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2006 Honorable Mentions - Charlene Conrad Liebau Library Prize for Undergraduate Research

Content section: 
Dorothy Couchman Reading Jonson's Dramatic Punctuation
Toby Frankenstein France and Lebanon: Origins of the Lebanese Civil War
Christine Russell The Role of the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and Anti-immigrant Sentiment in the Inglewood Raid 

Dorothy Couchman
Reading Jonson's Dramatic Punctuation
Professor Hertha Sweet Wong

Dorothy Couchman’s senior honors thesis examines the use and significance of punctuation in the plays of English poet Ben Jonson (1573-1637). In addition to noting that “it is a little bit crackpot to spend a year writing about colons and semicolons,” Couchman observes about her research process that:

“Occasionally I’ve found information almost serendipitously. While researching private reading practices in the seventeenth century, I stumbled across Introduction to Early Modern English while browsing in Doe through shelves near The Cambridge History of the English Language. In the months since, I’ve found half a dozen conflicting accounts of private reading (that silent reading had died out in the fourth century, that people were still reading aloud in the seventeenth century, that the elite were reading silently by the fifteenth century but that less educated readers still read aloud in the nineteenth century)….”

She adds,

“The best thing about researching Ben Jonson’s punctuation is that it has afforded me opportunities to touch old, rare books…Jonson’s folios in the Bancroft have been held and touched by centuries of real people. Thinking of these deceased readers, the way they might have read, and the pleasure they must have derived from Jonson’s plays in order to preserve the Folios, has helped me complete this research project.”

Professor Wong comments that:

“Since punctuation was not yet standardized and was put to use in notoriously random fashions, Dorothy knows that she must be careful to avoid grand claims,[sic] She does, however, argue convincingly that while the various printers were inconsistent with punctuation, Jonson himself (at least in his plays) develops a consistent system of comma and semicolon usage—all in the service of cueing actors how his plays should be translated from the page to the stage. In this process, Dorothy has devoted herself to the study of rare books, consulting whenever possible seventeenth-century books in their first editions.”

Toby Frankenstein
France and Lebanon: Origins of the Lebanese Civil War
Political Economy of Industrialized Societies
Lecturer Alan Karras

Toby Frankenstein’s senior honors thesis examines the connection between the French model of nation-building in ethnically- and religiously-divided Lebanon (1920-1943) and the unraveling of the Lebanese republic into civil war (1975-1989). In reflecting on his research, Frankenstein notes that:

“As the scope of my thesis narrowed, the manner of my research dramatically expanded. I began relying heavily not only on books from the Berkeley library, but from the various campuses (via the interlibrary loan system), as well as a multitude of articles from the library's electronic sources database…I developed a number of techniques to help locate the most relevant and significant articles, including ways to combine various names, dates, and subjects to isolate studies on particular historical events…I became increasingly fascinated with French colonial archives that appeared to hold the answers to many of my questions…I applied for [and received] a grant to travel to France to conduct my own primary archival research.

One of the most important and serendipitous lessons I will remember from this project is that research is an ongoing quest for the most comprehensive truth. The fact that I first conducted extensive secondary research, followed by primary archival research, followed by additional secondary study reinforces that research is a never-ending quest that requires perennial curiosity.”

Lecturer Karras also observes that:
“Toby's writing is very clear and his library research is prodigious. There is no doubt that he is onto something important and that his argument provides ample evidence for those working in this area to build upon. Because it blends theory from secondary sources with the archival material, it makes an important contribution to regional history."

Christine Russell
The Role of the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and Anti-immigrant Sentiment in the Inglewood Raid
Lecturer Jennifer Burns
GSI Ariel Ron

Christine Russell’s paper examines the rhetoric and events surrounding the 1922 Ku Klux Klan raid of the family home of non-English speaking immigrants in Inglewood, California (Los Angeles County). Regarding her project, her first research paper relying solely on primary sources, Russell notes:

“Now, having read many accounts of the raid in newspapers and books, the importance of evaluating sources critically and using multiple sources to interpret history is clear. Information varied greatly in different accounts, and newspapers treated certain information as fact without acknowledging discrepancies.

Prior to my research paper, I had only used a library once at Berkeley. My experience with this project had made me realize what a valuable tool it is. Resources at the library helped me to unexpectedly stumble upon a topic that I became very interested in and passionate about…I realized that even when you think you know what you want to investigate, your research may lead you to something even more exciting.”

GSI Ron observes:

“…Christine pieced together the details of the [Inglewood Raid] episode by making an exhaustive search of the Los Angeles Times coverage of the event and its aftermath. She read over one hundred articles published from April through August, 1922, making excellent use of the ProQuest database presented in the research workshop the library conducted for our section…Christine also carefully reviewed what little secondary material existed. All together she has accomplished what few History 7B students can claim: she has brought to fresh attention a forgotten episode which reflects the thinking and priorities of the Ku Klux Klan in southern California in the 1920’s.”