Loyola University Chicago

Department of History


History undergraduates awarded Provost Fellowships

History undergraduates awarded Provost Fellowships

From left to right: Lauren Rogers, Melanie Zagorski, Sarah Deas; photography by Myles Ostrowski

History undergraduates Sarah Deas, Lauren Rogers, Katherine Will, and Melanie Zagorski were recently awarded Provost Fellowships by Loyola Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (LUROP). This is “the largest, most flexible, and most diverse fellowship” offered by LUROP. The Provost Fellows will conduct research projects under the guidance of a faculty member and will present their research projects in either an oral presentation or poster presentation at next spring’s research symposium.

As a Provost Fellow, Sarah Deas will continue the work she began this spring with Dr. Robert Bucholz on the compilation of The Database of Court Officers. This is an online database that provides career histories of officers and servants of English royal households from the Restoration in 1660 to the beginning of Queen Victoria’s reign in 1837. The database is hosted by Loyola and the University of London. Dr. Bucholz is currently engaged in work to extend the database to include households of other members of the royal family including consorts, the Prince and Princess of Wales, and royal dukes, to name a few.

During the spring 2015 semester, Deas compiled a register of the servants of Prince George and Princess Caroline, the future King George II and Queen Caroline, from 1714–1737 for inclusion in the database. Deas says that “this court is interesting because, though only about 100–150 people at any given time, it formed an alternative power center to that of the main household of King George I.”

Deas will continue this work as a Provost Fellow and will compile lists for The Database of Court Officers on the households of George II’s eight children. The Provost Fellowship will grant Deas access to a wider variety of sources, including the Pitt, Shelburne, and other Georgian papers at the University of Michigan’s William L. Clements Library. Once she creates the registers for the households of George II’s children, Deas will research and compose biographies on the household members. Deas’ project will not only aid in the achievement of a broader demographic understanding of the Royal Court, but also an understanding of how outside influences affected the court. For more information on Deas’ project and the work she completed this spring, check out her blog “The Invisible Faces”, which recently won first place in the 2014–2015 Undergraduate Blogging/Vlogging Contest.

Provost Fellow Lauren Rogers will work with faculty mentor Dr. Elliott Gorn to research dog fighting and abuse in Chicago. Dogs, and sometimes smaller animals, are made to fight in a ring for entertainment purposes. Unfortunately, some animals are killed or injured through the fights or owner punishment. This crime currently exists in Chicago, and though strict laws have been written due to humanitarian concern for animals, these fights are not legally prohibited.

Through her research as a Provost Fellow, Rogers hopes to “provide the Chicago community with enough research to benefit legislation against dog fighting and knowledge of how to address this issue from a humanitarian and cultural perspective.” She will study court records and make connections with PAWS Chicago, Safe Humane Chicago, and the Chicago Police Department in order to study the issue from a variety of viewpoints. She believes that there are ways to predict patterns of dog fights and identify connections between dog fights and other forms of violence including organized crime, gangs, money laundering, and prostitution.

Melanie Zagorski’s Provost Fellowship will see her working with Dr. Kyle Roberts on a study of the impact that the 1909 Loyola University Library reclassification had on students and the Jesuit faculty. The reclassification, Zagorski says, came about as “an older religious worldview succumbed to a more recent secular worldview.” This secular worldview was the Dewey Decimal System.

As a fellow, she will assist with the digitization of the 1914 library accession registers, an inventory of the registers’ content, review the registers to identify moments when the librarian reclassified specific bookcases that can be identified from the original catalogue, and select test cases to study how the librarian moved from the Jesuit library classification system to the secular Dewey system. The test cases will shed light on how science, theology, and philosophy record conversions to the Dewey system occurred, since these subjects held different meanings for the early 20th century Jesuits at Loyola than for Protestants, like Dewey himself. The project will identify conflicts between the two classification systems and will study the accommodations made by the librarian during the conversion. “By studying Catholic book culture and the library classification systems of other Catholic universities,” Zagorski says, “I hope to place this librarian’s decisions among similar conflicts within Catholic intellectual culture at the time.”

Under the guidance of Dr. Suzanne Kaufman, Katherine Will’s project, “The French Foreign Legion: The Reality of Contradiction”, will aim to close a gap in scholarship on the French Foreign Legion. Will’s research will focus on “the division between the imperial civilized mission of the French Empire, which upheld itself as ethnically and culturally superior to the colonized communities, and the realities of colonial life.” The French recruited men from a variety of non-French ethnic backgrounds so that they could use the Legionnaires to police their colonies without shedding French blood, but there is not much existing scholarship on the ethnic contradictions that underlay France’s use of the Foreign Legion. Will’s project as a Provost Fellow will argue that the French Foreign Legion’s ethnic contradictions were vital to French colonial success.

Will plans to place the French Foreign Legion in a larger social and cultural context in order to better understand the interworking of French colonialism. Will’s project will analyze the lives of Legionnaires through the documentation they left in letters and journals on their living conditions and the military strategies they were provided with by French commanders. Will’s project will be a microhistory that looks at the impact of the French Empire’s colonizing project on the daily lives of the men needed to make such a venture successful, as well as an examination of the debates surrounding the legal status of Legionnaires following their discharge from the French Foreign Legion.