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Graduate Students Present Research at Major Conferences

This past November, Richards Center affiliated graduate students presented their research at two major conferences in the U.S. and Canada. Cecily Zander, a third year graduate student in the department of history’s PhD program, presented the paper, “Improvised Warfare: The United States, Canada, and the Sioux in a Civil War Borderland,” at the 57th annual conference of the Western History Association in San Diego. Drawn from her dissertation research, Zander’s paper explored how conflicts between U.S. troops and Native Americans in the borderlands both reflected and reshaped official attitudes toward warfare and notions of just war.

While Zander presented her research in San Diego, Mallory Huard and Carolyn Levy traveled to Montreal to present papers at the international Social Science History Association’s annual conference. Huard, a third year graduate student, presented the paper, “Haoles in Honolulu: New England Whaling Wives in Mid-Nineteenth Century Hawaii.” Her paper examined the experiences of New England whaling captains’ wives who sailed with their husbands to Hawaii and helped shape the growth of the multicultural community of Honolulu as it became an important stop in the late nineteenth century trans-Pacific trade. The paper traced how questions of race, gender, and culture informed these women’s perceptions of the diverse society they encountered in Honolulu.

Levy, a second year graduate student, presented the paper, “Constructing a Legitimate Family: State Control of African American Marriages and Families in the Post-bellum United States.” Using under-explored Freedmen’s Bureau records, Levy’s paper argued that the federal government’s first order of business following the destruction of slavery during the Civil War was to regulate and legalize African American marriage and family practices. The Freedman’s Bureau crafted compulsory, legal regulations that forced freedmen to conform to a system of marriage created by white lawmakers that discouraged (or banned) “miscegenation” and sought to model supposedly respectable forms of marriage.

Zander, Huard, and Levy’s papers were selected by these conferences through a competitive submission process. Earning acceptance to major conferences and presenting research to the broader scholarly community is an important part of graduate students’ professional development in a competitive field. These students’ successful conference presentations is a testament to the strength of their research and their acumen as young scholars.