Session Information


AHA Session 69

Date: Friday, January 4, 2019
Time: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Location: Buckingham Room (Hilton Chicago, Lobby Level)
Chair: Lauren Araiza, Denison University




Theodore Robinson’s Angelus: An Illustrator’s Inspiration

Anna Braverman (Colby College)

My paper hopes to connect Robinson’s Angelus to the bourgeois anxiety and escapism evident in an 1880 children’s story in which a Robinson etching that depicts essentially the same image as his Angelus appears, and think critically about his career as an American illustrator. I aim to rewrite the narrative of Robinson’s early career, and also around artists’ self-sustaining work as illustrators in the second half of the nineteenth century, exploring the significant ways in which they influenced, and were influenced by, the field of American illustration and, possibly, exerted an influence on American literature during that same period.

Tuberculosis as a Cultural Phenomenon in Victorian England

Cara Caputo (Marquette University)

This digital history project explores the widespread impact the epidemic of tuberculosis had on nearly every aspect of Victorian England’s culture and society, namely the emergence of the “tubercular aesthetic.” Despite its destructive and fatal nature, tuberculosis became fashionable and desirable due to its slimming effects on the victim’s body and the Romantic poets’ idealization of the disease. By examining the disease’s impact on the period’s literature, news, art, and fashion, this project utilizes digital tools, including social media platforms, to communicate the extent to which tuberculosis was a cultural phenomenon in Victorian society.

No One Ever Expected the Genevan Consistory: Social Discipline in the Spanish Inquisition and the Genevan Consistory

Kaitlyn Centini (Lindenwood University)

People respond to discipline because they require order in their lives. The Spanish Inquisition and the Genevan Consistory are two examples of social discipline and reform in sixteenth century Europe. Both the Spanish Catholicism and Genevan Protestantism developed formal institutions to address the religio-ethical concerns throughout Europe following the Great Western Schism and the Avignon Papacy. Local processes of control, such as the Spanish Inquisition and the Genevan Consistory, established a policing system for correcting behaviors and maintaining social norms within their communities in order to promote proper faith and practice.

Strangers in the Outfield: Immigrant Jews and Baseball, 1900-1945

Isaac Johnston (University of Chicago)

This project aims to understand the connection between Jews, baseball, and immigrant integration into American society from 1900-1945. During this period, Jews used baseball simultaneously as an Americanizing space–associating themselves with the national pastime–and as a way to reinforce Jewish identity. Using sources such as the 92nd Street Y’s bulletin and oral history interviews of former major leaguers, my thesis reveals the variety of ways that Jewish immigrant children embraced baseball as an inviting space both to pursue athletics while engaging with other immigrant groups and to forge a new sensibility as members of a modern, democratic nation.

Slave Corporation: The Winter Iron Works and Visions of Southern Industrialization, 1847-1859

Griffin Jones (University of Illinois at Chicago)

My research investigates a previously-untapped collection of papers at the University of South Alabama and a largely un-researched collection at the Alabama state archives in Montgomery regarding the Winter Iron Works of Montgomery, Alabama. The project argues that, in this case study, corporate power and slavery developed in tandem with one another as part of a broad vision of Southern and national economic development that envisioned the South as becoming a part of a larger industrialized national economy while still retaining slavery as a dominant mode of production.

Little White Men: Credit, Kinship, and Trust-Based Exchange in the Upper Arkansas River Valley, 1828-1846

Annabel LaBrecque (George Washington University)

This project focuses on the socioeconomic relationship between the Bent-St. Vrain Company, a major American fur and robe trafficker, and the Southern Cheyenne, a tribe that played significant roles in trade and politics on the southern Plains. Throughout the 1830s and 40s, the Bent-St. Vrain Company and the Southern Cheyenne established mutual economic dependency by way of interpersonal exchange and kinship networking. A nuanced study of this partnership provides an important glance into the socioeconomic infrastructure of international trade on the southern Plains prior to the aggressive expansion of American capitalism and settlement into the continental west.

‘Without Embarrassment’: The Negro Motorist Green Books in 1950s Indiana

Malik Marks-McRath (Indiana University-Purdue University)

In the era of Jim Crow, traveling was an experience fraught with potential dangers for African Americans. The personal automobile changed this, allowing African Americans to control comfort and driving routes. However, traveling by car was still complicated. Black Americans had to worry about finding safe places to sleep and eat. The Negro Motorist Green Book was a guide created to help locate such places. My research seeks to map this safety network in the Midwest, during the 1950s. Using digital humanities methodologies, I will visualize and recover Black cartographies of struggle and disturb the whitewashed history of America.

When Terror Took Out the Count: Evaluating Israel’s Response to the Assassination of U.N. Mediator Folke Bernadotte

Hilary Miller (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

This paper delves into the terrorist plot that resulted in the assassination of UN Mediator Count Folke Bernadette. He was dispatched to quell the ensuing Arab-Israeli conflict after Israel declared independence in 1948. His fate was sealed when a group of radical Jewish terrorists murdered him to protest the continued foreign presence in Israel. While condemned by Israel’s Provisional Government, Bernadotte’s murder was tacitly approved by Israeli governmental leaders who saw the Count’s absence as a political vacuum to secure their geopolitical position and national security in an increasingly hostile region. The paper analyzes Israel’s multi-layered response to Bernadotte’s murder.

Operation Wetback: The 1950s Mass Deportation Operation

Sandra Puebla (Northern Illinois University)

Operation Wetback was a mass deportation of undocumented laborers during the 1950s that lasted until the early 1960s. The story of Operation Wetback is often overlooked or oversimplified by historians. Secondary sources that focus on Operation Wetback are rare, and many times do no tell the full story. This paper will go in depth on the creation of Operation Wetback, the role both the United States and Mexico played during the process, and how different groups were impacted. Through this analysis, I will explore the consequences of Operation Wetback on present day immigration.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola (the Basque)

Frankie Urrutia-Smith (Utah State University)

Although he is still a popular Saint for many Catholics as the founder of the Society of Jesus, most people outside of the Basque community do not recognize Ignatius as Basque. Scholars from each of the five centuries that have passed since his death have explored his Spanish influence and briefly acknowledged his status as Basque before moving on to seemingly more important questions. And yet, the Euskadi (as the Basques call themselves) claim him uniquely as their own. This research seeks to develop an understanding of Ignatius’ Basque heritage and its influence on his work.

Carrying the Message of His Master, From One Eastern Land to Another”: Approaches to the Thomas Tradition in India, 1500 CE-Present

Benjamin J. “Jack” Young (Baylor University)

A lively tradition has existed since Christianity’s earliest centuries connecting the apostle Thomas to the Indian subcontinent. Two sources of evidence have substantiated this tradition: The Acts of Thomas, a whimsical account from early third century CE written in the city of Edessa in modern-day Syria, and the oral traditions of the St. Thomas Christians, a small pre-colonial Christian sect in southern India who attribute their origin to the apostle. This presentation will examine how ethnic, political, and ecclesiastical concerns have shaped historians’ approaches to these sources and the historicity of the Thomas tradition throughout the colonial and postcolonial eras.