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Young Historians Conference Past Winners

2011

Sarah Cox, Clackamas High School. “Not All Were Created Equal” 

This paper explores the exceptional social, political and economic status afforded to women in Sparta by their society. Women were not simply relegated to the domestic sphere in Sparta, their responsibilities included managing both public and private affairs in the absence of their husbands, brothers and fathers. Their collective role in society allowed them to contribute to and serve their city state. It asserts that women in Sparta, unlike their contemporaries in other ancient Greek city states, had more opportunities to affect the overall impact of Sparta as a dominate military power. 

Chloe Zimmerman, St. Mary’s Academy. “The Anatomical Renaissance” 

The mystical element of the human cadaver has long determined how people interact with it. Ancient cultures often feared the wrath of a higher power arising from an investigation into the sanctity of the human corpse, a fear that for the most part stemmed from religious traditions. Despite the taboos associated with this practice, the dawn of the Italian Renaissance saw a gradual shift in this traditional perspective that allowed for scholars, particularly those in Northern Italy, to explore the subject of anatomy with greater freedom. This paper explores the factors that contributed to the proliferation of anatomical dissection throughout the Italian medical field, and the accompanying acceptance of the cadavers as an important component in understanding the body’s functions.


Honorable Mention

Matthew Krane, Lakeridge High School. “The Responsibility of Intellectuals: Chomsky and Student Opposition to the Vietnam War

The paper offers a critical perspective on the relevance of noted public intellectual Noam Chomsky’s work to American opposition to the Vietnam War. It gives a brief background of the war and United States policies in order to set the stage for an analysis of Chomsky’s critique. Then, the paper situates Chomsky’s main work of dissent, The Responsibility of Intellectuals, in the proper chronological and historical context. Two paradigms of protest by intellectuals and students are noted: logical and reactionary. In Vietnam, it is argued that the former was rooted in the latter, which no intellectual justification touched; therefore, while Chomsky may have and probably did frame the terms and language of the debate in the logical side of Vietnam protest, he did little to affect the deep roots of the movement. He never acted to catalyze change, but rather only shaped what was already there. However, Chomsky’s intellectual contributions did serve an important function: they balanced out the extreme rhetoric and propaganda of the other side of the debate. 

 

2010

Max Heniger, Lakeridge High School. “Seeds of Destruction: Factors Triggering the Watts Riots” 

This paper examines the Watts Riots, specifically their underlying causes, the motivations and goals of the rioters, the city’s and the local policies’ reaction to the threat of violence and finally the violence itself, as well as who the violence was directed against. It will also look at media reactions to the event, taking special note to compare the responses of the mainstream media to the Black media. 

 

2009

Rachel Krauss, St. Mary’s Academy. “William Harvey’s Circulatory System: the Process of Acceptance

In the history of scientific discovery the right circumstances are crucial in allowing a new discovery to become accepted. One such success story is that of William Harvey, who’s work in the study of human anatomy challenged the dogmatic ideas of Galen and Aristotle. Despite facing criticism and centuries-old paradigm, Harvey’s methodological approach, social connections, and timing were essential in allowing his discoveries to come to the front of the medical profession and gain approval in the scientific community.  

 

Honorable Mention

Kavin Vasudevan, Lakeridge High School. “Nixon and the Watergate Scandal: 1968-1974”

Presidents are remembered for their achievements and shortfalls. What happens though when an idolized president is all the sudden the center of the nation’s biggest political scandal? The Nixon administration achievements are left unwritten and unmentioned. As the public learned about Nixon’s involvement, Nixon was no longer an admirable leader, but a “crook”. Nixon’s political achievements were overshadowed by the Administration’s involvement in the Watergate Scandal.