History 586 - Advanced Seminar in History

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The collection presented here, posted at the end of each semester, reflects exemplary, professional research and writing, a target goal of the history major at Kansas State University. These essays have passed an outside reader review, a rigorous screening with a rubric, but they also reflect best practice standards of the history profession. All 586 seminars include substantial peer review by other students in the classes. The research project is a semester-long exploration of a topic determined by the professor, based on that professor’s personal expertise. In this way, historians in specific fields guide student research. The topics, research avenues, and use of primary source collections vary widely across time and place, a dynamism showcasing the challenge and potential of history scholarship.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 38
  • ItemOpen Access
    Iroquoian Medicine Women and the Earth Around them in New York State
    (Kansas State University. Dept. of Hsitory, 2017) Moffett, Corrine A.
    The Iroquois Nation has a long history and valued reputation regarding their reverence for the environment; from traditions passed down orally for years to a 1999 study by the Seneca Nation in an effort to save their land. The medicine women of the Iroquois in New York state have a connection to the environment that is unique from other tribal members. Their domestic role as food preparers accompanied by their role as medicine women connects them to the environment around them. Using and analyzing primary narratives by outside observers and geographical studies, this examination takes a look into the lesser-studied aspects of the connection between Iroquoian medicine women and their environment.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Snow, Smoke, and Swamp: Environmental Considerations of Seventeenth-Century Colonial Warfare in Southern New England
    (Kansas State University. Dept. of History) Wilson, Jamie G.; jamie1206
    Research finds that environmental factors such as the ecology of the swamp, the terrain, and winter weather had a substantial impact on The Great Swamp Fight of December 19, 1675 during King Philips. Comparison prior battles such as the Mystic River Massacre forty years prior have been overly simplistic. While the tactics used by the English against the Narragansett in the Great Swamp seem inspired by Mystic, the physical landscape and weather conditions altered the outcome. Through environmental histories of the region, first person accounts, and concomitant histories of King Philip’s War and the Pequot War, the role of the environment in shaping The Great Swamp fight is clear.
  • ItemOpen Access
    “’Whose Dog are You?’” Union Army Pets in the American Civil War, 1861-1865
    (Kansas State University. Dept. of History) Combes, McKenzie A.; mcombes1
    This is an analysis of the importance and use of Union Army pets during the American Civil War from 1861-1865. Research shows that pets provided psychological advantages, companionship, and a meaningful, necessary relationship with their fellow soldiers. Research also shows that these pets were held to the same standards as the soldiers and were treated and acted just like any other soldier. The author used letters, diaries, studies, journal articles, reports, photographs, and books.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Scratching the Itch: The role of venereal disease in the settling of the American West
    (Kansas State University. Dept. of History) Edgar, Joshua, D.; jdedgar; Edgar, Joshua, D.
    For many, the frontier conjures up pictures of cowboys and shootouts. However, for those who lived through the frontier period, the picture was painted with a much bleaker brush. The constant threat of venereal disease played a major role in shaping the frontier. Whether it be through its drain on the military, its widespread effect on the national social fabric, or its rapid decimation of communities, sexually transmitted diseases were major factors in how people made decisions and where they settled. Venereal diseases can also be used to isolate and then extrapolate the changing moral landscape of both the frontier and America at the change of the 20th century. In the broad spectrum, the study of venereal diseases can be used a tool to expand our knowledge of not only the medical field, but can also develop our understanding of how modern attitudes regarding sexually transmitted infections were influenced by the past.
  • ItemOpen Access
    "To Save the Innocent, I Demand the Guilty": The Huddy-Asgill Affair
    (Kansas State University. Dept. of History) Duke, Claire A .; caduke; Duke, Claire A .
    The Huddy-Asgill affair, though a supposedly minor event, illustrated important aspects of the American Revolution. It was emblematic of much larger issues of this period. The affair exemplified the volatile, civil war-like atmosphere between loyalist and patriot populations, and reflected polarized public opinions, both in the colonies and abroad, and their impact on the decisions of American leadership.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A History of Penicillin: The Miracle of Medicine
    (Kansas State University. Dept. of History) Rogers, John P.; jprogers; Rogers, John P.
