Threat to Greek Identity on Religious Ecumenism in the Nineteenth Century

Author: Jason Britton
Abstract:

The integrity of nineteenth century Neohellenic culture and heritage was threatened by the writings of the German historian, Jacob Philip Fallmerayer in the 1830s. Fallmerayer's attack on the basic nature of Greek ethnicity created a cultural mindset that permeated Greek society to its highest levels in the Ottoman Empire, rekindling a century’s old rift between the Greek and Bulgarian Orthodox communities of the Rum millet. In this time of Balkan national awakening, Orthodox religious tradition served as a repository of cultural heritage suppressed under Ottoman rule. The "National Church" came to be seen as a means of legitimating a particular community's "nationhood" status. Fallmerayer's challenge went to the heart of the Hellenic character of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the right of national church autonomy based on ethnicity, culture, and language. The Greeks had fought for, and won, this right from the Porte during the Greek War of Independence during the early decades of the nineteenth century. Less than fifty years later the Ecumenical Patriarchate would refuse the Bulgarians’ request for the same right, and ultimately declare their Slav antagonists, schismatic. When Fallmerayer brought into question the authenticity of Modern Greek ethnic heritage he helped set in motion an ethnophyletic controversy that split the Orthodox Church in the Balkans.

  • 2017
  • Master of Arts in History

Marching on Anacostia: The Bonus Army and the Defiance of Douglas MacArthur

Author: Nicholas Salamore
Abstract:

On July 28, 1932, federal troops were called on to restore order in Washington, DC. Following months of peaceful protest, a deadly clash between district police and World War I veterans, organized under the banner of the Bonus Army, threatened to engulf the capital in violence. Under the supervision of Army Chief of Staff, General Douglas MacArthur, infantry, cavalry, and tanks moved through the city and forced the veterans from their shanty encampments. When MacArthur reached the bridge that separated the city, President Herbert Hoover balked and ordered that the operation come to a halt. Defiant, MacArthur pushed on across the Anacostia River, leaving smoldering piles of ash and debris on a field that once housed thousands of veterans and their families.

This paper seeks to understand MacArthur’s defiance by placing it within the context of earlier interventions of federal troops into outbreaks of domestic disorder caused by labor unrest. By analyzing the Bonus Army Riot from this perspective, MacArthur’s decision to pursue a decisive end to the protest is not anomalous. Rather, what emerges is an understanding of how the Bonus Army Riot fits into the broader history of military intervention into civil unrest.