Welcome to the second issue of the Virginia Tech Undergraduate Historical Review. Since its creation in 2011, the Review continues to publish innovative scholarship from undergraduates at Virginia Tech. As a staff, our fundamental mission remains the same – to provide a creative outlet to students for developing their historical research skills outside the classroom. History, as a disciple, is about ongoing, scholarly conversations and interpretations of the past. As the Editorial Board, we take seriously our responsibility as facilitators of this interchange of ideas. The Review and its staff are excited about this opportunity for Virginia Tech undergraduates to showcase their research.
Although the primary aim of the Review is to publish exceptional undergraduate research, it also offers a supportive learning environment for students through its collaborative review process. The Review advances and promotes historical research at Virginia Tech by advising students through the publication process, developing editorial and project management skills, conducting developmental writing and research workshops, and corralling public interest through media outlets, such as our new blog. Along with these endeavors, we look forward to nourishing our partnership with the Virginia Tech History Department, Phi Alpha Theta, and students throughout the university.
Maintaining the traditions of its inaugural issue, the VTUHR continues to seek out original and well-developed research from talented and motivated undergraduate students. Our Board of Editors, consisting of six exceptional undergraduate history majors, vetted all Review submissions. Two undergraduate editors reviewed each paper, and the entire Editorial Board selected the articles for publication. Throughout these student reviews, we followed a traditional blind review process. Editors based their comments and critiques on various criteria, including clarity, structure, organization, grammar, sources, historiography, and originality.
The five articles selected for publication are representative of the Review’s high standards and expectations. The first article, by Grace Cardwell, is a historiography about the Solidarity Movement in Poland at the end of the Cold War. She argues that while historians generally accept Solidarity as a foundational social movement, scholars’ assertions regarding the movement’s sustained success have changed significantly over time. Ultimately, Cardwell highlights how writers shifted from a focus on economic issues to a more complex explanation based on the collaborative work of social groups, workers, professionals, and clergy who worked together to promote a robust social movement. In the second article, Carmen Bolt examines the role of women workers and volunteers in the United Service Organization (USO). Her research questions how women’s roles within the USO promoted women’s position in society during the war and after. Bolt utilizes a host of first hand accounts of women involved with the USO in order to analyze the historical significance of the organization and women’s involvement within it.
For the third article, Emily Bolton investigates the motivations of groups supporting the Resistencia Nacional Mocambicana (RENAMO) during the Mozambican civil war. Bolton traces the origins of the movement following decolonization, and the political and religious motives that led others to support RENAMO. By combining State Department records, newspaper accounts, as well as synthesizing the secondary scholarship, Bolton develops a powerful narrative of post-colonial Mozambique’s political struggles. On the other side of the Atlantic, Luke Burton explores the intrinsic and intertwined relationship between the Vietnam War and President Richard Nixon’s administrative policies from his inauguration in January 1969, to his resignation in early August 1974. Burton analyzes Nixon’s public and private images to reveal the impetus behind the President’s foreign policy in Vietnam. Lastly, Kelly Drews dissects the complex history of quarantine as a medical technology. Studying examples of this blunt technology from early biblical times through the cholera outbreaks in the United States, Drews draws attention to the increased use of quarantine in the Western world following the Black Death. Following its initial success against the plague, Drews shows how quarantine became a standard procedure in bringing an end to other plagues and pandemics.
As we present this issue of the Virginia Tech Undergraduate Historical Review, we look forward to supporting and motivating the work of promising young historians. In the coming years, we plan to continue publishing the Review annually, and we anticipate reaching out to authors on a regional and national level. Presently, we thank you for your continued support and hope you enjoy this second issue of the Virginia Tech Undergraduate Historical Review.
HEATHER LENNON AND ERICA AIKEN
MARCH 9, 2013