    The discovery of penicillin in 1928 was a breakthrough in the world of medicine. Bacterial diseases could now be treated rapidly and easily without the long, complex regimens prescribed by doctors before this time. Surprisingly, many in the public and medical communities accepted this new medicine quickly with (seemingly) very few skeptics about the application of this newfound medicine. This paper seeks to explain why that happened. Examining not only the discovery of penicillin and its contribution to modern medicine, but also analyzing how doctors treated bacterial diseases before the discovery such as diphtheria will accomplish this goal. These methods serve as a means of hypothesizing why the acceptance of penicillin was so rapid. The analysis will be accomplished using newspaper articles and medical journals from mainly the 19th and 20th centuries, using secondary sources only to supplement what cannot be found in the available sources.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Up to Their Elbows in Blood: The Crimean War and the Professionalization of Medicine
    (Kansas State University. Dept. of History) Eaves, Tyler W.; chilarome; Eaves, Tyler W.
    Fought in the mid-1850s, many scholars regard the Crimean War as largely insignificant. However in reality, the historical contributions of the war are important – particularly those contributions pertaining to medicine. This seemingly “unnecessary” war facilitated the modernization of Western medicine; methods used during and directly after the Crimean War were standard until World War Two. A brief history of the war reveals medical data that constitutes the bulk of my interpretation. The war’s specific medical achievements are highlighted throughout the essay. The findings in this paper are by no means conclusive, but they exhibit that it is important to look beyond Florence Nightingale, the war’s most famous and studied individual, and gaze upon the larger trends of medicine. Her story is covered in some detail in this paper, but she is not the sole source of innovation from this rather disastrous war. The professionalization of Western medicine stands out as one of the great accomplishments of this war, despite scholars viewing the war as useless.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Castles of K-State
    (Kansas State University. Dept. of History) Mayhew, Melissa
    One of the most notable things about the Kansas State University campus is its abundance of castles. This paper argues that these castles were designed to match earlier buildings that were a part of medieval revival styles in architecture, particularly the Romanesque. What the medieval meant to the adopters of the Romanesque was different from the ideas of Englishness and aristocracy of the Gothic revival, yet they shared the use of medieval architecture as a statement against the standardization and cold logic of the Industrial Revolution. While the meaning and significance of the K-State castles has changed over the century or so they have existed, the differing values of what the medieval and modern symbolize still appear when new castles are built and the old ones restored.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Perspective on Luther from a Lutheran Historian
    Heil, Aaron
    Ernest G. Schwiebert (b. 1895 – d. 2000) numbered among the Reformation and medieval historians of the early twentieth century who came out of the Ivy League? in his specific case, Cornell. Schwiebert’s legacy places him in high regard among Reformation and particularly Lutheran scholars, but in terms of a larger historiography figures such as Roland H. Bainton and Preserved Smith generally overshadow him. Nevertheless, Schwiebert’s research provides a unique perspective on the Reformation as he used primarily German sources due to his time spent teaching in Germany whilst he wrote his book, Luther and His Times . Schwiebert also provides a unique view of Luther in that he himself confessed the Lutheran faith, and thus viewed his familiarity with the Reformer’s work as an advantage. Overall, Schwiebert’s view on Luther places Luther as a product of medieval times, who thought like a medieval man would have and in many ways reasoned like one, thereby questioning the distinction between medieval and early modern figures.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Maverick of the Frontier: Commander Henry Leavenworth
    Cox, Joshua
    The purpose of this study is to prove that Henry Leavenworth’s highly interpersonal and innovative leadership style clearly distinguished him as one of the most accomplished commanders of the Early American West.
  • ItemOpen Access
    An Assessment of the Valuable Contributions and Abilities of African Americans Associated with the North American Fur Trade in the Trans-Mississippi West and Great Lakes Region from 1720-1840.
    Hall-Latchman, Blake
    The goal of this paper will be to contend the reason African American fur traders were often included in fur trading parties was due to their linguistic abilities and cultural influence with Native American populations. This can especially be seen in the Trans-Mississippi West and Great Lakes region of North America from 1720-1840. Research methods include but are not limited to primary/secondary sources, letters, maps, journal, and diaries. The findings will show specific examples of African American contributions to fur trading parties via individual case studies.
