In its first year, the Golz fellowship has awarded two students with funding to pursue opportunities related to the field. Alfred E. Golz fellowships support research opportunities and internships for History majors and minors during the summer months. These fellowships have been made possible by a generous gift from Ronald Golz ’56 in memory of his father.
The Private Politics of India’s Partition: Exploring Female Agency in the Face of Violence
I spent this summer researching varying instances of-and responses to- female agency during the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan, a time when hundreds of thousands of women and girls were raped, mutilated, amputated and abducted. Though it would be an injustice to draw attention away from the horrifying sexual violence these women endured, I found in the course of my research that women played a role beyond that of passive victims. Certain instances, such as the self-inflicted mass drowning of Sikh women during ethnic clashes in Rawalpindi (Punjab), raise significant questions about agency and how we define violence when there is a lesser-than-two-evil’s choice available. And if these women were, and still are, applauded as “heroic” martyrs of their religion, why were later instances of women illustrating agency- by refusing forced state sponsored relocations of abducted women in the post partition years- censored by society and the state? By analyzing a number of sources, ranging from oral testimonies collected by the 1947 Partition Archive Project, to textual interviews and memoirs of survivors and social workers, I believe I have discovered a kind of “continuum of violence,” to which women are subjected to (both in everyday life and in moments of communal strife) and which is a result of the link between ideas of honor and the female body. I have presented my ideas in the form of an interactive website, displaying corresponding film and photo work to bring this rich history to life.
2014 Golz Fellow Matthew Liptrot
Internship at the Pejepscot Historical Society
I spent this summer interning at the Pejepscot Historical Society (PHS) in Brunswick. My primary responsibility was to analyze and codify the enormous unexamined supply of documents stored in the Skolfield-Whittier house. This took the form of two separate avenues of work. On the one hand I read through the documents to determine a line of research of personal interest to myself. After exploring and discarding several potential topics I settled on the Venereal Disease epidemic of early 20th century America and the Social Hygiene movement dedicated to eradicating the diseases. By some estimates as much as 10% of America suffered from syphilis, gonorrhea, or both during this period. My work seems to have been the first time many of these documents have been looked at for research purposes. The other aspect of my work was creating document inventories and finding aids to allow other people to ascertain what documents the house holds without having to root about through hundred and in some cases hundred and fifty year old papers. Before I began this work there had been no other way to look for research material in the house than to start looking at random and hope you struck historical gold. This summer I have sampled the potential usefulness of PHS’ historical archives as well as bringing them an important step closer to being more widely accessible.