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Sandino Rebellion Research Continues Thanks to Arnold Grant
08.09.11 |
For 20 years, Dr. Michael Schroeder, assistant professor of history at Lebanon Valley College, has been researching the 1927-1934 Nicaraguan uprising called the Sandino Rebellion, in which revolutionary Augusto Nicolás Calderón Sandino led an uprising against the U.S. military protectorate stationed in that country. Schroeder’s project will eventually compile more than 25,000 documents relating to the rebellion in fully searchable form at

This massive undertaking would not be possible alone, with Schroeder’s busy teaching and volunteering schedule, so he has worked with many Valley students over the years. This year, he applied for an inaugural Arnold Experiential Grant for Student-Faculty Research, and was named a recipient. With the funds he has employed the help of Melissa Zellner ’13, an archiving-enthusiast.

“Since last fall, I have been busy working through primary and secondary documents from 15 boxes of materials obtained from a dissertation research project in Nicaragua,” she said. “I sort the documents by type and in alphabetical and chronological order.”

Until this summer, Zellner was merely a volunteer assistant.

“The opportunity to work on this project can be seized upon by smart, capable, ambitious students,” Schroeder said, “to enhance education and gain hands-on experience. Instead of just learning about archiving through a class lecture, you are able to look at documents through the lens of an archivist, and get into really experiencing the documents. It changes you.”

A recently discovered document from a newspaper article has shed light on a new angle of the rebellion. The evidence is suggesting that the people on Nicaragua’s East Coast did not actually agree with Sandino and that his uprising was more tenuous and limited than historians originally believed.

Zellner and Schroeder are excited by this discovery. “These people are still struggling for autonomy, both politically and culturally,” Schroeder said. “This is a historical document that has shaped current contemporary concerns.”

This summer, Zellner has been working on collaboratively writing and editing an article emphasizing Sandino’s limited buy-in on the East Coast. They plan to submit the article to The Americas (TAm), a principal English-language journal of Latin American history.

The Arnold Grant has enabled Zellner to focus on the archival work this summer, rather than try to hold down a job in addition to her two internships (she is also interning at the Pennsylvania State Archives).

“I will be studying abroad in the fall, so the Arnold Grant has allowed me to accept the internships, live on campus, and focus on my studies,” she said.

“The Arnold Grant has been a blessing,” Schroeder said. “It is helpful for the students because they can do things they wouldn’t otherwise get to do.”

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