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2008 Prize Winners - Charlene Conrad Liebau Library Prize for Undergraduate Research

Content section: 
My Chau The Power of Patterns: Double Ikat   for Textile Exhange in India and Indonesia
Linda Nyberg The Collapse of Time: Decennial Anniversaries and the Experience of Time in the German Democratic Republic
Keith Orejel Bodies, Burials, and Black Cultural Politics: African American Funerals in the Civil Rights Movement
Carine de la Girond’arc and Alina Xu The Comics of R. Crumb: A Mirror of the Artist’s Times and Obsessions

My Chau
The Power of Patterns: Double Ikat  for Textile Exhange in India and Indonesia
History of Art
Joanna Williams, Professor, History of Art

In her honors thesis entitled "The Power of Patterns: Double Ikat   for Textile Exchange in India and Indonesia", My Chau argues that patola textile has an international appeal across India and Indonesia. She highlights two distinctive textiles: Patola in Gujarat, India and geringsing in Bali, Indonesia from the perspective of "religious, economic and social systems." Her thesis further explores the preservation and the sacred and elite status of patola in various kinds of powder, temple, and palace paintings in Kerala, India.

My Chau’s research was conducted through a visual analysis of a geringsing textile in the Musee de Quai Branly in Paris during her study abroad program in fall 2006 and the Gujarati patola textile in the Phoebe Hearst Museum as well as 48 illustrations cited in her thesis. To enrich her primary sources research, she followed up with scholars for more research inquiries in addition to checking out BerkeleyB library resources and requesting interlibrary loan items.

Her thesis advisor in the History of Art Department comments that My Chau’s honors thesis "showed originality, intellectual imagination, and good judgment to produce a plausible new historical and cultural picture. Were she enabled to conduct fieldwork in Gujarat, Kerala, and Bali, this paper could readily be published."

Linda Marie Nyberg
The Collapse of Time: Decennial Anniversaries and the Experience of Time in the German Democratic Republic
Chad Denton, GSI

Linda Nyberg’s project, her senior thesis for her History 101 class, discusses the collective experience of time and its control and codification by the German Democratic Republic. She chose decennial celebrations of the birth of the GDR to represent how time was manipulated by the government, in response to the realities of everyday life in the GDR.

After surveying Berkeley’s primary and secondary literature on her topic, Linda continued her research at the Hoover Archives. Then, funded by a history department travel grant, Linda visited Berlin and spent weeks examining "...official anniversary publications, pamphlets, Free German Youth brochures, news clips, memoirs, [and] newspaper articles...."   After returning, she discovered a key resource in the Doe stacks, that allowed her to synthesize her ideas. She says, "I had been to Stanford and to Berlin and back, yet there it was, gathering dust on a Doe library shelf."

Linda’s advisor also credits the Doe Library source, as the one resource "...that gave her a way to combine the disparate media sources that she had collected."  He states that "Linda has an original, provocative argument and convincingly places the study within the secondary literature on everyday life in the GDR, anti-fascist ideology, and the social history of time."

Keith Orejel
Bodies, Burials, and Black Cultural Politics: African American Funerals in the Civil Rights Movement
Mark Brilliant, Assistant Professor, History
Charles Postel, Visiting Professor, History

Keith Orejel’s History 101 project grew out of his interest in death, violence, and social movements. Keith spent six weeks doing primary source research at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. After realizing the quantity of material to be found at the Library of Congress, Keith narrowed his project to four major funerals of the Civil Rights Movement:  those of Emmett Till; Medgar Evers; the four girls killed in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, Birmingham, Alabama, Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley; and Martin Luther King, Jr.

In Washington, Keith explored primary sources of major Civil Rights organizations, finding pamphlets, flyers, and correspondence related to his topic; he also used the Kennedy and Johnson presidential files. At BerkeleyB, Keith used the Library’s electronic bibliographic resources to find secondary sources, and made extensive use of the Library’s collection of African American newspapers. He says that the research process "...taught me many new skills and techniques for working with archives. I not only learned how to navigate a complex institution like the LOC, but how to find a wide panoply of primary sources that could be sculpted into a coherent final product."

One of Keith’s faculty advisors says, "A remarkable feature of the paper is the sophistication with which it looks at the internal dynamics of these funerals."  His other mentor says "Richly primary source based, Keith’s thesis is also sophisticatedly secondary source informed…..he advances a nuanced and imaginative argument about the ironic trajectory of what he refers to as the 'black cultural politics of death.' "

Carine de la Girond’arc and
Alina Xu

The Comics of R. Crumb: A Mirror of the Artist’s Times and Obsessions
Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies
James Casey, Mechanical Engineering
Peter Hanff, Bancroft Library
David Farrell, Bancroft Library

The original idea for Carine de la Girond’arc and Alina Xu ‘s Archival Research class paper was to provide a comparative analysis of several cartoon artists. When they discovered that the Bancroft, and Doe and Moffitt libraries, hold a significant collection of R. Crumb’s comics, the current project developed. In it, Alina and Carine decided to focus on the forces driving Crumb’s work and to put it into a personal and political context. They used several different sources, including visual media, newspapers and magazines, and interviews with friends and contemporaries of R. Crumb. In the process, they say, "We also discovered the value of creativity in conducting original research and immense satisfaction to be had in going out and discovering new sources of information. We learned something from every source we investigated, even those explored on a whim...".

Their faculty advisors say, "For us, the most compelling aspect of the paper is its lively evocation of a highly creative artist who reflects his time and place (including Berkeley and the counterculture) with startling originality....And, like Crumb himself, the authors handle a variety of materials and themes that are unusual and controversial with independence and confidence."