Mercer hosts history honor society conference
April 15, 2017
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Hannah Keller, a sophomore and history major at Mercer, was honored Saturday, April 1 at the Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society conference with an award for her paper, “Inside the Mind of a King: Using Marriage to Break an Alliance”.
Every year, Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society sponsors its Georgia Regional Conference. This year, Mercer University hosted the event.
College students from around the state visited to deliver lectures on their research on subjects ranging from imperialism to gender and sexuality.
“I’m very excited,” Keller said. “This [was] my first conference, but I love history, and I love sharing it with people. To know that my work was worthy of an award is really gratifying. It lets me know that I’m in the right field.”
Several other students from universities around the state, including LaGrange College, Georgia Southwestern University and Georgia College & State University, had their research honored by the society.
The activities lasted from 9 a.m. that day until 3:30 p.m., with a lunch intermission that included a presentation from guest speaker Maurice J. Hobson, a professor at Georgia State University who presented his research titled “Using Hip Hop as History: From the Black New South to the Dirty South”.
Hopson talked about how his personal life helped shape the way he does his history and demonstrated how it’s possible to use non-traditional sources like hip-hop to study how Atlanta politics developed from the 1970s to the 1990s.
Abby Dowling, a history professor at Mercer, said the purpose of this conference is to help students with a passion in history, whether it is their major or not, get helpful critique on their research.
Dowling said in order to receive an award at the conference, students’ projects had to display good use of historical research techniques.
“The judges primarily were looking for historical promise,” Dowling said. “What that translates to is, ‘are they able to do the research, are they looking for primary sources through the library, and that they’ve done additional secondary research.’”
Dowling said that those who won awards were truly deserving based on the standards that the society had set.
“In the case of all of our winners, they were all demonstrating excellent historical promise and creative interpretation of sources and historical situations,” Dowling said.