Research Projects

Student Scholarship Recognition Day (SSRD) is held each spring to celebrate the exemplary scholarship and creativity of Willamette University students. Students work directly with faculty members or design and conduct their own research throughout the year.

Featured Projects

Here are a few projects that exemplify the wonderful research students from the History department have done over the years.

Abstract: In 1880, there were 89 people recorded as Chinese in Salem. However, by 1940 the number dropped to 23. This leads one to wonder about the lifestyle and treatment of Chinese people in the Salem area. The presentation focuses on the effects of the Chinese Exclusion Act on the Salem area and how the federal act impacted Chinese immigration, employment, housing, and lifestyle. It is based on many original sources from the archives, such as census, property/rental, employment, and income records, city directories, and newspaper articles dating between 1880 to 1920. From these sources, the presentation aims to examine whether the displacement of Chinese businesses and people from Liberty and Commercial Streets (thus resulting in the disappearance of Salem's Chinatown) was due to the Chinese Exclusion Act or from anti-Chinese sentiment. It will also reflect upon ways in which the Chinese community or individuals resisted the Exclusion Act and the racial discrimination in Salem.

Ivy Major-McDowall (2016)

Abstract: This presentation analyzes the effects of transnational migration and social remittances on American Samoa and Samoa. Through ethnographic research, literary resources, and interviews with multiple individuals in both locations, I discuss the relationship Samoan culture has in regards to the influences from migrants as well as the differences that the two groups of Samoans have in terms of their relationship to transnationalism and its effects.

Jared Tupuola (2016)

Abstract: This research looks critically at the works of Immanuel Kant and the ideology of Nazism, looking at potential ways that Kant's philosophy might have been used, correctly or not, by the toxic regime. It analyzes politics, religion, antisemitism, and moral philosophy of both sets of principles.

Soren Underdahl (2015)

Additional Research Projects

These are all the projects the History department has presented at SSRD in the last few years.


  • Hades: Where Has Time Taken Him? - Heidi Thompson (Independent Research)
  • Dragons and Evil: An Examination of the Dragons in Beowulf and Volsung Saga - MacKinnon Hart (Independent Research)
  • Shakespeare's Outsiders - Olivia Barry (Independent Research)


  • Sending Back to the Samoas: A Comparative Study of American Samoa and Samoa's Relationship with Transnationalism - Jared Tupuola (Colloquium Grant)
  • Chinese Doctors in Oregon - Gabriel Cook (Independent Research)
  • Dining in Valhalla: an Analysis of Norwegian Immigrants' Ethnic Identity in Oregon, 1880-1945 - Kelci Jacoby (Independent Research)
  • Hearing Chinese Voices of Salem Under the 1882 Exclusion Act - Ivy Major-McDowall (Independent Research)
  • Creating the Queer: Searching for Sexuality in the Early Oregon State Hospital - Jesse Sanchez (Independent Research)
  • The Campaign of Julius Meier - Vincent Tachiyama (Independent Research)
  • Shell Shock: A Historical Look at PTSD In Oregonian World War I Veterans - Nick Wagener (Independent Research)


  • American Evil: The Legacy of the 2002 State of the Union address - Adam Lewis (Independent Research)
  • The Changing Nature of American Zionism - Cathryn Priebe (Independent Research)
  • Church, State, and Culture: American Civil Religion and Separation of Church and State in the Early 19th Century - Benjamin Fischberg (Independent Research)
  • The Categorical Evil: Kant's Legacy in the Nazi Regime - Soren Underdahl (Carson Grant)
  • Wolf-watching - Elize Manoukian (Independent Research)
  • Control of the Other: How and Why the French Perceived and Portrayed Cannibals in the 16th and 17th Centuries - Natalie Pate (Independent Research)
Willamette University

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