History Department – Senior Seminar
Senior Seminar Papers Presentation 2013
The Western Oregon University History Department initiated the Senior Seminar in 1997 as a requirement for all history majors. The university provost had requested that each academic department develop a means to ascertain whether its majors had achieved the goals of its program. The history faculty quickly recognized that the research, interpretation, and writing were the goals and competencies we wished that our majors achieve. To this end, the faculty created the Senior Seminar. In this course students undertook research projects of their choice, worked closely with professors in developing the project, and then wrote journal-length articles.
To help students develop their research, interpretive, and writing skills, the faculty also created a junior-level course titled, “History Research and Writing.” Furthermore, in all upper division courses faculty emphasized the above-mentioned competencies. In this year’s seminar, most of the students began work on their topic in one of these courses, supporting their initial work with additional research and reviews of scholarship. Over the past seven years, the faculty has seen a rise in the quality of senior seminar papers and an increase in the number of students choosing to major in history. The following seventeen papers from this year’s seminar attest to these trends.
Although by definition, historians study the past, this year’s war seems to have influenced the themes that the students chose research. Over half of them studied some aspect of war, with World War II and the Cold War predominating. A trend which contrasts to earlier years is that United States history topics, more than world history topics, attracted the greatest attention. An unexpected consequence of this preference is that our U.S. historians, professors Max Geier and Kimberly Jensen, had to make heroic efforts to advise all these students. Some new topical areas also have emerged. Three students each chose to write on women’s history or the environment. Two chose revolutionary movements in Latin America. One chose ethics; another, erotic art.
Not surprisingly in a discipline with a long tradition of revisionism, a number of the students challenged traditional perspectives. One paper highlighted the plight of conscientious objectors in World War II, another, the government’s dishonesty about nuclear weapons development, another, a critical view of the Everson ruling, and still another, the failure of paradigms to explain the Zapatista movement.
All students used a combination of primary and secondary sources in their research. In analyzing their topic, they discussed how other historians have interpreted it, and then developed their own thesis. Students wrote two preliminary drafts of their paper, both which their advisors edited, before writing their final draft. Although this process is very time-consuming for students and faculty alike, we feel that the seminar papers are the real testimony of what our history majors have accomplished at Western Oregon University.
John L. Rector
Professor of History
Senior Seminar Thesis Papers:
Seminar papers since 2012 are posted online through the Digital Commons at Hamersly Library: digitalcommons.wou.edu/his/
|AUTHOR||THESIS TITLE (and link to file)|
|Ashley Barnes||Paintings in Roman Pompeii: Differences in Public and Private Areas of the Home|
|Jessica Bertling||Woman Suffrage Movement in Oregon|
|Matt Bond||Ivan the Terrible: Centralization in Sixteenth Century Muscovy|
|Rebecca Carlson||Don Juan de Oñate’s Prosecution for “Crimes and Excesses” in the Provinces of New Mexico, 1614|
|Sarah Coelho||Theoderic the Great vs . Boethius : Tensions in Italy in the Late 5 th and Early 6 th Centuries|
|Joshua Duder||Fort de Caroline, 1562-64 & Fort Raleigh, 1585-1590: Periphery Victims of Spanish Religious Intolerance|
|Mark Lowry||Boniface VIII and Philip IV: Conflict Between Church and State|
|Mindy Nichols||Did Ancient Romans Love Their Children?Infanticide in Ancient Rome|
|Jeffery Sawyer||Torture and its Consequences in American History|
|Anthony Sutton||Cuban Medicine through the 1990s|
|Jordan Wilde||Ancient Greek Hoplites and their Origins|
|Josh Woods||Homeland Insecurity: Truman, Hoover, and Intelligence|
AUTHOR, THESIS TITLE (and link to file)
Ashley Bell Neolin and Tenskwatawa: A Comparison of Two Nativist Prophets
Jeff Benson The Olmecs: Where the Sidewalk Begins
Monica Fleener The Significance of the Coronation of Charlemagne
Justin Gavette The Mexican American War and Its Effects
Jenny George Influenza Pandemic of 1918: Effects on the United States Military
Kathryn Horrocks Where was the First Amendment? Trials Under the Espionage and Sedition Acts During World War I
Lucie Johnson Influence of Returning Gods: Aztecs and Hawaiians
Katie Lane Vikings in the East: Scandanavian Influence in Kievan Rus
Ronald Leslie Hadrian’s Second Jewish Revolt: Political or Religious?
Shoshana Loos Women and Unions During World War II
Lindsay McNeill Romanization in Ancient Iberia: Religion and Ideology
David Meek Return of the Judaeans
Sarah Rossos Petticoats to Trousers: “True Womanhood” and California Gold Rush Women
Liz Saufley Women in the German Democratic Republic: The Discrepancy Between Socialist Rhetoric and Daily Practice
Jonathan Tipton Osama “The Terrorist”: A Shifting Silhouette
Ambera Tolbert Merovingian and Carolingian Empires: An Analysis of Their Strengths and Weaknesses
Hiromi Uera The 1947 Constitution of Japan: The Process of Democracy in Japanese Society
Daniel Van Winkle An Examination of the Use of History in the Rise of Ethic Nationalism in the Former Socialist Federation of Yugoslavia
AUTHOR, THESIS TITLE (and link to file)