  • ItemOpen Access
    “A deadly ball hath limited my life”: social constructs of the ‘Good Battlefield Death’ in the Revolutionary War
    (2014-09-25) Talkington, Brittney
    The “Good Death,” as it was understood in the eighteenth century, involved being aware that one was going to die, making one’s peace with God, and having family and friends at the bedside to receive wisdom and edification. The dying person occupied a space between worlds, according to popular belief, and could give clues to those present at the deathbed about the mysteries of God and sacred truths. The battlefield death, with its suddenness, lack of decorum, and unpredictability, did not fit into this pattern, and that posed a problem – as the experience of Trumbull’s sister illustrates – for the revolutionary generation. This paper will argue that revolutionary battles were of such scale, reached so deeply into the civilian population, and coincided so overtly with the birth of a new nation, that artists, writers, and chroniclers began to create a new version of the “Good Death” – a battlefield version of the good death – that could help to alleviate social stress. The “Good Battlefield Death,” conveyed through artistic works, narratives, funeral sermons, and oration, depicted the dying soldier as being able to ask forgiveness for sins and offer his soul to god, die with a comrade at his side, acknowledge those being left behind, receiving well wishes and respect from those present, giving advice to those still fighting, and signify the righteousness of the cause he was fighting for.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Revolt in revolution: preventing and promoting slave revolt in revolutionary South Carolina
    (2014-09-25) Claxton, Haley
    “Revolt in Revolution: Preventing and Promoting Slave Revolt in Revolutionary South Carolina” discusses the uses of African American slaves during the Revolutionary War by both American and British combatants, especially focused on the promised reward of freedom for slaves joining either side of the conflict. The main argument of the paper is that: “Both white combatants sought to maintain control of African American slaves… and continually forced them into subservient military roles, despite the eventual promise of freedom, ultimately circumscribed by the victors.” The paper further claims that American promises for emancipation for supportive slaves was only as a reaction to British promises and that the conflict, following the Dunmore and Philipsburg Proclamations (British proclamations insuring post war emancipation for supportive slaves) was deeper than simply maintaining military slave allies in South Carolina. Instead, the conflict became a battle over which white party would define post-war freedom, assuming that slaves were incapable of truly understanding what liberty would mean. Primary sources relied upon include personal correspondence from American plantation owners and members of the Patriot military, statements from British military personnel, legal proceedings and wartime proclamations (including the British Dunmore and Philipsburg Proclamations and reactionary decrees made by American governmental bodies), and newspaper articles, among other documents from the period.
  • ItemOpen Access
    “Blood for blood”: David Fanning and retaliatory violence between Tories and Whigs in the revolutionary Carolinas
    (2014-09-19) Mayr, Gregory
    This paper, relying primarily on Loyalist Colonel David Fanning’s personal narrative of the American Revolution, will argue that Fanning applied, in some of his actions, a form of retributive reasoning similar to that described by Historians Wayne E. Lee and Jeffrey J. Crow as typical for the revolutionary Carolinas. In Fanning’s case, the code by which he decided what to do in given situations was more complex than a one-dimensional law of retaliation; Fanning made an effort to incorporate conventional forms of honor into his actions, but harbored a great deal of distrust for his adversaries that came out of the experiences he had during the Revolution with his Whig opponents. His targets were purposive, aimed at Whig leadership, supplies and government officials. Fanning’s level of violence escalated toward the end of the revolution due to his genuine disdain for the rebels and his resentment at fighting what he eventually acknowledged to be a losing war.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Garrisonian abolitionists and woman’s rights advocates: incompatible allies
    (Kansas State University. Dept. of History, 2013-12-19) Taylor, Kara
  • ItemOpen Access
    The struggle for past glories: Pope Pius XI‟s use of terminology to combat anti-clericalism
    (Kansas State University. Dept. of History, 2013-10-01) Weickert, Amanda
    In 1936 Pope Pius XI published Vigilanti Cura, an encyclical letter that criticized the morality of the motion picture industry. Though the terms certamen and crusade do not mean the same thing, there were multiple instances where Pius XI had certamen officially translated into “holy crusade” in multiple languages within his encyclicals, including Vigilanti Cura. One possible reason for this is that the nineteenth century saw a significant rise in popularity of the Crusades, possibly influencing Pius’s view of his social and religious campaigns. The encyclical Vigilanti Cura uses the term crusade multiple times, implying Pius’s conviction that the campaign against the film industry was exactly that. Along with trying to associate his campaigns with the medieval Crusades to increase support and enthusiasm for them, Pope Pius XI was also trying to associate the enthusiasm for the medieval Crusades with the Catholic Church, taking advantage of the positive attitude toward righteous action and using it for his own ends.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Cecil B. DeMille and The Crusades’ Lionheart: An examination of King Richard I’s depiction in The Crusades (1935) and its effects on the public’s perception of him
    (Kansas State University. Dept. of History, 2013-10-01) Weber, Gregory
