The Department of History


The department is pleased to congratulate undergraduate Richard Ruoff, who was selected for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for 2015-16.

Richard is a student in the History and Near Eastern Studies departments. Coming off a year studying abroad at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, Richard hoped to continue his language and cultural studies in the Anatolian heartland, far away from the cosmopolitan metropolis of Istanbul. In applying to the Fulbright Program, he sought to work in a newly-established university in a provincial locale, where he will be able to absorb the language in less urbanized and more traditional parts of Turkish society.

While Richard looks forward to living and learning in a region where English is virtually unknown, he also intends to help his host community take a step toward changing the status quo. Having accepted a Fulbright English Teaching Assistanceship, he looks forward to providing his future students with prolonged exposure and access to a native English speaker, which Richard knows can be a rare sight outside of Turkey's main tourist cities. He hopes it will be a relationship of great mutual benefit

Richard's work in Turkey will prepare him to continue his education in a graduate program specializing in Ottoman studies, laying the foundation for a successful career in academia.

Read more about Richard's experiences in Turkey here, and more about the award here.




Three generations of Lindsay Little's family

Sometimes history is about the grand sweep of events, but at other times it can be very personal. Last fall, senior history major Lindsay Little was worried that a piece of history was in danger of being lost—the history of her own family. “On my mother’s side we have a huge family. My grandmother, Maria Cornelia Crisantos, was the eldest of twelve children. She came to the U.S. from Mexico, and for many years lived as a migrant farm worker in California. Now she was getting older, and we didn’t know all the names and stories, let alone all the details. So my mom, and my aunt and uncle, asked me to start writing down the stories and to get back in touch with that history.”

At the university, autumn quarter was underway, and Little was enrolled in a senior research seminar class as part of her degree requirements. Inspired by her grandmother’s story, Little began to explore seminar paper topics that would connect her own family’s experiences to larger historical questions of cultural identity and labor policy. The project gelled when she encountered a collection of California state records related to the Bracero guest-worker program of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. “My grandmother’s father was part of the Bracero program,” explained Little, “but it was also important to me how the Bracero project shaped later thinking on agricultural labor, immigration and Chicano identity. These are all things that have had a direct impact on my family.”


Though best known for aircraft and aerospace technology, Boeing has invested significant time and money in the construction and promotion of its corporate culture. Boeing’s leaders, in keeping with the standard of traditional American social norms, began to promote a workplace culture of a white, heterosexual family model in the 1930s in an attempt to provide a sense of stability for their labor force during a series of enormous political, social, and economic disruptions. For both managers and workers, the construction of a masculine culture solved problems that technological innovation and profit could not. For managers it offered a way to govern employees and check the power of unions. For male employees, it offered a sense of stability that higher wages and the uncertainties of the airline market could not. For scholar Polly Reed Myers, Boeing’s corporate culture offers a case study for understanding how labor and the workplace have evolved over the course of the twentieth century and into the present day amid the rise of neoliberal capitalism, globalization, and women’s rights.
Capitalist Family Values places the stories of Boeing’s women at the center of the company’s history, illuminating the policy shifts and economic changes, global events and modern controversies that have defined policy and workplace culture at Boeing. Using archival documents that include company newspapers, interviews, and historic court cases, Capitalist Family Values illustrates the changing concepts of corporate culture and the rhetoric of a “workplace family” in connection with economic, political, and social changes, providing insight into the operations of one of America’s most powerful and influential firms.