The third publication of Davidson History Journal includes work from the 2018-2019 academic school year. The editorial staff would like to thank Davidson’s History Department, all contributors, and the publication’s adviser, Dr. John Wertheimer, for their assistance in creating this volume.
This paper analyzes the ways that native women in Mexico maintained autonomy over their sexualities and bodies throughout Spanish-Catholic conquest in the late 16thand early 17thcenturies. The Spanish conquest of present-day Mexico attempted the complete submission of native women through conversion to force native women to confess their native sexual practices that did not align with Catholic ideology to a Spanish-Catholic priest and graft Catholic notions of purity and virginity onto the women. However, the Catholic Church was never completely successful – native women maintained autonomy over their sexualities and bodies though masturbation, despite Spanish conquest of their land.
NATION AND STATE: EAMON DE VALERA’S CONTRIBUTIONS TO MODERN IRELAND by Marshall Bursis
The popular historiography of Eamon de Valera—Ireland’s long time Taoiseach (Prime Minister) and later President—depicts him negatively as a conservative and traditional theocrat. This narrative, however, ignores de Valera’s critical contributions to the Irish state and Irish identity. Through his opposition to the Anglo-Irish Treaty, the Constitution of 1937, and his use of Gaelic imagery, de Valera created a stable Irish nation that has survived for almost a century.
In the half century following the Franco-Prussian War, France dealt with significant internal conflict over the ideologies of revanchism, nationalism and liberalism. Revanchism, a uniquely French sentiment seeking revenge against Germany over France’s defeat and loss of territory during the Franco-Prussian War emerged as a particularly influential ‘ism’ during the fin-de-siècle era. This paper seeks to study the differences between revanchism, nationalism and xenophobia during this period by looking at several iterations of the painting Les Dernières Cartouches by Alphonse de Neuville.
My paper focuses on the eighteenth-century trade between China and England of chinoiserie, or products created in China that had a heightened emphasis on “Chinese” elements such as fantastic beasts. Throughout I examine how gender, racial, and politics play into British consumption of Chinese porcelain. Contemporary writers commented on the relationship between femininity and porcelain to further objectify women; British tradesmen often ignored the fact that Chinese artisans were keenly aware of the demand for their goods; and the political relationship between the Emperor of China and King of England affected demand for Orientalized goods.
The black experience in Appalachia has been largely overlooked by historians. Transylvania County had one of the first desegregated schools in North Carolina. While Transylvania County is a leader in integration, the white community cannot claim what the black community fought for. A combination of a tenacious black community and a white establishment that was committed to preserving its economy led to the integration of this isolated mountain community. Early integration did not come because of racial progressivism, but rather because the black community bravely pursued integration, and the white community wanted to preserve its tourist industry.
This paper examines the Alabama convict lease system at the Tennessee Coal, Iron, and Railroad Company from 1886-1910. This was the period in which the powerful national conglomerate expanded into the Pratt Coal Mines of Birmingham, Alabama and exerted a new form of control over the Alabama State government and the its convict leasing system. Ultimately, this paper exposes that the economic dominance of the Tennessee Coal, Iron, and Railroad company impacted Alabama’s convict lease system and the overall condition of the state convicts.
In “Frederick Douglass and Sexuality on the Antebellum Plantation: What Angela Davis and David Blight Can and Cannot Teach Us,” I look closely at the ways in which Angela Davis and David Blight, amongst other scholars, write about Frederick Douglass and his autobiographies and the intersection of their writings with the idea of sexual violence and the homoerotic possibilities engendered by the plantation system. Using that as a platform, I attempt to expose how Davis and Blight thus use Douglass’ autobiography as a means to further support their own political or academic agendas.
