Student sitting inside of a book with computer in lap

Best History Seminar Research Paper

Spring 2020 Awards

Muslim Lives with Professor Audrey Truschke

Photo of Saad Latif

Saad Latif
“Namak Halal: Archival Research on Loyal Muslim Sepoys of British India”

An exploration of perceived loyalty and complicated identity of Muslim Soldiers, particularly the sepoys of the British Raj. A topic of personal significance but also an insight on colonial military service and the history of Muslim soldierly experiences during the Great War.


Zohaib Khan
"Martial Races, The Frontier, and Colonial Society” 

An exploration of how imperial doctrines and ideologies were used by both the colonizers and the colonized in British India. The article focuses on the Victorian race science theory of the “Martial Races,” which believed that certain races were biologically built for warfare and fighting. The paper explains how it was employed both for political and cultural purposes by the different actors in Colonial India. It mainly narrows in on how the figure of the “Pathan,” a “martial race,” was seen as a “deviant,” “menace,” and “pest” in society because of “martial race” discourses. Ultimately, the article concludes that the figure of the “Pathan” was used to both justify British colonial rule and challenge that same paradigm. "

Environmental Justice in the United States with Professor Neil Maher

Photo of Julianna Matlack in regalia

Julianna Matlack
"They Call it Filthadelphia: How ‘Cash for Trash’ Programs Abused Philadelphia’s Lower Class"

I decided to research how Philadelphia's mandated recycling program from 1987 early on in my research on recycling after being inspire by David Pellow's book Garbage Wars. I was aware of trash pickers exchanging recyclable materials for cash, so I was interested in how this program affected the lower class in both positive and negative ways. As challenging as this research was given the time period, exposing the unknown and unrecognized history of Philly's poorest residents as well as the undervalued working class was very rewarding!
Photo of Roy Samuel in regalia smiling forward Roy Samuel
"Get the Frack Out”: Environmental and Economic Implications of Hydraulic Fracturing in Bradford County, PA"

My paper discusses the economic and environmental impacts of fracking in Bradford County, Pennsylvania.  Upon reviewing the economic promises and enviornmental reassurances provided by fracking companies to these residents, I intend to show that this is an issue of environmental injustice: lower-income, rural communities were exploited for natural gas extraction and utilization.