History Master of Arts Seminar Presentations


The history department at Western Oregon University began its Master of Arts in history program in Fall 2009. The department offers graduate courses in three fields: North American History, European History, and World (Latin American and Asian) History. Graduate students complete coursework in a primary field and a secondary field.

As part of the requirements for the M.A. degree students enroll in at least one seminar class in their primary field and one in their secondary field. The seminar course focuses on the production of an article-length paper that draws upon a strong knowledge of secondary sources (the work of other historians in the field) and original research in primary sources.

The Master of Arts in History program is currently suspended and not accepting new applications.

Brittney Teal-Cribbs


Faculty sponsor: Patricia Goldsworthy-Bishop

Title: The Reverend Joseph Wolf: Between Judaism and Christianity in Europe and the Levant

Abstract: This paper looks at the ways in which the Reverend Joseph Wolf, a converted German-Jew, used his travelogue and travels to serve as an intermediary between the Christian and Jewish communities, and how his perspective as a Jew often turned stereotypes about Christians and Jews on their heads. Like many other Jews of his time, Wolf used his conversion to Christianity as a way to engage with the larger European culture. Unlike them, however, his sincerity of conversion, and his international missionary travels were unique, allowing him to move between often very disparate groups of people.


Gregory Garcia

Faculty sponsor: John L. Rector

Title: 9/11/73: The Chilean Way to Socialism hits a Dead End

Abstract: On September 11, 1973, the Chilean military, un – der the command of General and future dictator Augusto Pinochet, staged a coup against leftist Chilean President Salvador Allende. Allende’s death marked the end of his “Chilean Way to Socialism,” Allende’s concept of creating a socialist state without a traditional Marxist uprising of the proletariat. This paper serves as an “autopsy” of the “Chilean Way to Socialism” in which I examine all of the problems that plagued this social political experiment from its original incep – tion in the mid-1950s to its violent demise in 1973.


Jennifer Ross

Faculty sponsor: Max G. Geier and Kimberly Jensen

Title: A Legacy of Violence, Anonymity, and Silence: American Indian Women and The Rogue River Wars, 1851-1856

Abstract: The Rogue River Wars (185-1856) were an extremely violent time in Oregon’s history. Miners, settlers, and Indians all had competing visions of the land and of their rights to it. My narrative revolves around the story of an Indian woman who was raped with impunity by prominent lawyer and politi – cian David Logan in the middle of Jacksonville, Ore. in front of a crowd of male and female onlookers in 1853. Studying the context in which this event was allowed to happen is an important addition to the historiography of the Rogue River Wars, which have yet to include an analysis of the role that sexual violence and gender played in the conflicts.


Daniel Sprinkle

Faculty sponsor: Patricia Goldsworthy-Bishop

Title: Racial Paranoia: How the Ottoman Empire Destroyed Itself in Two Decades

Abstract: This essay attempts to analyze how social Darwinism among the Turks of Anatolia ultimately led to the Armenian genocide, which solidified the eventual loss of World War I and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. The Turks feared for their ability to maintain a nation of their own if they allowed minorities to gain too much power in Anatolia so they began the systematic execution of Armenians, even those fighting in their own military. Rather than focusing on helping their allies in the war effort, the Turks grew obsessed with defending their rights to nationhood from European imperialism and their des – peration served only to destroy their empire.


Katrina Greer

Faculty sponsor: Max G. Geier

Title: From Apple Country to Wine Valley: The Walla Walla Valley’s Agricultural Transition and its Effects on the Local Economy and Population

Abstract: The transition from the production of food crops such as wheat, apples, peas, and onions to the commercial production of wine in the Walla Walla Valley in Southeastern Washington has caused a perceptible change in the local economy and attitude of the people of the area toward agri – culture and its role in the region. This paper examines both the transitions and the forces driving them, as well as the attitude of the local people toward the land and its use and the tourist economy that grew out of the changing ecology of the land – scape. The shifts in economic focus behind the agricultural focuses in the Walla Walla Valley have changed and shaped the ways in which people interact with the land, feel about its role in society, and see its place in the future of Walla Walla.


