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A Political Critique of the Objectification of Science and Religion

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This essay explores the role of religion, science, and the secular in contemporary society by showing their connection to social and political legitimacy as a result of historical processes. In Chapter One, the essay presents historical arguments, particularly linguistic, which

This essay explores the role of religion, science, and the secular in contemporary society by showing their connection to social and political legitimacy as a result of historical processes. In Chapter One, the essay presents historical arguments, particularly linguistic, which confirm science and religion as historically created categories without timeless or essential differences. Additionally, the current institutional separation of science and religion was politically motivated by the changing power structures following the Protestant Reformation. In Chapter Two, the essay employs the concept of the modern social imaginary to show how our modern concept of the political and the secular subtly reproduce the objectified territories of science and religion and thus the boundary maintenance dialectic which dominates science-religion discourse. Chapter Three argues that ‘religious’ worldviews contain genuine metaphysical claims which do not recognizably fit into these modern social categories. Given the destabilizing forces of globalization and information technology upon the political authority of the nation-state, the way many conceptualize of these objects religion, science, and the secular will change as well.

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2018-05

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The Forgotten Fight: A Diplomatic and Military History of the American Expeditionary Force Northern Russia, 1918-1919

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The American entrance into World War I instituted a fundamental change in the nation’s handling of foreign policy. The established precedent of isolationism was rooted in Washingtonian affairs and further emphasized by the policies of the Monroe Doctrine and Roosevelt

The American entrance into World War I instituted a fundamental change in the nation’s handling of foreign policy. The established precedent of isolationism was rooted in Washingtonian affairs and further emphasized by the policies of the Monroe Doctrine and Roosevelt Corollary. President Woodrow Wilson, by choosing to engage in a European war, created a milestone in American history by sending troops across the Atlantic to “repay Lafayette’s debt.” However, while World War I shaped American relations with western Europe, it also played an important role in Russian-American relations with Wilson’s decision to intervene in the Russian Civil War. Like his Fourteen Points at the Treaty of Versailles, Wilson asserted the legitimacy to intervene in Russia through pro-democratic rhetoric. This historic decision not only marked one of the first pro-democratic interventions in American military history, but it became the foundation for containment strategy during the Cold War twenty years later.
Furthermore, this paper will look to highlight and bring forth the stories and testimonies of those who fought in the American Expeditionary Force in North Russia (AEF-NR). Examination of the American leaders in the region as well as the geographical situation will address why the AEF-NR’s intervention was far more violent than that of the American Expeditionary Force of Siberia, telling the story of the ‘Forgotten Fight’ and its significant effect on American-Russian foreign relations.

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2018-12

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Plague Ideas in Transition: Shifting Medical Ideas and Practices of the Islamicate World in Response to Recurring Plague Outbreaks

Description

The essay conducts a wide review of the existing modern scholarship on plague, caused by Yersinia pestis, during the second plague pandemic in the Islamicate Mediterranean. A historiographical approach was taken to analyze the terminology recorded in scholarly plague treatises

The essay conducts a wide review of the existing modern scholarship on plague, caused by Yersinia pestis, during the second plague pandemic in the Islamicate Mediterranean. A historiographical approach was taken to analyze the terminology recorded in scholarly plague treatises across the timeline of the historical narrative, from the centuries before during and after the 1348 plague pandemic known as the Black Death. Focus is given to the medical and symptom-based terminology that was used by medieval scholars to describes plagues arrival, appearance, and effects. Modern authors writing about regions from Anatolia and the Ottoman lands in the eastern Mediterranean, to the Andalusian region in Spanish Granada have translated and discussed major medieval treatises by scholars who were contemporary to the disease epidemics and this essay explores the medieval terminology using modern scholarship. An analysis of the detailed modern plague scholarship in the eastern Islamicate Mediterranean explores the interpretations and discussions generated by the numerous sources who wrote historical and religious treatises on plague during the initial pandemic and subsequent epidemic events. In the western Islamicate Mediterranean a trio of detailed treatises describe the symptoms and treatments for an unprecedented pandemic, providing unparalleled descriptive confirmation of the presence of plague related mortality. This western record is limited, however, by its finite temporal range, as no plague treatise arise from the Islamicate scholars in the western Mediterranean kingdoms to describe the events before or after the famous 1348 pandemic. Between the kingdoms in the east and west is a wasteland in the medieval scholarship on plague, its plague experience largely explained only in comparison with the adjacent regions. With this background the essay will seek the patterns and notable features in scholarly terminology, in order to create a coherent picture of the plague experience across the Islamicate Mediterranean.

