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MiddLab

History

Visit the History department site.

A MiddLab Project

Field House Museum

Field House Museum

is Middlebury’s Virtual Sports Museum. The exhibits on this site were generated by students in a Winter 2013 course, “Designing a Field House Museum,” in collaboration with faculty, archivists, athletic administrators, and representatives of Sasaki Associates, the architectural firm charged with designing the new Field House. Each exhibit offers a thematic approach to Middlebury sports history. A separate exhibit features interviews with Middlebury coaches and administrators. Finally, we have created a timeline of Middlebury athletics.  Please feel free to comment on any of the exhibits, or contact us directly.

 

People

Holly Allen, Assistant Professor of American Studies

Students in WT2013 AMST1007 class

 

http://sites.middlebury.edu/fieldhousemuseum/files/2013/01/cropped-banner-image-last.png

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A MiddLab Project

The Price Revolution

The origins of a general trend in Europe of rising prices between 1520 and 1640, labeled the Price Revolution, have been deeply contested by economic historians since the 1920s. The debate is divided between two major camps, stressing the importance of monetary and ‘real’ factors respectively. My paper provides a general overview of the literature since the 1920s. I identify the influence of parallel developments in economic thought on the debate. Further, using the same qualitative primary sources employed by previous works on the topic I construct a novel explanation for these rising prices, avoiding constraints presented by flawed/restricted data.

People

Anil Menon

Professor Paul Monod

 

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The popular Western perceptions of both Mohandas Gandhi and Subhas Chandra Bose are belied by their interactions in 1939. Gandhi, popularly perceived as the saint-like Mahatma, displayed his willingness to play political hardball to retain his hold on power. Subhas Chandra Bose, a left wing rival to Gandhi within the Indian independence movement, left a political legacy within the movement that controverts his image as an Axis collaborator of minor importance. Using primary source documents including British colonial records, contemporary newspaper reports, Indian National Congress resolutions, and statements issued by Bose and Gandhi, I outline the reasons for their clash and argue that Bose’s influence persisted past his ouster from the Congress Party leadership, reappearing in the push for the Quit India movement in 1942.

 

People

Will Woodworth – Researcher

Ian Barrow – Sponsor and Professor of History

 

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For thousands of years, the written word contained only streams of capital letters, with unseparated words and sentences. Punctuation appeared in only rudimentary forms in the early centuries A.D., and was invented specifically to prevent those who read aloud in church from misreading on misinterpreting a passage of the scriptures. Spaces between words did not appear until the 700s A.D., after the development of the Carolingian Miniscule and the establishment of Benedictine rule, and it was not until the 1100s that they became common place. Suddenly, readers no longer needed to mumble through passages to discern their meanings, and began to read as we do most commonly today: in silence. The new written form inspired the first alphabetized glossaries, made books more compact and personal, and made literacy a more widespread goal. But it also triggered a sense of independence and empowerment as yet unknown in medieval society, causing a rise of critical thinkers and skeptics, and, in turn, inciting fear of heresy in the church. Indeed, without punctuation and the space between words, would we have the same capacity for questioning that we do today?

People

Melissa Hirsch
Researcher

Louisa Burnham
Sponsor & Associate Professor of History

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Primary sources, diaries, ancient coins, a mere scrap of paper, are the materials from which the stories of the past are discovered. The project I undertook while interning at the National Archives and Records Administration addressed how we, as teachers of history, keep primary sources available, captivating, and the focus of historical education. I investigated this directly by assisting in the testing and presenting of DocsTeach, one of the most innovative historical tools for educators, which provides interactive activities built from a database of digitized primary sources. I helped increase access to records further with use of social media. The growing social phenomenon of digitization is not just connecting us with our future; it is connecting us to our past like never before, lowering the barrier of access for students young and old. The educational tools being created around these now easily accessible records, such as DocsTeach, are just the beginning.

