Making an Impact

Cooney Family Graduate Fellowship in History

Sreya Mukherjee

Sreya Mukherjee

I am a third-year PhD student in the Department of History, Washington State University. I was a recipient of the Cooney Family Graduate Fellowship in History for the 2022 Summer Session, which made possible my summer research trip to India. Particularly, this fellowship funded my work in the National Archives in New Delhi and the West Bengal State Archives in Kolkata, India. My research focuses on the questions associated with liquor in colonial India during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It investigates colonial policies and acts to monitor the production and sale of liquor in the colony. It also maps and analyzes native responses to the different dimensions of British control in the Indian subcontinent. Because most of the primary sources crucial to my project are available only in the physical archives of India, I could not have completed my research without the Cooney Family Graduate Fellowship; it permitted me to travel to and within India for a month, retrieving the sources that I continue to use in my dissertation.

My archival work was richly rewarding but also challenging. In the state archive, primary sources pertaining to liquor were spread out in the financial department, board of revenue, judicial department, public works department, and the letters to the court of directors within territorial department under revenue. At the National Archive, most of the sources I found relevant were in the finance and commerce department and the industry department. While in India, I was also able to utilize libraries in the city of Kolkata. There I found contemporary government publications and books in Bengali and English that helped me construct a larger context for late 19th-century Bengal society. These sources will assist me in weaving a coherent picture of 19th-century Bengal social dynamics around the consumption of liquor.

I want to convey my deepest gratitude to the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of History, and the founders of the Cooney Family Fellowship. With their support, I was able to accomplish critical research that otherwise would have been difficult (some of it impossible). I hope that my project will make important contributions to understanding and responding to the multiple effects of alcohol consumption and colonialism that continue to shape our global society today.

Edward M. & Margery H. Bennett History Fellowship

James Schroeder

James Schroeder

I am a fourth-year PhD candidate specializing in 20th-century U.S. foreign relations and military history. My dissertation research examines the United States government’s recruitment of German and Eastern European refugees and veterans for military research, intelligence, and psychological warfare programs during the early Cold War. I excavate and map endeavors such as Project Paperclip, established in 1945, which employed Axis scientists and technicians in American military research programs (even as the U.S. Army Historical Division recruited high-ranking German prisoners of war to analyze the Wehrmacht’s successes and failures against the Soviet Union). The CIA and U.S. Army Intelligence pursued additional programs during the late 1940s and early 1950s that recruited German and Eastern European nationals to establish and operate intelligence networks targeting the Soviet Union and its allies. In 1950, American politicians like Senator Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. expanded these covert programs by providing Eastern European men with the opportunity to receive American citizenship in exchange for service in the U.S. military. The Truman Administration also strategically employed Eastern European refugees in overt programs and, in 1952, established the United States Escapee Program (USEP) to facilitate refugee resettlement to “Western” nations in the hopes of reinforcing narratives of capitalistic prosperity while undermining the prestige and political legitimacy of Soviet Bloc governments. This project reveals the central role German and Eastern European refugees played staffing and operating U.S. military research and intelligence programs and the influence they exerted on U.S. refugee and military policies in Europe during the early Cold War.

Research for my project was made possible by support from an Edward M. & Margery H. Bennett History Fellowship. During the summer of 2022, thanks to the Bennett History Fellowship, I spent several weeks conducting archival research at the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) in Boston, the National Archives at College Park, Maryland, and the Harry Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri. Many of the documents I needed to access exist only in paper format within these archives. I was able to collect copies of roughly 35,000 documents during my travels. While at the MHS, I analyzed the personal papers of Senator Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. to better understand his support for the Lodge Act and his attitude towards American immigration law. At the National Archives I accessed a wide range of government documents related to U.S. intelligence and refugee recruitment operations in occupied Germany, expanding my knowledge of the Army Intelligence operations that employed displaced Germans and Eastern Europeans and the implementation and breadth of the Lodge Act and the USEP. The documents stored at the Truman Library offered critical insight into the Truman Administration’s decision to establish the USEP and helped reveal the broader evolution of U.S. psychological warfare and refuge recruitment strategies during the early Cold War.