Travis Cook

Faculty sponsor: Patricia Goldsworthy-Bishop

Title: Engineering Modernity: Orientalism, Modernization Theory and the Construction of the Aswan Low Dam 1898-1902

Abstract: “Engineering Modernity” is a study of the British co – lonial assumptions about the people and land of the Nile River Valley during the period leading up to and during the con – struction of the Aswan Low Dam from 1898-1902. Ultimately, this research reveals the way that prejudices held by colonial officials and engineers left them overlooking the value of pre- existing irrigation methods. This research fits within a broader survey of modernization discourse in the twentieth century, which justified the technocratic management of water resourc – es and social control.


Justin Devereux

Faculty sponsor: Max G. Geier

Title: Wolves in Oregon: From Extermination to Preservation

Abstract: My paper explores wolf politics in Oregon from 1843 to the present. I examine the motivations for various wolf control and protection laws throughout Oregon’s history and consider the impact of these laws on landscapes and communities, particularly on those communities in opposition to the estab – lished laws. A major theme of my study looks at the connection between the ideas of conquering nature through the control over the wolf, an animal that has prowled the human imagination

Duke Morton

Faculty sponsor: Kimberly Jensen

Title: Representations of the 1907 Financial Crisis in Oregon

Abstract: Several newspapers provided both information and advice to the citizens of Portland and Oregon during the financial crisis of 1907. One of the tasks taken up by the newspapers was to explain the circumstances and origins of the credit and cash shortages in Oregon, a second was to provide a projection for the course that events would take, and a third was to editorialize. A careful reading of the articles and editorials of The Oregonian, The Daily News , and The Oregon Journal show distinct perspectives aligned with opposing political and economic interests.


Jeffrey Sawyer

Faculty sponsor: Kimberly Jensen

Title: Oregon’s Capital Punishment Debate of the Progressive Era

Abstract: The abolition of capital punishment came before Oregon voters three times during the Progressive Era (1890- 1920). In 1912 the bill to abolish capital punishment was roundly defeated by a 60-40 margin. Over the next two years, the growth of grassroots organizers, the advocacy of Oregon’s governor Oswald West, and coverage by the Oregon Journal worked in different ways to recast capital punishment as a civil rights issue and to frame it as a practice only used by “barbaric societies”. Oregonians were more receptive to this idea in the 1914 election, abolishing capital punishment by a razor-thin margin of 157 votes.


Toni Rush

Faculty sponsor: Kimberly Jensen

Title: Food Farms and Industry: Oregon’s Interpretations of the Pure Food Act, 1906-07

Abstract: My paper will evaluate the roles of Oregon newspapers from 1906 and 1907 in understanding the Pure Food Acts that passed on both the regional and national level. While many identify the Pure Food Act as an act that was passed to prevent unsanitary conditions in the meat packing industry of Chicago, my paper argues that the effects of the Pure Food Act had implications in Oregon and was a major focal point of Progressive Era Oregon. By looking at newspapers from Oregon in these years, one can see what the popular opinions of editors were from varying regions of Oregon.


Hannah Marshall

Faculty sponsor: Kimberly Jensen

Title: Charity Cookbooks and the Progressive Middle Class of the Early 20th Century

Abstract: In the early 20th century immigrants flooded the working class neighborhoods of the US and the gap between the middle class and the poor widened immensely. Female progressive reformers sought to find inventive ways to raise funds needed to better the immigrant’s living situation and charity cookbooks became a popular way to do so. The Settlement House Cookbook , published in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Portland, Oregon’s Council of Jewish Women’s The Neighborhood Cookbook are two examples of successful charity cookbooks. These books reveal much about the authors who were first generation Americans and part of a growing middle class.


Diane Huddleston

Faculty sponsor: Kimberly Jensen

Title: The Poorhouse: Institutionalization of the Poor

Abstract: The poorhouse was America’s early welfare institution. This presentation will focus on the early history of the poorhouse used as a punitive measure to deter poverty and later reform attempts during the Progressive Era. However, it soon became clear that reform efforts could not deter or control the socioeconomic conditions that were driving poverty at that time. This presentation also looks at society’s beliefs about poverty and its causes, and how those beliefs changed over time, but still remained a contentious topic for many.


