History

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The Campaign for the Youth Vote and the 26th Amendment to the US Constitution


Supervisor

A/P Jennifer Frost

Discipline

History

Project code: ART020

This research project is an examination of the campaign for the youth vote and the 26th Amendment to the US Constitution, ratified in 1971.  The 26th Amendment mandated that states could not deny the right to vote to American citizens aged 18 and over, enfranchising for the first time Americans between 18 and 21 years of age.  This extension of the franchise to young people grew out of the demands of the social movements of the 1960s.  Participants in these movements demanded inclusion into the American polity to exercise their political participation on an equal basis with older citizens.  Together with legal advocates and mainstream politicians, they pursued their goal in a contested but eventually successful campaign.  How and why this campaign emerged, proceeded, and succeeded are the overarching research questions for this project.  Understanding who participated in the campaign, their arguments and strategies, their conflicts and coalitions, and developments on the local, state, and national levels will explain a major advance toward democracy and equality in U.S. politics.  It also will help to contextualise the important ‘youth vote’ today.

Scholar’s Work

The Summer Scholar will carry out two distinct research tasks: the first involves summarizing, annotating, and indexing US government documents and publications related to the youth vote from 1945-1975 gathered on my recent archival research trip to the United States; and the second involves planning and organizing oral history interviews for this project.  As this is recent history, many of the participants are still living and available for interviewing. The Scholar will help with compiling a list of possible interviewees, locating and contacting them, developing questions, and assembling the University’s Ethics approval application.  If time permits, and Ethics approval is forthcoming, the Summer Scholar would engage in interviewing.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites

This project would best suit a Scholar who has studied history, is familiar with basic historical research, methods, and analysis, has solid writing skills, and has demonstrated the characteristics of initiative, goal-setting, and time management in their own tertiary studies.  The Scholar is not expected to have familiarity with conducting oral interviews.

Applicants should address these required skills in their application and indicate if they have been in touch with the proposed supervisor.

‘Britain’s Farms’: consumption and the construction of imperial identities, 1926-1939


Supervisor

Felicity Barnes

Discipline

History

Project code: ART021

During the interwar period, the white dominions of empire began large-scale advertising campaigns to sell their commodities to British consumers.  Commandeering bus sides, cinema screens, newspapers and even railway indicators to push ‘Canadian apples’ or ‘New Zealand butter’, the campaigns are among the first to draw on imagined ‘national’ characteristics to sell to consumers. Yet, despite interest in the cultural impact of consumption on empire, with products like tea or sugar, these twentieth century. campaigns have not been researched.

This project will support further work on a book-length study of the campaigns.  It will focus on press campaigns by New Zealand and Canada, complementing my earlier research on trade films, imperial marketing, and marketing boards. A previous summer scholar, Candida Keithley, produced an extensive database of Australian campaigns for this period. Though most of this work was for use in the proposed book, some was been used in a journal article currently under review with the Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History.

Scholar’s Work

1. Research: The scholar will be working with an extensive digitised newspaper database, British Newspapers Online (BNO – the former British library newspaper collection). They will searching for evidence of  New Zealand and Canadian commodity advertising campaigns produced in the UK, between 1926 and 1939. BNO carries around 760 titles, so the coverage is very broad. The aim of their research will be to build up a database of images and copy, as well as a sense of the frequency and intensity of these campaigns. They will also be asked to pay attention to the placement of these advertisements,  so we can verify the assumption that women in particular were the focus of advertising promoting empire and imperial sentiment.

If the candidate has time, we will also consider extending the research into the immediate post war period. Here the focus will be on NZ commodity campaigns in British magazines (also covered by BNO). Initial research has already uncovered some material here, which suggests that exporters hoped the post war period would offer them continuity with the markets of the past. This may substantiate work which suggests that empire had a longer post-war life than often claimed. 

2. Analysis: Along with gathering data, the student will expected to focus on one aspect for a short (3,000 word) research essay, or a piece suitable for submission to student-oriented journal.  This will both enhance their interpretive skills and provide them with a potentially useful piece of their own work.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites

This project requires some experience of primary research, as well as an ability to interpret that research, so would be best suited to a third year or Honours graduate in History. They also require

  • Strong computer searching skills.
  • Good organisational skills
  • Familiarity with newspaper databases is helpful but not essential.

Applicants should address these required skills in their application and indicate if they have been in touch with the proposed supervisor.