Discovering and compiling sources connected to US Cold War intelligence operations can be a difficult and time-consuming process, made even more so when the documents must be accessed in physical archives. While traveling for research can be one of the most rewarding experiences in graduate school it is also one of the most expensive. The Bennett History Fellowship provided me with essential support that allowed me to travel across the country to access paper documents vital to my dissertation research. This was one of the most intense but enjoyable opportunities I have experienced in graduate school. I am very grateful to have received this opportunity and deeply humbled by support from the Bennett History Fellowship, the WSU College of Arts and Sciences, the WSU History Department, and the many donors who have made my work possible.

UK Fulbright Research Fellowship

Jeffrey Sanders

By Jeffrey Sanders, professor

During spring of 2022, I was awarded a UK Fulbright Research fellowship to work in coordination with faculty at the University of Cardiff in Wales. The Armitage/Ashby fund made it possible for me to make several crucial research trips during my time there.

My research project in part focusses on strontium 90 fallout in Wales during the era of atmospheric weapons testing. With its misty mountains and prodigious rainfall, Wales was one of the global hot spots where drifting fallout ultimately rained down on local landscapes, people, and animals. I explore the consequences of fallout—both biological and political—for Welsh farmers who ultimately contested UK government policies regarding continued testing of nuclear weapons, part of a broader and gathering international movement by the early 1960s.

The Ashby/Armitage fund allowed for crucial trips to the Welsh National Library in Aberyswyth on the west coast of Wales and to the Powys regional archive in Llondrindad Wells, both well off the beaten track. The Welsh National Library holds records of the farmer’s union, the papers of important Welsh members of parliament who represented concerned farmers and shepherds, the papers of rural preservation groups, and the full run of local newspapers that I would never have accessed without this visit and the fund’s generous support. These trips to harder-to-access archives in the UK were invaluable for developing my larger project titled Strontium 90: An Unnatural History

Sherman and Mabel Smith Pettyjohn Memorial Fund

Lawrence Hatter

By Lawrence Hatter, professor

While you might think that the bright lights and excitement of Indian casinos seems like a break with the past, you’d be wrong. Laurie Arnold dispelled this misconception during her well-attended talk on March 30. An enrolled member of the Sinixt Band of the Colville Confederated Tribes and a professor of history at Gonzaga University, Arnold’s talk “More Than Casinos: Concepts of Wealth and Tradition in Indian Gaming” marked a triumphant return of the Sherman and Mabel Smith Pettyjohn Memorial Lecture in the History Department.

Prof. Arnold explains how contemporary Indian gaming practices reinforce community and tribal sovereignty in an industry involving around 200 tribes in 29 states, and which is worth $30 Billion annually. The Indian gambling industry began with high stakes bingo in the 1970s. By 1984, at least 80 tribes offered bingo with stakes of $500 to $1,000. Some states, however, contested the legality of Indian gambling. The U.S. Supreme Court decided in favor of Indian gambling in California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians in 1987.

Laurie Arnold

Casinos might be new sites of Indian gambling, but the practice of gaming dates to time immemorial. Prof. Arnold explained how gaming is integral to spirituality and community belief systems and provides a means for redistributing wealth and demonstrating shared community responsibilities. Luck is not a random act in Indian gaming but it reflects the character of the winner as chosen by the spirit powers. Doing good deeds for the community is connected to an individual’s luck, as a spirit power will choose a winner who is a good community member.

In the present, Prof. Arnold explained how casinos serve as important sites of tribal community. They are meeting places where Indigenous identity is accepted by all, and the presence of Indians was guaranteed. Charity giving from casino revenue plays an important role in tribal communities. Casinos, however, also point to a tension within broader American culture in which the critics of Indian gambling are unable to reconcile Indigeneity with Indian aims for economic development and prosperity. For Native people, Arnold, explained, this means full employment and providing tribal members with access to education.

Casinos, then, represent the past and present of Indian gaming and the future of Indigenous economic development in the 21st century.