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2005 Honorable Mentions - Charlene Conrad Liebau Library Prize for Undergraduate Research

Content section: 
Brett Auerbach-Lynn History 101
YinPing Apple Lo Political Economy of Industrial Societies
Stefanie Shih History 7B

Brett Auerbach-Lynn
"Illusions and Delusions of Grandeur: The Politics of Grand Duke Ferdinand I de'Medici (1549-1609)"
History 101
Professor Thomas Dandelet

Senior history major, Brett Auerbach-Lynn wrote his thesis on, "Illusions and Delusions of Grandeur: The Politics of Grand Duke Ferdinand I De'Medici (1549-1609) and has this to say of his research experience:

"When I determined my general topic (a biopic of the late 16th and early 17th century Medici Grand Duke Ferdinand I), the library became immediately necessary, not only for the volumes on the Berkeley campus, but even more so for those stored in the NRLF facility in Richmond. Given the relatively obscure subject matter with which I was dealing and the fact that the vast majority of it was in Italian. I gained notable intimacy with the process by which one may request books from this off-campus storehouse, as well as the efficiency with which they are delivered. I was also able to access a Swiss Ph.D. dissertation in French through NRLF's collection of foreign theses, and this proved to be an important addition to my work."

History Professor Thomas Dandelet states:

"The work is based first and foremost on a rich and assorted collection of primary sources such has letters, diplomatic correspondence, histories, and memoirs. All of this is made possible because of the excellent command of Italian that Brett brings to this task, and it deserves stressing that virtually all of his primary texts and many of his secondary texts were in the original language. The translations that he provides are very solid, and they add yet another level of sophistication that is unusual in undergraduate research.

Perhaps the most impressive accomplishment of Brett's work is that it provides a promising road map for future research on the topic. In this regard, he is at a point that many students only reach after three years of graduate study."


YinPing Apple Lo
"Non-Profit Affordable Housing Developments in Oakland, CA: A Comparison of Asian and African American Experiences"
Political Economy of Industrial Societies
Professor Ingrid Seyer-Ochi

Apple Lo's senior thesis in Political Economy of Industrial Society entitled, "Non-Profit Affordable Housing Developments in Oakland, CA: A Comparison of Asian and African American Experiences" blends historical research with data and survey interviews to create a unique analysis of local housing conditions.

In her research essay she describes the link between research and critical thinking:

"By reading a broad range of secondary sources on housing and education, I learned to identify the critical arguments that were conveyed in each of the literatures. Because some authors critiqued other authors' research, I also learned how to evaluate the bias, strength, and weakness in different academic writing as well as my own primary research.

In order to contribute to the existing literatures on affordable housing in Oakland, I finalized my research questions after a long period of research."

Education Professor, Ingrid Seyer-Ochi, who has known Apple since she was a high school student, states:

"When she asked me to serve as her honors thesis advisor, I was honored and pleased. Though it is hard to believe, I know I can honestly say that Apple's research "mind" and the focus and diligence she combines with it make her as strong a researcher as many of my doctoral candidates."

Stefanie Shih
"Aliens in America: The Chinese Labor Conflict and Resilience, 1840-1902"
History 7B
Professor Leon Litwack
GSI David Johnson

Freshman Stefanie Shih conducted research for her history 7B paper "Aliens in America: The Chinese Labor Conflict and Resilience, 1840-1902." She describes her first experience with the immediacy of historical research.

"What I discovered over 3 months was that my control over research was very limited-history has its own way of steering the curious learner. As a result, my paper evolved from a simple examination of the Chinese labor conflict to an inquiry on why the American response to dealing with the "Chinese problem" failed.

The more I listened to the stories that unfolded on paper, the more apparent the wealth of hidden treasures within the Berkeley library system became. I went down a path of exploring the overlapping voices that I heard and the mediums in which they were expressed in the 19th century: journals, poems, novels, speeches, and letters."

A pictorial exhibit at the Bancroft inspired her to:

"look past summary accounts of organizations and legislation, and into more personal primary documents that added color to my argument. I developed a personal connection to the pictures and writings that I came across. There is nothing more poignant in learning about the past than being able to read and touch original pamphlets: the smell of the old printed paper just confirmed the fact that I couldn't get closer to the past."

GSI David Johnson adds in his letter of support:

"I have been thoroughly impressed by her inquisitiveness and resourcefulness, but most of all, by her willingness to go beyond the obvious and wrestle with the more abstract and challenging aspects of historical research. Ms. Shih has a keen sense of what questions to ask and how to develop arguments through sophisticated analysis. By exploring all aspects of the Chinese labor conflict on the West Coast, her paper elucidated the ways in which the Chinese experience was distinct from other immigrant groups. I believe that if she were to continue down this path, she could potentially bring a new voice to the study of the Chinese-American experience."