Four students mentored by History faculty won awards recently at the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Conference.
Jessica Hauger, mentored by Drs. Erik Peterson and Lisa Lindquist-Dorr, won second place in the Oral Presentations for Fine Arts and Humanities. Hauger’s talk was titled “‘The Common Lot’: The Philosophical Problem of Labor Pain in the Late Nineteenth Century,” and explored conceptions of childbirth pain in the period following the invention of anesthesia. Hauger examined the gulf between physicians’ and women’s perceptions, as well as the conflict between religious and scientific perspectives, regarding the use of anesthesia during labor.
Molly Buffington, mentored by Dr. Charles P. Clark, won first place in the Oral Presentations for the Fine Arts Division of the Emerging Scholars Program. Buffington examined the experiences of WWI-era US troops sent to extreme northern Russian under the order of President Wilson, who tasked them with guarding Allied weapons stockpiles from possible German insurgents, but who soon found themselves joining the French and British in attacking Bolsheviks on Russia soil. Buffington draws from first-hand accounts, such as John Cudahy’s Archangel: The American War with Russia, to more recent overviews, like Roger Crownover’s The United States Intervention in North Russia, finding that the literature written on this engagement stresses the confusion and depression these soldiers felt. They were denied any coherent explanation for their mission from their own government and nearly forgotten by all but their mothers and wives.
Lauren Deutsch, mentored by Dr. James Mixson, won first place in the Poster Presentations for Fine Arts and Humanities. Deutsch combined a GIS mapping program with primary source research to map the possible routes that monks, nuns, friars, and canons might have taken to travel in the Middle Ages. She argued that using this technology allows historians to be more detailed and precise in their research on the movement of individuals during this period, and that much more work remains to be done to fully take advantage of what GIS mapping might reveal about the Middle Ages.
William McCrary, mentored by Dr. George Rable, won second place in the Poster Presentations for the Fine Arts Division of the Emerging Scholars Program. McCrary examined the values of soldiers in the American Civil War and how the war affected them. Both Union and Confederate soldiers are analyzed through newspapers, pamphlets, and their own letters to gain a firsthand view of what mattered to those who fought. Between the opposing sides, soldiers were about equally concerned with topics such as virtue, discipline, pride, and masculinity, among others. By presenting the values of the soldiers, the views of the culture around them and ideas that made them fight can become clearer.