Oil, Blood, and Spirits: Pipelines and the Disruption of Sacred Grounds – abstract

Our 8th grade history textbooks preach of the glorious reach of a nation “from sea to shining sea”. A manifest destiny for the United States, somehow ignoring the accompanying genocide of American Indians and the underlying purpose of expansion: slavery.  The pattern continues. American Indian and slave burial grounds have been disrupted by our nation’s “progress” for years – as close as in Richmond, where the construction of a baseball stadium took place directly on top of an old African-American burial ground. It is the same manifest destiny, the same progress that drives the destruction of our natural splendor – from Alaskan oil extraction to fracking to the pollution of waterways. Supporting this effort to exsanguinate every last vein of these United States is the construction of pipelines — a drip that only extracts and fails to replenish.

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Research Update 2: A History of the Passing Game in Pro Football

Pre-NFL (1880-1919)

While the roots of American Football can be traced back to the 17th century, the game as we know it today did not really begin to take shape until 1880. While the first game of intercollegiate “American Football” was famously played between Rutgers and Yale in 1869, it hardly resembled today’s game. Beginning in 1880, Walter Camp, the “Father of American Football” added stability to the game at annual intercollegiate rules conferences. He proposed that the number of players on the field at a time be reduced from 15 to 11 from each team. He also added the line of scrimmage and the snap from center to quarterback to add form and order to the game. In 1882 he proposed the first down and distance rules, originally requiring an offense to travel a minimum of five yards in three plays; a failure to do so would be a turnover.

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Queen Victoria: The Politician and Reformer

Great Britain during the nineteenth century served as the model for social change without the social and political upheaval typical of nineteenth century mainland Europe.  At the helm of this tempered change sat Queen Victoria, from 1837 to 1901.  During her reign, Britain underwent significant industrial and educational reforms, becoming the model of productivity and liberal capitalism in Europe.  The purpose of my research will be to examine the role of the Queen in such reforms through her correspondences with political leaders, as well as her personal journal entries, all of which are conveniently available at Swem Library.  Britain was, in fact, a constitutional monarchy with very limited powers granted to the monarch herself.  However, by investigating these correspondences I will attempt to understand to what extent the monarch actually played a role in these trajectory-changing industrial and educational reforms.  Such a study will provide further insight into the powers of the restricted British monarchy in the nineteenth century.

African-American Participation in the Italo-Ethiopian War: Blog Post 3 (Memoirs)

Over the past week, I’ve discovered a not-so-surprising fact about library research: is it is very easy to get sidetracked. Remember how I said that my next blog post would be summing up African-American reactions to the war? Well, before I began  to compile my notes on African-American reactions into a cohesive blog post, I decided to check the secondary source accounts against memoirs of individuals who were in Ethiopia at the time of the war. My goal in doing so was to evaluate how the efforts of African-Americans actually affected life during the war, as seen through the eyes of individuals on the ground. Unfortunately, my selection of sources available was not great, and I ended up just consulting three memoirs for this stage of the research: the two-volume memoirs of Emperor Haile Selassie I, the recollections of John H. Spenser, an American lawyer who served as an advisor to the Ethiopian emperor until the 1970s, and the somewhat unreliable memoir of Wynant Hubbard, a rather racist American war correspondent who remained in Ethiopia for some of the crisis.

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