Category Archives: Undergrad News

The Mannion Society: Seniors and their Final Projects

“Created by the Department of History to identify particularly impressive history majors and offer them an intensive introduction to research and writing history papers,” the History Department’s  Mannion Society invites students to join in their sophomore or junior year. By their senior year, therefore, Mannion Society members have had extensive training and supervision assisting them with their final projects. We reached out to graduating members of the Society to ask them about their projects. Here’s what they said:

James Berrigan

James Berrigan

James Berrigan

My project explored the ramifications of the introduction of the Stinger missile by the United States government to the mujahidin during the Soviet-Afghan War. During the war, the United States ran the largest covert operation in history, supplying the mujahidin with weapons with which to fight the Soviets. I argue that the introduction of the Stinger missile was the turning point in the war, as it had a great impact militarily, psychologically, and diplomatically. The Stinger allowed the mujahidin to effectively counter Soviet aerial attacks, punctured the Soviet aura of invincibility, and, most importantly, ended American plausible deniability. The Stinger proved American involvement in the war, which could have provoked an extreme Soviet response. The Stinger missile changed the course of the war, and marked a departure from conventional Cold War tactics regarding plausible deniability.

Melanie Sheehan

Melanie Sheehan

Melanie Sheehan

My research seeks to understand how the AFL-CIO’s power in Congress diminished during the Nixon administration.  I explore this question by examining the differences between the union’s successful lobbying campaign against the Supreme Court nominations of Clement Haynsworth and G. Harrold Carswell Court in 1969 and 1970 and the organization’s failure to block the nomination of William Rehnquist in 1971. I contend that the Rehnquist proceedings reflect larger social changes that split the AFL-CIO from its allies and discredited the organization’s testimony against Rehnquist. While the AFL-CIO criticized the conservative stances of Haynsworth, Carswell, and Rehnquist on civil rights, its opposition to the Philadelphia Plan and its failure to address affiliates’ discriminatory practices undermined the AFL-CIO’s relationship with the NAACP.  Further, the apparent contradiction between the organization’s avowed stances and its own pervasive discrimination opened the organization’s testimony to criticisms, which the union could not deflect without NAACP support. In addition, the law and order issue, largely absent in the Haynsworth and Carswell hearings, predominated the Rehnquist proceedings. The AFL-CIO condemned Rehnquist’s conservative stances on such civil liberties issues as wiretapping and the right to protest. However, the union’s arguments seemed to contradict the average worker’s growing concerns about crime, particularly as Nixon deliberately tied the issue with the rise of the New Left to divide the working class from the Democrats. Meanwhile, as radical antiwar elements gained influence in the Democratic Party, the AFL-CIO chose to abandon the party rather than promote compromise reforms. AFL-CIO leaders thus became more closely tied to the Nixon administration and offered their full-fledged support for the president’s decision to invade Cambodia. During the Rehnquist proceedings, then, former allies such as Americans for Democratic Action lost credibility by adopting unpopular stances regarding civil liberties issues, while the AFL-CIO’s condemnation of Rehnquist’s law and order views and his support for expanded executive power were, like its civil rights testimony, dismissed as illegitimate.

Cristina Iannarino

Cristina Iannarino

Cristina Iannarino

“The Golden Apple: Pietro Andrea Mattioli’s Influence on the Usage of the Tomato in Renaissance Italy,” tells the story of the Sienese herbalist and physician, Pietro Andrea Mattioli. In 1544, Mattoli published his seminal work, I discorsi. This groundbreaking herbal included the first description of the tomato in European literature. Its subsequent editions (the 1554 updated edition in particular) included the first European name for the tomato, pomi d’oro, and a detailed illustration of the plant, which reflected its increased cultivated in the Italian peninsula in the decade between the initial publication and the updated edition. Mistakenly believed to be a relation of the controversial mandrake, the tomato was generally condemned or ignored by Europeans. An extended research project for the Mannion Society, this research demonstrates the mutability of culture and the invaluableness of Mattioli’s writing; it was this audacious herbalist who, against convention, encouraged the usage of the tomato as a culinary ingredient. As a result of Mattioli’s influence, European herbalists, botanists, and physicians from John Gerard to Rembert Dodoens echoed Mattioli’s observations that would dominate herbal literature in almost every major European language for centuries. As a result, the tomato’s association with Italians overshadowed the tomato’s true colonial origins, cementing the tomato’s exalted position in the Mediterranean diet and Italian cuisine.