Brittney Teal-Cribbs

Faculty sponsor: Patricia Goldsworthy-Bishop

Title: Transculturation in German-Turkish Hip-Hop

Abstract: Throughout Europe, hybrid youth cultures continue to form and morph as global migration creates minority enclaves in urban areas. Music plays a large part in the transformation of this culture for Germany’s large Turkish population. Participation by both sides in the German hip- hop scene has created a type of transculturation in which aspects of both cultures are preserved. Hip-hop was first transformed in Germany by white artists whose lyrics more closely resembled traditional soft rock. Today, the immigrant populations have appropriated this uniquely German form of hip-hop to discuss deeper issues of race, poverty and violence that transcend racial stereotypes.

Hannah Marshall

Faculty sponsor: Max Geier

Title: The Axe Murderer as Underprivileged Male

Abstract: The axe murders of eight people in Villisca, Iowa in 1912 shocked the nation. The use of this common household item as a weapon horrified the press, which ran dozens of stories depicting the weapon, murder scene, and possible suspect. It was automatically assumed by both the press and detectives that the murderer would be a male from the lowest socio-economic class of society. This description was one based on predisposed beliefs that axes were the tools of the lower class and that women could not commit such physical, heinous crimes.

Samantha Reining

Faculty sponsor: Max Geier

Title: 1844 Oregon Territory: Murder and Race Relations

Abstract: Champoeg Constable Joel Turnham’s threat against the life of Mary Hauxhurst (the Indian wife of Webley Hauxhurst), and Turnham’s subsequent death, exemplify the racial tensions present in 1844 in the Oregon Territory. An examination of the lives of the individuals involved in this case illustrates how society in early Oregon developed a system of prejudice and intolerance that led to socially accepted violence against Indians and their unfair treatment in the justice system. This organized system of discrimination was further constructed through miscegenation laws, reservation policies, and the lack of a formal law against killing Indians.

Jeffrey Sawyer

Faculty sponsor: Max Geier

Title: Society’s Response and Reaction to the Harry Tracy Murdering Spree

Abstract: In the summer of 1902, Harry Tracy escaped from the Oregon State Penitentiary and eluded the law for the next two months. Over this period he headed north to Seattle, robbing, taking hostages, and murdering lawmen and civilians alike, capturing America’s undivided attention. This essay analyzes the public’s fascination regarding the murdering spree and manhunt, which elevated Tracy to the status of celebrity on both the local and national levels. It also seeks to demonstrate, through different theories, why society is attracted to and absorbed by violence, murder, and the outlaw on the run.

Austin Schulz

Faculty sponsor: John Rector

Title: Consequences of the Peruvian Guano Trade on Labor and the Role of U.S. Merchants, 1840-1860

Abstract: My purpose in this paper is to offer a better understanding of the role of American merchant ships in transporting Chinese coolie laborers and guano during the height of the Peruvian guano trade, 1840-60. These merchants fulfilled a crucial role as both purveyors of labor and transporters of cargo in and out of Peru. This led to the generation of immense wealth from the droppings of sea birds that had nested on the Chincha islands of Peru for hundreds of years.

Toni Rush

Faculty sponsor: Max Geier

Title: Interpreting Horror: Oregon News and Lynching 1900-10

Abstract: Lynching, an event that occurs outside of the influence of the law, was practiced on African American men, most commonly in the south. But how did the Pacific Northwest interpret lynching events as they occurred across the United States? To find out, I will identify how Oregon newspapers focused on lynching from 1900 to 1910. By evaluating news articles one can understand Oregon popular opinion about lynching. Furthermore, by looking at the geographical regions of Portland, Salem, Coos Bay, and Medford one can assess regional differences of opinions about lynching.

Diane Huddleston

Faculty sponsor: Max Geier

Title: The Case of Emma Hannah: From Prison to Asylum

Abstract: In 1895 Emma Hanna was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison, but she spent the majority of that sentence in a mental institution. Around 1900, America’s penitentiaries and mental hospitals were two cogs in the wheel of institutionalization. Life in prison was a civil death, but a life sentence in the asylum, was living death or, metaphorically, like being buried alive. This study will address America’s shift in philosophy regarding punishment by restoration to the alienation of deviants by separation into prisons and /or hospitals. I will also show how this has influenced society’s imagination regarding institutionalization and gothic horror.

