History and Politics Student/Faculty Research

The History & Political Science Department offers many exciting opportunities for students to engage in high-impact student learning experiences by working with their professors in student-faculty research projects.  Students can receive course credit and hone their skills in gathering, analyzing, and interpreting primary historical documents and secondary works, and presenting their findings at prestigious regional and national academic conferences.  In practical terms, such student-faculty research projects function as a kind of informal honors program within the department.

For instance, in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 academic years, Assistant Professor of History Dr. Michael Schroeder worked with more than a dozen students under the auspices of an Arnold Grant in Experiential Education on his digital historical archive project on the Sandino rebellion in Nicaragua in the 1920s and 1930s.  Students undertook a wide range of research tasks, including transcribing and translating primary documents, building interactive digital maps, and taking several research trips to the U.S. National Archives in Washington D.C.  Pictured at right after a long but exhilarating day working in the archives are (left to right) LVC student researchers Giovanna Ortiz (PSC, INT '16), Katheryn O'Hara (SPA, INT '15), and Erica Laufer (HIS '15), with Dr. Schroeder.

In the current 2012-2013 academic year, Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. Diane Johnson has been working with Political Science Major Haisam Hassanein on a project on the Coptic Christian minority in Egypt. Using sources in English and Arabic, their jointly-produced research paper traces the history of the Copts from their origins to the present, and analyzes the evolution in the relationship between Copts and Muslims. Based on well-accepted notions of historical institutionalism and path dependency, the paper argues that a critical juncture in the mid-20th century ruptured existing relations, helping to explain the serious tensions between the Copts and Muslims today. Dr. Johnson & Haisam will be jointly presenting their paper to the North American Undergraduate Conference in Religion and Philosophy at St. Francis University in March.

In the 2011-12 academic year, Dr. Johnson, also working under the auspices of an Arnold Experiential Grant, and in collaboration with Spanish-language faculty members Dr. Gabriela McEvoy and Dr. Ivette Guzmán-Zavala, conducted research with four upper-level undergraduate students on questions relating to the mass media in contemporary Latin America.  The group helped transcribe original interview data collected by Dr. Johnson in South America in spring 2011. The grant also paid for students to attend the Middle Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies (MACLAS) annual conference in Washington D.C. in March 2012 to present the findings of their research.  Pictured at left at the 2012 MACLAS Conference are (from left to right) History & Political Science students Christopher DeLorenzo, Colleen Delaney, Jesús Sandoval, and Luisa Pérez.

In the 2010-11 academic year, Associate Professor of History Dr. John Hinshaw worked with three students – Luisa Perez, Ronnie Acosta, and Jennifer Cronin – on a survey of 200 Lebanon High School students, researching students’ attitudes towards teachers, education, crime, and stereotypes. One fruit of their labors was a well-received editorial in the local newspaper, the Lebanon Daily News.  That same year, Hinshaw worked with History major Cassandra Edwards on a project titled "Fathers and Sons," which examined the frequency with which men and women held infants or children over the last 30,000 years of art history. The project won an award at the North Eastern Evolutionary Psychology Society.  Also in 2011, LVC History major Charles McElwee became the first student in many years to win departmental honors. Engaged in collaborative research with Dr. Hinshaw on the ethnic history of Hazelton, Pennsylvania, Charles’s hands-on research experiences helped him to land a great job at Quantum Communications, a political communications company in Harrisburg PA.

These are only some of the more prominent recent examples of high-impact learning opportunities available to LVC’s History, Political Science, Historical Communications, and International Studies majors.  Please contact any of the department’s faculty members for more information.