Thursday, March 13, 2014

History Student Presents Research at the National Collegiate Honors Council in New Orleans

Allison Huber, a BU senior double-majoring in History and Secondary Education/Citizenship, presented a research paper at the National Collegiate Honors Council annual conference in New Orleans this past November on the topic of "The Nobles in the French Revolution."  Her presentation summarized findings from her year-long BU Honors Independent Study project, mentored by History professor Michael Hickey.

Allison Huber presenting at the National Collegiate Honors Council,
courtesy of Michael Hickey
Huber presented her work on a panel at the National Collegiate Honors Council annual conference, which gathered on November 6-10 in New Orleans.  The event brought together hundreds of Honors Students from across the country, including seven BU students.  Huber was the group's only COLA representative and the only BU student to present a formal paper rather than participate in a poster session.  Her paper was selected by a NCHC research committee in a competitive process and was included in a panel on Student Interdisciplinary Research. 

Huber studied how aristocrats described and understood their own experiences during the French Revolution in their diaries, journals, letters, and memoirs, and used that information to make generalizations about how nobles viewed and reacted to revolutionary transformations of society. 

She found that many nobles in France initially supported the Revolution. In general, though, noble fear of the revolutionary government started soon after the abolition of privileges in 1789 and then multiplied as the moderate revolutionary government of 1789-92 instituted increasingly anti-aristocratic policies. Noble fear and hatred of the revolution peaked with the Jacobin Reign of Terror in 1793-94. Huber concluded that tracing the evolution of aristocratic attitudes in 1789-1794 helps us understand the nobility's actions during the Third, or Thermidorian, Phase of the Revolution in 1795-1799. 

The fifteen minute presentation focused on the sources Huber used and her research methods, her main conclusions, and possible areas for further research.  Her presentation was followed by questions from the panel discussant and the audience.  "It was an incredible experience and I was proud to represent the university and the Honors Program,” said Huber.

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