OCTAVIA HILL, HOUSING REFORM, AND THE METROPOLITAN URBAN WORKING CITIZEN by Michael Krasuski
I explore how Octavia Hill’s written work in three articles published between 1866 and 1871 about her system of housing reform demonstrate both influence from traditional conceptions of poverty in fin-de-siècle London and a belief that the poor given the right tools and resources could become self-sufficient. I argue that although her writings on housing management did contain language typical of fin-de-siècle London linking poverty with immorality, Hill’s vision simultaneously created an ideal for the self-sufficient working-class citizen. She promoted this concept by supporting the formation of personal relationships with her tenants and encouraging economic independence.
LESBIANISM AND WOMANHOOD DURING THE FRENCH REVOLUTION by Isabel Padalecki
This paper examines public understandings of queer females during Revolutionary-era France through the lens of pornographic pamphlets, which emerged as an explicit form of public discourse that sexually criminalized aristocratic women of the French “Old Regime”. These women are portrayed as committing sexual crimes including same-sex sexuality. Same-sex sexuality is understood within these pamphlets as causing physical masculinization and political empowerment within women, which was seen as a negative and fearful development within the patriarchal anxiety resulting from the shift away from the male governance of the king. Queer women are thus pathologized, criminalized, and de-legitimized in this context.
OATHS IN 12TH-CENTURY FLEMISH SOCIETY by Maddie Petty
This paper uses the primary source, the Murder of Charles the Good, Count of Flanders by Galbert of Bruges, as a tool for understanding the cultural significance and development of oaths in medieval Flanders. Although oaths, homage, and fealty were used prior to the events of 1127, the citizens of Bruges extended the use of oaths and homage for political gain, to create unity, and to provide security within the chaotic period following the Count’s murder. Coupled with its strong influence prior to the murder and its extended use, the oath emerged as a stronger bond than kinship or social rank within 12th-century Flemish society.
“LET THY GOSPEL PERMEATE THIS CITY”: CHARLES HADDON SPURGEON IN LATE VICTORIAN LONDON by R. Wilson Reynolds
Much scholarship belongs to the subject of the Baptist pastor from London, Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892), known as the “Prince of Preachers.” Christian academics from several denominations in consider him a seminal figure for the modern legacy of reformed, evangelical Christianity, and his sermons feature prominently in the discipline of modern homiletics. Spurgeon’s messages also provide valuable insights to the issues facing his large, diverse congregation. This essay will analyze excerpts from Spurgeon’s sermons, arguing that they provide valuable historical insight into the city of London during a tumultuous period in the late nineteenth century.
O TA ALE NI’ PA: OBITUARIES AND ELITE IMAGE-CRAFTING IN LAGOS, NIGERIA 1880-1920 by Claire Thompson
Between 1880 and 1914, the people of Lagos, Nigeria experienced drastic economic, social, and political change. The palm oil trade and implementation of British Indirect Rule created new channels of social mobilization for the city’s diverse population. Consequently, a new group of Lagosian elites became identifiable. Eager to stake a claim, they defined themselves by writing obituaries in newspapers. This paper argues that obituaries were battlegrounds where African elites (living and dead) defined what it meant to be a part of their social class and a means in which elites could distinguished themselves as a class separate from other natives and British colonial officials.
In the summer of 1858, the scent of London’s River Thames became so putrid that today the state of the river during this summer is referred to as the Great Stink of 1858. The cause of the noxious scent was the lack of a proper sewage system in London and a summer of historically high temperatures. As the smell of the River Thames spread across the city, the residents of London grew increasingly hysterical because of the exaggerated and false reports by the mass press that disease was coming to the city.
This piece analyzes the importance of media, public image and political symbolism during the trial of Joan Little, a North Carolina woman convicted of killing her rapist. Little’s intersection of identities as a poor, Black, woman in the U.S South placed her in a particularly vulnerable position. However, with the help of a coalition of activists she was able to gain public approval and eventual acquittal. Her legacy remains strong due to her case setting the precedent that women have the right to self defense, but her memory is more faded and I investigate why this is so, arguing that she mattered more as a symbol than a person to the activists who fought for her.