Congratulations to our Seniors on their original and fascinating projects!

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The Brief History of Spring Break

For some American college students spring break is a time to relax and travel. Florida remains the top destination for spring break, and during the 2014 ‘spring break season’ Florida had 26. 3 million out of state visitors.  The term ‘spring break’ has become synonymous in popular culture with partying and travel; this is partly because every year since 1986 MTV has aired a spring break special, with coverage of parties and concerts. But how did this tradition start?

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Filed under Essays in History, Grad Student News, This week in Fordham History, Undergrad News

“I LOVE HISTORY, BUT SURELY I HAVE TO MAJOR IN…”

“WELL, IDEALLY I WOULD MAJOR IN HISTORY, BUT ISN’T THAT ONLY FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT TO GO TO DO HISTORY IN GRAD SCHOOL?”

CONSIDERING A MAJOR? IS IT SOMETHING OTHER THAN HISTORY?

Stop

 

 

Before you make such a momentous decision, stop by the History Department Major Fair. It will be in KE 105 between 1 and 3 pm, Friday January 29th.

 

Pizza will be provided.

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A Look Back at History Day: Speakers and Talks as they Happened

We created a Storify version of the live-tweeting of History Day 2016. Keep reading to check out who spoke and find out about the subjects of their talks.

Screenshot 2016-01-27 10.29.09

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Fordham Undergraduates Attend Undergraduate Conference in Medieval and Early Modern Studies at Moravian College

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On Saturday, December 5th, Professor Alex Novikoff took four Fordham Students to  the 10th Annual Undergraduate Conference in Medieval and Early Modern Studies at Moravian College. The four students, all History majors, each presented a paper. Erin Collier presented, “The Role of Menstruation and Impurity in the Characterization of Jews as ‘The Other’ in Medieval Soceity,” Arthur Mezzo presented, “God and Kind: Biographies of Medieval Frankish Kings,” Rita Orazi presented, “The Emperor as Classical Hero in Ana Komnene’s Alexiad,” and Kyle Stelzer presented, “The Tibyan: One Ruler’s Account of Christian-Muslim Relations in Eleventh Century Iberia.”
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 Nice work, Fordham historians!

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Introducing the Mannion Society

The History Department is proud to introduce one of its newest initiatives, the Mannion Society. Named in honor of the late Professor Anne Mannion, an alumna of Fordham’s school of education who went on to teach at Fordham for 53 years, the Mannion society was established by the History Department to identify outstanding history majors and to encourage their development as specifically as researchers.  At the center of the historian’s craft is the process of research and writing.  Members of the Mannion Society, therefore work intensively with a faculty member to identify a suitable research question, work intensively in researching that question, and then turn that work into a persuasive argument.  In the end, members will have an outstanding foundation when they turn to apply for jobs, graduate school or prestigious fellowships.

Cristina Iannarino (FCRH ’17) wrote to tell us about how her work in the Mannion society had helped her in the process of doing original research:

I had done research with Dr. Myers in one of my previous history courses (Honors Early Modern Europe), in which I had traced the origin of the tomato and its significance to understanding the nature of contact between regions in Europe (and by extension, the New World). For that project, I had traced the earliest known sixteenth-century Italian source to describe the tomato and its novel usage as a culinary ingredient. I found that herbalists surrounding European regions outside of Italy had appropriated the same description and usage in their own works, demonstrating the effect Italian writing and usage of the tomato at the time had on establishing the tomato as an essential culinary ingredient—its status today. This was an experience that I know I will never forget, especially as an aspiring historian. I knew from that moment on, I was eager to do this kind of research again and deepen my understanding of the art of historical research. I wanted to equip myself with the same skills necessary to produce that same “aha-moment” of research and realize that it is not simply due to chance, but also, a product of dedication and passion. With the Mannion Society’s goal to reproduce the same spectacular moment in which one’s research clicks into something of significance and answers the “So what?” question historians face, I have been thoroughly enjoying expanding my knowledge on the process with Dr. Stoll that had been introduced to me by Dr. Myers. Along with the help of The Craft of Research and Dr. Stoll’s advising, I have delved into the intricacies of the process of producing original research, making the path much clearer and seem less intimidating with each meeting. While I am still gathering the specifics of the project, the advice from Dr. Stoll and my peers in the Mannion Society have helped me focus my research to the Early Modern experience/conception of “melancholy” and how important communal figures at the time, especially clergymen, recognized this as an illness, or something that deserved to be addressed and treated. Members of the clergy acted as the period’s first physicians, producing a wealth of “self-help” material and giving sermons on the matter. I find this relationship between sufferers of melancholy and the clergy to be fascinating, and am hoping to contribute significance to the subject. Because of the Mannion Society, I feel that I am more prepared to do so.

We’re excited to see what other Mannion Society members are up to, and we’ll let you know about the progress of their ongoing research.

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Fordham History Major Selected for Fulbright Award

PendersCongratulations to Jake Penders, FCRH, on being selected for a prestigious Fulbright award. Jake is a History and Political Science double major and a Humanitarian Affairs minor. He is also the Treasurer on Phi Alpha Theta, as well as a member of Pi Sigma Alpha (the Political Science National Honor Society) and Phi Beta Kappa. He is also the Captain of the Fordham Men’s Rowing Team, a Eucharistic Minister, and an Eagle Scout. He has been selected for a 2015-2016 Fulbright U.S. Student Award to the Slovak Republic. While there, he will be an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) for one year in a Slovakian secondary school teaching English and helping students develop conversational skills in English. Jake is teaching at Spojená skola Nováky, a secondary school located in Nováky, Slovakia. His grant period is 10 months long and he will leave in late August and return in June.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program of the United States. Jake will be representing the United States as a cultural ambassador while he is overseas, helping to enhance mutual understanding between Americans and the people in the Slovak Republic. He will be joining over 100,000 Fulbright U.S. Student Program alumni who have undertaken grants since the program began in 1948.
On behalf of the History Department and Phi Alpha Theta, well done Jake!

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Alexandra Lord, “Careers for Historians” talk 3/24

On March 24th (the Tuesday after Spring Break), Alexandra Lord, a former tenure- track professor and now a National Parks Service public historian (and the force behind the websites Beyond Academe and The Ultimate History Project), will speak to GSAS students about alternative career possibilities beyond the academy.

Alexandra Lord Talk 3.24.15

All history graduate students, undergraduates, and faculty are welcome!

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Fordham Seniors Selected for Early American Studies Workshop

John Taylor & Sons, the brewery at the center of a libel lawsuit brought against the teetotaler Edward Delavan

John Taylor & Sons, the brewery at the center of a libel lawsuit brought against the teetotaler Edward Delavan

Two FCRH seniors, Tim Derocher and Chris Nolan, were recently selected to participate in the McNeil Center for Early American Studies’ annual Undergraduate Research Workshop at the University of Pennsylvania. Together, Nolan and Derocher will present a panel on two unique libel cases in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, a product of research completed for Dr. Elaine Forman Crane’s “Laws and Outlaws in Early America” seminar. Over the next few months, they will be working with a graduate mentor from Penn to enhance their research and form a more cohesive panel on libel and slander cases in early America, which will be presented in April in Philadelphia. Read on to learn more about their research. Continue reading

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Fordham Student Presents at History Honors Conference

Megan_Roger Williams

Megan McLaughlin stands next to the statue of Roger Williams after the conference

Earlier this semester, Fordham senior Megan McLaughlin presented her first conference paper at the Phi Alpha Theta Northeastern Regional Conference at Roger Williams University. The paper that she presented was written for Professor Elaine Crane’s class “The American Revolution.” Read on for Megan’s account of her paper and the conference.  Continue reading

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