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2018-05

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Everybody Commits Crimes (Analysis of Legal Culpability and Human Behavior)

Description

Realistically, everyone should either be in jail or in court for crimes that everybody
commits. Outside of the house, there are people speeding, jaywalking, littering, sharing
medication, and driving without seat belts. Inside the house, people are downloading
music/movies, drinking

Realistically, everyone should either be in jail or in court for crimes that everybody
commits. Outside of the house, there are people speeding, jaywalking, littering, sharing
medication, and driving without seat belts. Inside the house, people are downloading
music/movies, drinking while underage, using (and abusing) social media while under the age of
18, and reading another person’s mail. With so much of a focus on serious crimes, or felonies,
people tend to forget about the everyday actions in America that are also illegal. For example, a
police officer may not do anything if several cars are going well over the speed limit on the
highway, because it is normalized. This paper explores two sides of this issue: the psychological
side and the legal side. The goal is to find out how culpable people really are for their actions
when they do not have the mental intent that the they are determined to have in court. All human
behavior will be divided into two sections (people with non-extreme mental disorders and people
who have total control over their behavior). First, I dive into the complexity of anxiety,
depression, and ADHD, and explain how these disorders will subtly change someone’s behavior.
Next, I examine how actions like speeding and jaywalking and explain how certain illegal
actions have become so normalized that people may not be very guilty, even when they are
knowingly committing these crimes. I use different misdemeanors as examples for each of these
types of behaviors to argue why people should be more culpable (aggravating factors) or less
culpable (mitigating factors) because of their respective predispositions. Finally, I discuss issues
of fixing the criminal justice system such as: how to make all punishments fair/accurate, how to
fix the public’s distrust towards the law, and how to stop these normalized illegal behaviors for
all people, regardless of mental health or intent.

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Created

Date Created
2020-05

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Joseph Rotblat, the Physicist Who Left the Manhattan Project: a Biography of Scientific Responsibility

Description

Joseph Rotblat (1908-2005) was the only physicist to leave the Manhattan Project for moral reasons before its completion. He would spend the rest of his life advocating for nuclear disarmament. His activities for disarmament resulted in the formation, in 1957,

Joseph Rotblat (1908-2005) was the only physicist to leave the Manhattan Project for moral reasons before its completion. He would spend the rest of his life advocating for nuclear disarmament. His activities for disarmament resulted in the formation, in 1957, of the Pugwash conferences, which emerged as the leading global forum to advance limits on nuclear weapons during the Cold War. Rotblat's efforts, and the activities of Pugwash, resulted in both being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995. Rotblat is a central figure in the global history of resistance to the spread of nuclear weapons. He also was an important figure in the emergence, after World War II, of a counter-movement to introduce new social justifications for scientific research and new models for ethics and professionalism among scientists. Rotblat embodies the power of the individual scientist to say "no" and thus, at least individually, put limits of conscience on his or her scientific activity. This paper explores the political and ethical choices scientists make as part of their effort to behave responsibly and to influence the outcomes of their work. By analyzing three phases of Rotblat's life, I demonstrate how he pursued his ideal of beneficial science, or science that appears to benefit humanity. The three phases are: (1) his decision to leave the Manhattan Project in 1944, (2) his role in the creation of Pugwash in 1957 and his role in the rise of the organization into international prominence and (3) his winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995. These three phases of Rotblat's life provide a singular window of the history of nuclear weapons and the international movement for scientific responsibility in the 50 years since the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. While this paper does not provide a complete picture of Rotblat's life and times, I argue that his experiences shed important light on the difficult question of the individual responsibility of scientists.

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Date Created
2015-05

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The Importance of Slave Narratives: The Analysis of Jacob D. Green's Life

Description

Jacob D. Green's slave narrative breaks standards surrounding slave narratives and wrote a strong, unique story that allowed his audience to relate to his human characters. His narrative has unprecedented qualities that make his autobiography distinctive. An attempt to locate

Jacob D. Green's slave narrative breaks standards surrounding slave narratives and wrote a strong, unique story that allowed his audience to relate to his human characters. His narrative has unprecedented qualities that make his autobiography distinctive. An attempt to locate him in historical documents proved inconclusive and some of his stories elaborated, but his narrative is still a valuable piece of literature that gives historians a glimpse into slavery in the United States and the abolition movement in England.