People

Brittany Gendron
Researcher

Amy Morsman
Sponsor & Associate Professor of History

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Beginning in the thirteenth-century, artists in Cologne created reliquary busts to contain the physical remains of Saint Ursula and the Eleven Thousand Virgins. These reliquaries are visually unique because they are strikingly life-like and coney obvious feminine qualities. It is odd that the reliquaries’ approachable femininity is celebrated because women were often damned as the instigators of the original sin. With this central Christian idea in mind, it is therefore all the more surprising that Christians venerated Saint Ursula and the Eleven Thousand Virgins, a group of female martyrs, whose reliquaries and legend have highly gendered characteristics. In my presentation, I explicated the significance of these reliquaries through examining the symbolism of the Passion of Saint Ursula and the Eleven Thousand Virgins, the formation of the cult of their relics, and the meaning of these reliquary busts in late medieval society.

People

Elizabeth Hirsch
Researcher

Eliza Garrison
Sponsor and Assistant Professor of History of Art & Architecture

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Although early literature of Maryland and Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay reflected the first settlers’ unbridled consumption of resources, as the twentieth centuries due to habitat loss, overfishing, and pollution, literature, specifically an emergent genre of children’s and young adult literature, demonstrated a shift from entitlement towards stewardship of the Bay’s resources. Authors of children’s and young adult literature increasingly encouraged youth, either didactically or through metaphor, to value the Bay’s resources, protect the health of the Bay, and persuade others to become stewards of a healthy Chesapeake for future generations. This presentation will examine the transformation of Chesapeake Bay literature, and explore how these children’s and young adult works color the growing environmental education movement in the Bay region.

People

Laura Williams
Researcher

Daniel Brayton
Sponsor & Assistant Professor of English & American Literature

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It is impossible to understand a nation’s motivations and actions without being familiar with its national identity and the circumstances that shaped it. In the early twentieth century, Germany and Italy were both governed by authoritarian regimes that intertwined extreme nationalism with fascist ideology. After WWII, each nation faced the difficult task of redefining the political, social, and ethical terms of its national identity. We ask the question “How did Italy and Germany come to terms with their fascist past, and to what extent is the legacy of fascism still alive in national discourse?” Our research, which uses Italian, German and English sources, shows that despite underlying similarities, each nation has taken a different approach to integrating their fascist past into national identity. We look, for example, at how Hitler and Mussolini are differently remembered and the effect of their political and cultural legacies. The larger aim of this presentation is to show how, generally speaking, memory is a key factor in national identity.

People

Ashley Litzenberger
Mark Turpin
Researchers

Natasha Chang
Sponsor & Professor of Italian

Natalie Eppelsheimer
Sponsor & Assistant Professor of German

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A MiddLab Project

Creating a National Ideal: How Baseball Drove Bushido in 20th Century Japan

Learn more about History and Japanese at Middlebury College

Baseball is certainly Japan’s most popular sport, in part because players there are said to embody bushido, an ancient set of values said to have described samurai gentlemen of old. However, bushido is far from timeless and unchanging. Instead, it is a dynamic term that has changed, especially in the 20th Century, as Japanese society has struggled to maintain its unique identity despite the homogenizing pressures of globalization. I argue that baseball players bring about this change by setting examples for the rest of society, and that as the behavior of players has evolved, the popular perception of bushido and the way Japanese citizens idealize their own history has evolved right with them.

People

Adam Lee
Researcher

Neil Waters
Sponsor & Kawashima Professor of Japanese Studies

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A MiddLab Project

The Raja of Sattara and British Power in 19th Century India

Learn more about History and South Asian Studies at Middlebury College.

One way of understanding British power in India is by looking at British policies in individual states. Beginning in 1818, the state of Sattara was ruled by an Indian prince called a Raja, who was directly put into power by the East India Company. Two decades later, the East India Company came into the possession of documents which questioned the Raja’s allegiance to the Company, British troops within India, and even Great Britain itself. Even with the knowledge that these documents were falsified, however, the British deposed the Raja of Sattara after an insufficient and politicized investigation into his supposed crimes. An examination of the fall of the Raja provides a glimpse into British power in India.

