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The OU Historical Journal - Issue 2, Fall 2013.

Undergraduate Editoral Board
Austin Scheller, Madeline Ross, Lena Tenney, Scott Renner, Madison Conklin, Madison Long, Nathan Moore
Faculty Advisors
Raphael Folsom, Sandie Holguín, Alan Levenson

 My name is James Hart and I am the new Chairman of the History Department. Welcome to the second annual edition of the University of Oklahoma Historical Journal. The Historical journal has been developed in the last two years as a product of the department’s long-standing commitment to excellence in undergraduate research and writing. In recent years, we have developed a three-step training program for undergraduate history majors designed to develop and enhance writing skills. The History Sleuth is our basic historical methods class, introducing students to the wide variety of issues surrounding the nature of historical evidence and instructing them in the use and presentation of that evidence in support of an historical argument. The Colloquium that follows is a writing intensive course challenging students to apply those skills to different kinds of writing assignments which deal with different kinds of historical problems. Both courses then lead to the Capstone which focuses attention on a single, major research project in a particular field of history. This course allows students to immerse themselves in the literature of a chosen field, to develop their own ideas about the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of a particular historical problem, and then to marshal and synthesize their evidence to support an original argument.

The papers presented below are all products of that evolutionary process. This year, the Journal received twenty five submissions, all of which were considered carefully by the editorial board. The editorial board then selected six of those they considered outstanding to be published here. As you will see, the papers are notable not only for their intrinsic quality, but for the enormous range of topics undertaken by our student scholars.

Next year, we hope to enhance this process further with another innovation. The department has this year undertaken a reform of our traditional American History survey courses, history 1483 and History 1493, which are required for all of OU’s undergraduates. We have redesigned our approach to make research and writing a central component of these courses as well. Instead of a three-day lecture format, students will have lectures two days a week and the third meeting will be given over to a small discussion sessions. The lectures will be offered only by senior history faculty who will bring to the classroom a wealth of experience in both teaching and research. The discussion sessions will then be guided by advanced graduate students who will be specially trained in writing and research pedagogy by members of OU’s expository writing faculty. It is our hope that this course will serve as a gateway course to many other classes at the University of Oklahoma. Like the above mentioned classes, it will introduce students to the means and methods of original research, but more important, will allow them to develop their own voice, to articulate their own ideas and arguments, both orally and in writing, in a way than enhances their educational experience and benefits us all. They will, we hope, eventually join the ranks of the prize-winning essayists below. We hope you will enjoy all of these endeavors.
-Jamie Hart, Chair, OU Department of History


Scott Renner
Scott Renner’s extraordinarily sophisticated article, “Ad Fontes, A New Role for the Primary Sources in Anglo-Saxon History,” is the winner of this year’s Griswold Prize for Excellence. Renner displays uncommon command of both qualitative and quantitative methods, spinning a facinating tale from the stuff of archaeological and genetic data. In his hands, ancient texts long thought to have exhausted by earlier generations of interpreters, are made fresh and revealing. –Raphael Folsom

Katy Shanahan
"The Impact of Failed Lesbian Feminist Ideology and Rhetoric" is a sophisticated analysis of the politics of lesbian feminism.  Lesbian feminism, a radical feminist separatist movement that emerged as part of second-wave feminism, advocated that all feminists should embrace a lesbian identity in order to break apart the chains of patriarchy.By examining the writings of lesbian feminists such as Radical lesbians and the Leeds Revolutionary Group (and their critics), Shannahan, convincingly argues that lesbian feminism was not solely "an isolated and outdated form of feminism," but rather a movement that served as a gadfly that "helped to shape the direction of the mainstream feminist movement." –Sandie Holguín

Lena Tenney
Religion and Equal Rights are topics that have been relevant throughout history up until the present day. Ms. Tenney’s thoughtful look at the divisions caused by the ERA within the Catholic Church is an excellent piece of both religious studies and historical scholarship. Her paper is an example of thorough research, quality writing and comprehensive analysis. –Madison Conklin

Helen Kerwin
Helen Kerwin’s engaging and informative article elucidates the recent social and political history of Nicaragua. But she accomplishes more than this single task. She also contributes to the history and theory of women and revolution. Ms. Kerwin demonstrates the ironies of “revolutionary war” in addition to further exposing the uncertainty in the very notion of female liberation: should a project of liberation free women from the strictures of their traditional roles, or free them to fill those roles more successfully? Her work showcases the ability of historical writing not only to educate about the past but to provoke thought about the present and the future. –Austin Scheller

Skyler Anderson
This meticulous and compelling paper shows that late antiquity and the incipient dark ages glimmered with more prosperity than most scholars have realized. Even as plague decimated the Mediterranean world, certain areas and peoples were better able to weather the onlsaught than others were, and thus drew strength from the weakness of their neighbors. Artfully weaving together textual sources with advanced scholarship and research on the physical health of the diverse societies of Justinian’s world, Anderson brings this complicated age into sharp focus. Like the best historians, Anderson reconciles a sharply articulated new argument with sensitivity to the complexities of the past. –Raphael Folsom

Alexandra Wright
In this paper, Alexandra Wright evokes a feminist movement that flared to life in 1930’s Spain, burned brightly amid the political chaos of the Spanish Civil War, and just as quickly burned out. Emma Goldman’s sexually based anarcho-feminism was too hot for mainstream Spanish women to handle. But like the flash of an explosion, this radical ideology left a bright spot in the vision of Spain’s women for years to come. The possibilities that emerged in Goldman’s movement for women’s liberation, women’s advancement, women’s involvement in the great political issues of their day were a precedent for future feminist pioneers. Wright’s research is thorough, her analysis evenhanded, and her exposition sparklingly clear. –Raphael Folsom



A note on the selection of these papers: Because our student editors are among the best students we have, the faculty advisors of the journal asked them to submit their papers under pseudonyms, such that the editorial board as a whole could consider their work in an unbiased way.  Each of the submissions to the journal was first read by two editors, who ranked them one to ten.  A number one vote was assigned ten points, and a number ten vote was assigned one point.  The points were then aggregated, and the top ten vote-getters were then read by all members of the editorial board, who ranked them 1-10.  The points were then aggregated once again, giving us one winner, five runners up, and two honorable mentions.  Normally, the Griswold Prize winner would receive $300, and the runners-up would receive $100 each.  But in order to avoid giving the impression of self-dealing, we agreed ahead of time that if an editorial board member won a prize, his or her prize money would be divided among the other prize winners.