    Much scholarly work has been done on Cecil B. DeMille and his movies in general, but not much has been done on DeMille’s The Crusades (1935) specifically. This is especially the case with the film’s depiction of King Richard I of England. DeMille developed his own depiction of Richard through his religious upbringings and Harold Lamb’s book The Flame of Islam. DeMille depicts Richard as a masculine, self-centered warrior king, who most importantly to DeMille, changes his ways and finds his faith in God while on the Crusades. Despite DeMille’s influence and directing, this depiction did not fully translate to audiences at the time of the film’s release.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The chivalrous Saracen: Sir Walter Scott’s portrayal of Saladin in The Talisman
    (Kansas State University. Dept. of History, 2013-10-01) Balas, Eric
    In this paper, I analyze Walter Scott’s portrayal of Saladin in his novel The Talisman, to gain a deeper understanding of the significance of the Scott’s work and to more accurately understand his influence on public perceptions of the Crusades. I will argue that Scott used Saladin as a model for his vision of chivalry. Saladin is a complex character in The Talisman and has flaws, but fulfilled Scott’s primary requirements of a refined and chivalrous warrior. Also, attention to the epic’s depiction of Saladin reveals that his image of the Muslim leader is directly rooted in the works of a number of Scott’s European predecessors and contemporaries. Furthermore, growing interest in the Crusades and Saladin in the nineteenth-century played a significant role in Scott’s decision to utilize this topic in The Talisman. Finally, I contend that while Scott knew his portrayal of Saladin was fictional, he believed that the depiction was an entirely plausible one that was grounded in historical fact. All of these factors collectively reveal that Scott was motivated by a desire to create a historically believable character, but one with which he could take certain artistic liberties. Analysis of Scott’s novel The Talisman and his depiction of Saladin offers us an intimate look into an important example of Western literature that helped mold a lasting image for popular audiences of medieval Muslims and their role in the Crusades.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Politics and the Plowshare: PL 480 in Crisis, 1972-80
    (Kansas State University. Dept. of History, 2013-03-27) Caswell, Crayton
    Senator Robert Dole (R-Kansas) stumped for the continued support of the Agricultural Trade and Development Act, also known as PL 480 or the Food for Peace program. Since its inception in 1954, the program had had plenty of bipartisan support due to its humanitarian implications. However, in 1972 the Food for Peace program came under attack at precisely the same time that food prices skyrocketed around the globe. The marginalization of the Food for Peace program has been discussed for the period between 1972 and 1974, however the period beyond 1976 has received less attention. Through the use of government documents and the secondary scholarship, the period of 1976-1980 has brought to light the adaptive features of the Food for Peace program that enabled it to survive. The perceived purposes of the Food for Peace program at any given time dictated its funding and support. So in the early years of its existence, the point was to alleviate the effects of domestic overproduction while serving Cold War foreign policy interests at the same time. Because of this, the humanitarian aspects of the program were able to shift the program’s image by the early 1970s. This paper finds that during the more elusive period between 1976 and 1980, the Food for Peace program proved its ability to survive politically by adapting to changing political situations within the U.S. In response to increased U.S. grain sales to the Soviet Union, the program’s Cold War-inspired foreign policy objectives seemed to fade away. During this time, domestic realities dictated the use or non-use of the program to the point where its continued existence came into serious question. By 1980, its survival depended upon the shift towards a seemingly high-minded humanitarianism as well as the political reality that a global image of empathy would greatly benefit U.S. interests abroad.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Rumble in the Jungle: The J. Lawton Collins Mission to Vietnam and the Regime that Nearly Crumbled
    (Kansas State University. Dept. of History, 2013-03-27) Jackson, Alex
    Many are familiar with the political fallout associated with American military involvement in Vietnam. However, there are aspects of the early American presence that have received scant attention by historians. One such incident is that of the J. Lawton Collins Mission to Vietnam, which now serves as a watershed moment in history. The United States supported the South Vietnam-based Republic of Vietnam, led by Ngo Dinh Diem. The Eisenhower administration sought to shore up the sovereignty of the Diem government by sending Collins as a special advisor. Collins subsequently came of the opinion that Diem was unsuited to lead the country and that United States interests would be better served with somebody else holding the reigns of government. Collins’s opinion stemmed from an anti-communist domino effect ideology, meaning that the South Vietnamese must be united under a strong leader to combat the invasion of communism. Ultimately, the United States government does not act upon Collins’s recommendations and the mission ends. Through analysis of the secondary research conducted on the period as well as utilizing lecture notes and primary sources such as Collins’s memoir, this paper finds that at the point of the Collins Mission, two roads presented themselves to the U.S. government: force the unpopular and inexperienced Diem out of power, or allow the facade he presented to stand. This paper concludes that this was a true watershed moment in the history of the Vietnam conflict, and ultimately calls for the recognition that history is a narrative and that those points where historical actors decided to choose one option over another have had lasting effects on the course of human events.