People

Samuel Hurt
Researcher

Ian Barrow
Sponsor and Professor of History

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October 21st- 29th will be the Fall Student Symposium, “American Poverty in Context.” We aim to build awareness and encourage discussion of poverty-related issues on the local and national level. The symposium will tackle issues such as hunger and local foods, social determinants of health, labor legislation, community action, and homelessness. In addition to inspiring intellectual discourse on poverty, we hope to motivate more students to participate in volunteer activities and to consider pursuing careers in non-profits.

Please click on the posters below in the downloads section for more detailed information about each event!

People

Joel Berg

Executive Director of the New York Coalition Against Hunger

Harlan Beckley

Director of the Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability at Washington and Lee University

Robert Prasch

Middlebury College Professor of Economics

Samantha Marder

Project Manager, Project Health  Providence

Hannah Nichols

Talent and Technology Coordinator, Project Health National Offices

Hal Colston

Founder and Director of Good News Garage and Neighborskeepers

Doug Sinclair

Co-Founder of Middlebury Community Care Coalition

Ingrid Pixley

Property Manager for Addison County Community Trust

Jeanne Montross

Executive Director of HOPE (Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects)

Yuan Lim

Student Organizer

Veronica Muoio

Student Organizer

Dan Murphy

Student Organizer

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A MiddLab Project

Oath-Sworn: The Concept of Oath-taking in Northwestern Medieval Europe

Learn more about History and Undergraduate Research at Middlebury College.

Oaths play an important role in our modern society from swearing-in procedures to Middlebury’s own Honor Code. A thousand years ago, oaths had a much larger role in early medieval society. Oaths were used to create artificial bonds between people. These bonds were the glue that kept the often violent early medieval society from falling apart. My study focuses on the social history of the oaths in northwestern Viking Age Europe through a close examination of Norse Sagas and French and English epics.

People

Christopher Rogers
Researcher

Louisa Burnham
Associate Professor of History & Advisor

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A MiddLab Project

The Financial Burden of Terminal Illnesses and the Support System

Learn more about Economics and History at Middlebury College.

The onset of terminal illness within low and middle income families often has devastating effects. This effect is substantially magnified if the person who becomes terminally ill is the primary bread winner of the family. In the Indian setting the onset of terminal illness causes three primary changes within a family’s daily functioning. Firstly, the individual and to an extent the family has to face social stigma that is associated with certain terminal illnesses like HIV/AIDS and Cancer. Secondly, if the primary bread winner is affected then the family looses a significant revenue source. Thirdly, the terminal illness results in large increases in medical expenses. However, regardless of the intensity of the financial crisis these families do function (however impaired) from a week to the next. My research explores the support structure that allows for this sustenance, its nature and composition, and attempts to utilize the findings to stimulate policy changes within the local and state systems.

People

Anil Menon
Researcher

Peter Matthews
Sponsor and  James B. Jermain Professor of Political Economy

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A MiddLab Project

Reassessing the First Anglo-Dutch War of the Seventeenth Century

Learn more about History at Middlebury College.

At the dawn of Europe’s global age, England and the Dutch Republic clashed in a series of violent naval battles known as the First Anglo-Dutch War (1652-1654). I argue that the First Anglo-Dutch War was the direct result of the calculated political and economic strategies of the English East India Company (EIC).  Through carefully crafted popular marketing campaigns and the consistent, calculated lobbying and infiltration of England’s monarchy and national government, the EIC definitively influenced English foreign policy – a strategy that would establish the foundation for the greatest global empire the world had yet seen.

People

Andrew Van Horn Ruoss
Researcher

Paul Monod
Advisor & A. Barton Hepburn Professor of History

eic

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