The History Department hosted its third annual Undergraduate Mini Conference this weekend. At the event, junior history majors gave presentations laying out the groundwork and direction of what will become, next year, their senior thesis projects.
The conference on Saturday April 8th began with a keynote address from AMU Assistant Professor of History, Dr. Michael Breidenbach, on one of his research specialties, the role of Catholicism in the American founding. Dr. Breidenbach’s paper, “‘This Damnable Doctrine’: Lord Baltimore and Catholic Loyalty in Seventeenth-Century Maryland,” both set the conference tone as one of serious academic inquiry and offered to the hopeful historians an example of historical research to which they can aspire.
Over the course of the morning and early afternoon, twelve juniors presented on topics as diverse as a history of medicine in the Middle Ages, the creation of the mythical gangster in the 20th century, diplomacy between the Confederate States of America and the Vatican, and Communism’s role in the decay of Russian mystical culture.
These presentations are projects stemming from the Historiography course (HIST 401), in which AMU history majors learn the philosophy of history and the methods and instruments used in the conduction of historical research. Next year, these research projects will be further developed into senior theses, which culminate in an oral presentation and defense. The Mini Conference affords the junior history majors valuable preparation in presenting on and fielding questions about their research.