Jeffrey Benson

Faculty sponsor: John L. Rector

Title: Corruption, the Reforms of Francisco de Toledo, and the Backlash of Indio Social Changes in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Spanish Peru

Abstract: Francisco de Toledo, the Spanish viceroy of Peru from 1569 to 1581, departed from Spain with the intention of implementing several reforms in an attempt to organize and stabilize the political spectrum of Spanish Peru. However, while the reforms were intended to limit corruption and better regulate political and economic decrees, the reforms had the exact opposite effect. The reforms were an extension of the government, which did not impede corruption, rather expanded the opportunities through discretion and negotiation. As a result social and cultural backlashes occurred within the indios class attempting to escape the reforms and the corruption.

Vivian Reed

Faculty sponsor: David Doellinger

Title: The Lutheraners: German Nationalism in a Polish Particular

Abstract: Few nationalisms were more rigid and fastidious than that of Nazi Germany regarding who did or did not belong to the German nation. Few self-identities are stronger than the national/ethnic heritage a person receives during their formative years. The World War II experiences of the Lutheraners show a surprising flexibility in the Nazi

Volksdeutsch policy. The Lutheraners’ own national identity demonstrates both fluidity under duress and an underlying, life-long self-image. This collision between inherited and imposed national identities constitutes an absorbing story and offers unique insight into experienced nationalism.

Jeffrey Benson

Faculty sponsor: Bau Hsieh

Title: The Autonomous Illusion of the Minorities of China

Abstract: This essay takes a closer look at the definition of autonomy and the manner in which it is used amongst the minorities of China. Several areas that will be examined are

education standards and curriculum, religious customs and practices, regional government policies, international trade and regional assistance for family planning. Two minorities within China that will get exceptional attention are the Hui, representing the Muslim minority, and the Tibetans.

Amy Koeneman

Faculty Sponsor: David Doellinger

Title: German Democratic Republic Postal Stamps: Vehicle for Nationalism

Abstract: The German Democratic Republic, commonly referred to as East Germany, existed from 1949 until 1990. In those 41 years more than 3000 postage stamps were created. This article ponders the question whether stamp motifs, via their assortment and presentation, are an objective mirror of society as a means to study political forces and changes. This presentation will reveal how the GDR, by employing the stamp medium, pursued a two-fold nationalist agenda: pictorial representation reflected aspects onto itself, and secondly, the iconic language appealed to international recognition by projecting depictions of the GDR as a land discovering its unique identity.

Betsy McDonald

Faculty sponsor: David Doellinger

Title: Bloody Sunday, 1972: Discerning Between Nationalism and Patriotism

Abstract: Patriotism and nationalism are complimentary yet contradictory concepts that are often at the heart of an identity of peoples and nations. A study of Bloody Sunday (1972) and its aftermath demonstrates how the fine line between patriotism and nationalism can effortlessly be obscured because the Northern Irish reaction to the incident is patriotism, while the Irish Troubles are an example of nationalism. It is important to distinguish between these two concepts because the compilation of patriotism and nationalism is almost as dangerous as extremists of either concept.

Jody Lyon

Faculty sponsor: David Doellinger

Title: The Heroic Holmes: Emblematic Englishman

Abstract: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle composed his Sherlock Holmes stories during the late Victorian period. His stories, such as The Hound of the Baskervilles (1901-02), emulate the period’s transition from religious assiduity to scientific fervor. Society adapted Darwinism into social Darwinism, and a renewed sense of imperialism swept over the nation. The Hound of the Baskervilles represents Great Britain’s cultural shift in its language, separation of English and foreign, and infallible hero – Sherlock Holmes.

