NEWS & EVENTS
History & Art History, 2010
  • History & Art History, 2010

     

     

    The Akan Adinkra Symbols and Their Use in Ghanaian Art and Craft
    Rachel Bodnar
    Mentor: Cassandra Tellier

    The Akan Adinkra symbols are a crucial part of Ghanaian culture. The symbols represent cultural proverbs, but also important values held by the Akan people. They have come to be recognized and beloved by western cultures as well as Africans in the Diaspora. The purpose of this research was to expose the relationship among proverbs, symbols, and Ghanaian art and craft. In order to execute my research, I used four main methods: participant and non-participant observation, interview, and book and internet research. I discovered an interesting cycle created by the symbols, the proverbs, and the arts and crafts. I found that all three need and use each other in order to maintain their presence in the culture. Studying the circular relationship between the symbols, Ghanaian art and craft, and Ghanaian proverbs reveals how the three support each other. It also provides a structure for me to evaluate how art helps preserve aspects in other cultures all around the world, even within American culture.

     

     

    In the Mist of the Devil: The Salem Witch Trials
    Laurasona Leigh
    Mentor: Thomas Maroukis

    The Salem Witch Trials have fascinated many historians. This was a period in American history that divided a community through politics, feuds, fears and religious issues and led to a witch hunt. This witch hunt led to the extermination of enemies and misfits in order to create a society that they believed God will accept. The purpose of this paper is to examine Salem’s past in order to uncover why the trials happened in Salem, why in 1692, and what caused the trials to occur. In order to achieve this, I used court records from the trials, eyewitness accounts from that period in Salem, and a number of secondary sources. According to some historians the division of Salem Village could be the cause of hysteria that resulted from Puritans believing that God allowed the devil into the village in order to punish them. Through this investigation, I found that the trials depicted a society that chose to turn against one another and resulted in the deaths of many innocent people.

     

     

    Assimilation of Native Americans: Education as a Tool for Cultural Suppression
    Angelic Stidham
    Mentor: Thomas Maroukis

    The United States government of the late 19th and early 20th centuries invested considerable effort and funding into the cultural assimilation of Native Americans via boarding schools. The first and most notable boarding school, the Carlisle Indian School, was the proving grounds for the attempt to suppress a culture in the name of humanitarianism. The experiences of the administrators and students are important to understanding how destructive such a program can be on both individuals and an entire culture. Analysis of autobiographical publications and correspondences, school documents, and artifacts located in the archives of the Cumberland County Historical Society, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, was conducted. Documents showed conflicting attitudes and experiences throughout the Carlisle School. Statements show a severe lack of respect for the native cultures and a determined belief that the children would benefit from white society. The autobiographical accounts from former students describe extreme forms of cultural suppression and even violence towards students. Returning to their families was often difficult as the students had lost their native languages, religion, and customs and could not function within their own society. The assimilation of Native Americans may have had altruistic humanitarian beginnings, but the process left deep emotional scars on the survivors.

     

     

    The Shingle Style Architecture of William Ralph Emerson in Bar Harbor, Maine 1879-1881
    Joanne Torrey
    Mentors: Cassandra Tellier, Thomas Maroukis

    The Boston architect, William Ralph Emerson, is credited with developing Shingle Style architecture. Emerson built at least ten cottages for wealthy summer residents in Bar Harbor, Maine, where this architecture flourished between 1879-1881. This research examines Emerson’s life and discusses two homes which represent his most important work. They are the Charles J. Morrill House, and Mossley Hall. The importance of historical preservation and documentation is emphasized. I studied Emerson’s architecture during a research trip to Bar Harbor this past summer. Using primary sources from the Bar Harbor Historical Society and personal observation of the remaining structure I documented Emerson’s work and architectural style. The study of primary sources reveals little about Emerson’s life, in spite of a brilliant career spanning 52 years. Political and economic factors, as well as natural disasters (fire), have contributed to the destruction of all but one of Emerson’s structures in this area. Yet his shingle style architecture, uniquely American, incorporated the concepts of building in harmony with nature and using native materials. Emerson’s profound impact on architecture continues today. Historical preservation is of utmost importance to ensure protection for landmarks and to promote cultural understanding for generations.