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Date Created
2015-05

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The Evolving Frontier: Comparing the Historical Dynamics of Private Enterprise in Earth and Space Exploration

Description

Guided by the Obama administration, NASA has begun developing commercial launch capabilities. For both cargo and crew delivery to the International Space Station, NASA has selected companies to build and operate the vehicles at a fixed price. Alexander McDonald suggests

Guided by the Obama administration, NASA has begun developing commercial launch capabilities. For both cargo and crew delivery to the International Space Station, NASA has selected companies to build and operate the vehicles at a fixed price. Alexander McDonald suggests that this continues a trend in space exploration established by large observatory projects, and that the Apollo-era style of funding and operation was a historical anomaly. This paper attempts to discover if historical analog can support or weaken this thesis. The analogs chosen are two episodes in the history of terrestrial exploration: the experience of the Spanish and British empires in North America. These are compared to the history of space exploration up until today, focusing on how the role of private enterprise has changed in each instance. While the analogies between historical episodes are weak in a few areas, they do possess a common narrative concerning the shifting balance between private and government interests. This narrative supports McDonald's thesis, and shows that NASA's current policy anticipates an expected transition towards a private-public hybrid model of exploration and expansion.

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Date Created
2015-05

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A Translation of Adolf Bach's "Sprache und Nation"

Description

The decade of the 1930s was a tumultuous time for the world at large, but even more so in Germany. With the ascension to power of the National Socialist German Worker's Party (NSDAP) much of German academia was purged, and

The decade of the 1930s was a tumultuous time for the world at large, but even more so in Germany. With the ascension to power of the National Socialist German Worker's Party (NSDAP) much of German academia was purged, and the remainder was under significant strain to present ideas consistent with nationalist ideology. It was during this period, in 1938, that linguist professor Adolf Bach published his chapter "Sprache und Nation" as the conclusion to the book Geschichte der Deutschen Sprache. It is this chapter which the following thesis seeks to translate and analyze briefly, for the purpose of gaining further insight into the landscape of scholarly work in linguistics during the period. The chapter summarizes the content of the book, providing a brief history of the unification of the German language before launching into a discussion of the merits of the German language and race. Bach contends that the unique strength of the German language and people is deserving of protection from outside influence and at the close of his chapter calls for a struggle for the existence and purity of the people.

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Date Created
2016-05

History in Action: Performing History as a Method of Teaching

Description

The purpose of this research was to create a theoretical lesson plan to teach the French Revolution, and specifically the March on Versailles, to secondary-level (middle and high school) students. This lesson plan incorporates a simulation of the March on

The purpose of this research was to create a theoretical lesson plan to teach the French Revolution, and specifically the March on Versailles, to secondary-level (middle and high school) students. This lesson plan incorporates a simulation of the March on Versailles for students to participate in as a supplement to their usual lesson, and as a different and engaging method of learning. For the purposes of this honors thesis, the research and information gathered was split into four individual sections: a pedagogy, a historiography, a series of short biographies, and a script which is accompanied by a short film of the dialogue. These four parts would work together in order for an instructor to easily build either a simple, short, one-class lesson or a multi-lesson project for their students. The parts combine research into educational studies and research on French Revolutionary history in order to encompass all aspects of a lesson. The goal of such research into a potential lesson plan would be to create a history lesson which is more interesting to all students, especially those who struggle to find enjoyment in history. Moving forward, this theoretical lesson would be put into practice with middle or high school students in order to gauge their interest and engagement with the subject before and after a simulation in their class.

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Date Created
2016-05

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Exploration of Medieval Europe through Interactive Fiction

Description

Interaction is key to education, as students who perform their own inquiry into a subject retain information longer. The field of interactive fiction, which emphasizes personal decision making and freedom of choice, is ripe for opportunity as it is relatively

Interaction is key to education, as students who perform their own inquiry into a subject retain information longer. The field of interactive fiction, which emphasizes personal decision making and freedom of choice, is ripe for opportunity as it is relatively simple to develop and deploy to audiences of any size. However, few interactive fiction platforms exist with the openness and flexibility required for classroom use. My project attempted to create an interactive fiction platform that can be created for and engaged with by both teachers and students. This led to the creation of an interactive fiction platform that conforms to a variety of requirements, such as openness and compatibility across multiple platforms, and which can display meaningful content. This was accomplished by someone with a content area education background and only limited computer science experience, and shows promise for similar future endeavors.

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Date Created
2014-12