Lindsay McNeill

Faculty Sponsor: Kimberly Jensen

Title: Living Life as a Logger’s Wife: The Story of Olive Barber

Abstract: This paper covers a perspective that is uncommon in the historical record: a woman’s view of life in logging camps. It uses the perspective of Olive Barber who lived in logging camps and logging communities from the early 1920s to the late 1940s. Her coverage of that time period is particularly revealing as it shows her experiences as well as her husband, Frank “Curly” Barber’s, experiences. It reveals the many struggles of logging wives, like the rough lifestyle and the fears that they might lose their husbands to

the incredibly dangerous job of logging. Hers is a gripping, revealing tale.

Duke Morton

Faculty sponsor: Kimberly Jensen

Title: Wilderness Women

Abstract: The writings of naturalists influenced and portrayed the arrival of American culture in the North American West. By including humans and human activity in her writings about wilderness, Mary Austin foreshadows a sense of ecology only widely accepted by the late twentieth century.

Austin Schulz

Faculty sponsor: Kimberly Jensen

Title: Women of Oregon’s Eugenic Sterilization Movement: A Case Study of Eugenic Sterilization in Practice

Abstract: This paper offers an examination of the primary arguments made by Dr. Bethenia Owens Adair in favor of eugenic sterilization legislation in Oregon and the opposition arguments made by the Anti-Sterilization League led by Lora Little in the early twentieth century. These arguments are compared with selected Oregon eugenic sterilization cases from the Oregon State Board of Eugenics and the Marion County Circuit Court in order to determine their relation to the reality of the laws in practice.

Brandon M. Shaffer

Faculty sponsor: David Doellinger

Title: A Comedy of Terror: The Use of Ethnic Jokes as a form of Nationalism during the Russian Revolution (1917-1924)

Abstract: This paper examines ethnic jokes used by Russian civilians during the Russian Revolution and their establishment of an “us versus them” mentality. The establishment of this underground nationalism harkens back to the period under the Tsar, when many of the same jokes were used. The jokes reflect the frustration and anger at the establishment of the USSR during the Revolution and Civil War.

Sam Summers

Faculty sponsor: David Doellinger

Title: Football Nationalism: Identity and Sport in Great Britain

Abstract: Through the alteration of identifying symbols, the English national football team has become a representation of the English nation in the globalized world. Scholars have struggled with the concept of nationalism and national identity and how they manifest themselves in a society. In 1990, with the advent of globalization, the national identity of England began to change and Englishmen began to struggle to redefine themselves in a globalizing world. The English turned to the sport they codified in the late 19th century, football, in order to define their national identity and rediscover their national pride.

Jonathan Tipton

Faculty sponsor: David Doellinger

Title: John Paul II Changes the Rules

Abstract: John Paul II’s return to Poland as Pope shaped the nature of the discussion of dissent. People no longer emphasized material issues, but instead focused on things

such as freedom and religion. This was a direct result of the statements John Paul II made while visiting Poland. His trip both changed dissent and dramatically accelerated the fall of the Communist government in Poland.

Susan Windish

Faculty sponsor: Bau Hsieh

Title: Strangers in Their Own Country

Abstract: The Uyghurs, who live in the autonomous region of Xinjiang, have a culture and background distinct from the Han and are one of China’s 46 nationalities. This minority group has distinguishing physical qualities and a lifestyle that stands apart from most other Chinese people. Having seen the USSR split, and viewing the immergence of neighboring countries, has caused tensions to rise towards China, although it seems virtually impossible that Xinjiang could ever become its own country.


In 2009 M.A. students participated in a separate presentation event; since that time M.A. students participate in a conference-style presentation of one of their seminar papers for Western’s Academic Showcase each spring term.


Tyler Laughlin, “The Fluidity of Oil: A Process of Refinement of Change”

Robert Moore, “Nationalism, Imperialism & Gender: A Hegemonic Hierarchy of the Male”

Lindsay McNeill, “Mining: The Roman Exploitation of Northwest Spain”

Vivian Reed, “Beneath the Surface: Argentine-United States Relations as Perón Assumed the Presidency”

Sam Summers, “Pealing Back a Part of Globalization: Banana War”

Jonathan Tipton, “Armed Insurrection and Peronism: Why the Military Coup in 1976 Was Different.”


Division of Social Sciences 

503-838-8288 | or e-mail: ryalss@wou.edu Location: BELL 231