The fourth 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.
Urbanization and Medicine in Mid-18th to Mid-19th Century Britain by Sam Bonge
In Britain, the period from 1750 to 1850 is marked by both rapid urban development as well as rapid medical advancement. Rapid urbanization lead to the creation of medical schools and faster decimation of medical knowledge, but also allowed for avenues of exploitation of the poor in order to increase said. knowledge. Poor citizens were exploited for medical research in a myriad of ways, while richer citizens benefited from new treatments and knowledge, such as the emerging practice of sterilization.
Revolutionary or Reinforcement?: Depictions of Women in World War II Propaganda by Vivian Boe
Often remembered as an era of national unity in the collective British consciousness, World War II has long marked a historical moment in which the boundaries of gender roles were challenged and women enjoyed access to previously restricted aspects of society, particularly in the labour force. However, recent scholarship questions this supposed era of egalitarian progress. To contribute to the discussion of whether war brought positive change for women, this essay reflects on examples of World War II British propaganda directed towards women. I argue that instead of promoting equality during wartime, propaganda sanctioned stereotypes of womanhood.
Forgetting the Factory: Medievalism in the Late Nineteenth-Century Diaries of Female British Travelers by Rose Botaish
This essay examines the journals of Helen Caddick, Frances Minto Elliott, and Elizabeth Ellis as the three British women traveled outside Europe in the nineteenth century. All three express a disdain for contemporary consumer items discovered in their travels and exhibit a medievalist nostalgia for handcrafted goods. Despite the imperialist lens evident in these women’s writings, this essay attempts to connect their complaints about the consumerism they encounter abroad to anxieties about industrialism and mass consumer culture in their own country.
The “Woman Problem”: The Deconstruction of Gender Roles and the Construction of the Japanese ‘New Woman’ by the Seito Society, 1911-1916 by Lily Burdick
This paper interrogates love, romance, sexuality, and gender in Japan in the early 20th century with a specific lens on the Seito society, a literary society for women. As Japanese women gained access to economic and educational opportunities, they confronted the concept of a “New Woman” that directly contradicted the values of the Edo period (1603-1868) of “good wife and wise mother.” The Seito society provides a specific and in-depth look at the ways radical women thought about their role in society and in relationships, and this paper hopes to showcase the sexual conscience these women put into words for the world to read.
Touching the “Transparent Sorrows”: Misty Poetry and the Identity of Post-Cultural Revolution Poets by George Cai
Misty Poetry is a Chinese literary movement that began at the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976 and lasted well into the end of the 20th century. Misty Poems are rich in obscure imagism and evocative lyricism, features that conspicuously contrast with Chinese poems produced during the Cultural Revolution. This abrupt change in literary trend parallels Chinese post-Cultural-Revolution upheavals in both politics and economics, which were increasingly concerned with international exchanges and the formation of a market economy. This paper seeks to examine the connections between Misty Poetry and its historical conditions. It will argue that these conditions, primarily political, ideological and economic ones, fundamentally foster the birth and development of Misty Poetry through the appropriation of western socio-literary discourses.
Lyndon B. Johnson in the Senate by Anna Dolder
While Lyndon Johnson’s flagging popularity during his presidency is well known, critiques directed towards his leadership in the Senate are less frequently mentioned. Emblematic of these critiques is historian Doris Kearns’s claim that Johnson’s leadership style “lessened the influence of the senate of the country.” In the following essay, I will challenge Kearns’s claim by weighing it against the political context and Johnson’s contribution to the Senate’s principal achievements during his time as Majority Leader.
Look Back at It: Performing “Post”memory at #Auschwitz by Taylor Drake
In this experimental Memory Studies paper, I examine Holocaust collective memory and dark tourism through Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp visitors’ Instagram posts. I discuss the unsettling nature of these pictures with Marianne Hirsch’s Postmemory theory and Pierre Nora’s Lieux de Mémoire theory to grasp how a visitor of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial site could smile for a picture in front of the “Gates of Death.”
Capitalists: The Chinese Communist Party’s Long-Term Collaborator by Alex Fichter
In 1949, Mao Zedong identified capitalism as a natural impediment toward the PRC’s transition to socialism. In public, his speeches galvanized populism across the countryside in hopes to overthrow the bourgeoisie. In private, however, Mao recognized the strategic importance of capitalists in the CCP’s ongoing civil war against the Nationalist Party. For seventeen years after the PRC’s founding, there are accounts of national and comprador capitalists evading the worst of the CCP’s reforms. Years later, Deng Xiaoping unleashed the PRC’s economy, which led to the resurgence of capitalism across the country. As the strength and influence of private entrepreneurs grew, the CCP’s grasp on the economy began to dissipate, prompting an important inflection point in the Party’s survival. In 2001, Jiang Zemin made the paradoxical decision to allow capitalists to join the CCP. Party hardliners immediately balked at Jiang’s decision, claiming it would effectively lead to the Party’s destruction. While the inclusion of private entrepreneurs may seem antithetical to the Party’s foundation, Jiang merely formalized decades of unofficial collaboration that dates back to Mao. Contrary to the party hardliners’ belief, Jiang’s decision strengthened the CCP’s influence on this newly emerging social stratum of private entrepreneurs in China’s modern economy.
Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Imperialism: The Role of Aesthetics and Chinoiserie in Britain’s Objectification and Extortion of Asia in the 18th and 19th Centuries by Raven Hudson
This paper puts the British production and consumption of Chinese chinoiserie during the mid-eighteenth to mid-nineteenth centuries into conversation with British aesthetic ideals of the era, namely that of the “sublime.” The non-dualism that was often present in the works and philosophies of Asian countries conflicted with Enlightenment and Romantic ideas about the separation between self and other. Building on the work of scholars such as Nigel Leask, Stacey Sloboda, and Linda Nochlin, this paper explores the ways in which chinoiserie functioned as a way for Britain to reassert the boundary between Asian goods and the Asian people, while simultaneously eliding Britain’s conflation of the two––thus further facilitating Britain’s objectification and exploitation of Asia.
British Football and Urbanization between 1750 and 1850 by Jonas Jacobson
This paper, written for the Davidson in Cambridge summer program, analyzes the impact of British urbanization on the codification and popularization of football from 1750 to 1850. A symbol of British identity today, the time period was crucial for shifting away from regional sports and working towards establishing a communal set of rules. More broadly, studying the development of football serves to demonstrate that it is necessary to include leisure in a genuine history of urbanization.
Outsize and Outside: English Women’s Plus-Size Clothing 1920s-1960s by Rylie Martin
Technological changes that revolutionized clothing production in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century made it hard for women whose bodies deviated from the slender norm to find clothing in their sizes. Recognizing that many women in England did not fit into the limited range of standardized sizes, clothing retailers created outsize clothing. While outsize clothing refers to what we today would call plus-size clothing, it was exclusively advertised for female consumers, illustrating society’s concern with controlling the fat female body. Advertisements, magazines, and newspaper articles published between 1920 and 1940 in England reveal overt anti-fat messages to outsize women, which painted them as unattractive, undignified, and as having a matronly body. Women’s remedy for an “outsize body” was to carefully choose her clothing, maintain the semblance of a straight line, and to adhere to plain, dull, and dark clothing. Ultimately, creating a whole separate category of “outsize” influenced women’s shopping experiences and placed them into a space of marginality.
The African American Perspective on the 1969 Moon Landing by Gabe Poulos
Our assignment for this paper was to disprove an assertion about history made in a secondary source article. I chose to write about the African American perspective on the 1969 moon landing because it is important not to forget why some Americans did not rejoice at this accomplishment. Even though it was a great technological achievement for humankind, it was still yet another place where white privilege was present. As we celebrate humans expanding to the new frontier of space, we must not ignore the reality of colonialism and racism that is ingrained in America.
The Good, The Bad and the Wealthy: Fake Beggars and the Obsession with “Correct” Charity in Late Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century Britain by Julia Tayloe
Britain underwent intense self-reflection and a moral reckoning after the loss of their American colonies at the end of the 18th century. The development of the national interest in improving British virtue impacted people in many ways, particularly those involved with charity in some capacity. Strict rules of how to engage with begging, either as a beggar or a donor, were applied and self-regulated, curating specific parts for both the givers and receivers of charity to play. Concerns over begging and giving ‘correctly’ pervaded and the fixation on fraudulent beggars reveals the conscious effort to use charity to encourage virtue across classes.
Dolores Ibárruri and the Expansion of Women’s Role in the Republican Vision of Spain by Alyssa Tirrell
The Spanish Civil War attempted to reconcile two distinct visions of the future. However, both sides of the political division offered few leadership positions to women. Dolores Ibárruri was an exception to this trend. In addition to occupying a highly visible public role, Ibárruri used her position to expand women’s place in the Republican narrative. A close reading of Ibárruri’s public discourse within the Civil War period reveals that she achieved this inclusion of women through three distinct methods which, when practiced in unison, successfully expanded women’s position in a vision of Spain’s future.
Physical and Emotional Cravings: Coping Mechanisms in World War I by Cole Thornton
My paper looks at letters from soldiers in World War 1 to friends, lovers, and families back home to better understand how these individuals strove to survive and carve an existence for themselves in the heavily isolating and destructive arena of war. Letters and memoirs from men in the army constitute a wealth of knowledge about the social changes spurred by this violent global phenomenon and provide evidence of men at the front processing the horrors they witnessed daily. These records give insight into male soldiers seeking intimacy with each other and with their families as well as the less obvious ways, such as alcohol and sports, that they coped physically and emotionally with the War.
The Children’s Prize Gift Book: Children as Consumers by Grace Ward
The 1851 Great Exhibition was a cultural showcase emphasising the innovation of countries across the world. Housed in the structurally-significant Crystal Palace, it represented both the advent and culmination of consumerism in 19th century Europe, and reflected the growing recognition as children as an active consumerist class in Victoria-era Britain. Building on a growing historical scholarship around consumption culture and drawing on a published children’s guidebook about the Great Exhibition, this analysis argues that the Exhibition was marketed to children through a direct commodification of global cultures and people. Ultimately, this paper reveals that this marketing reflected a social understanding of children not just as participants in a consumerist culture, but active agents in consumption and commodification.