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History Student Presentations

Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of some of our graduating seniors by hearing them present their research projects!

Jessi Vos

Not Merely Selling Shoes: A Shifting Work Ethic in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Honors Thesis

Around the turn of the twentieth century, scholars have observed a shift in the United States from a Protestant work ethic to a therapeutic one. As goods became more available in the wake of the Industrial Revolution, people purchased products for pleasure instead of basic necessity. By analyzing advertisements and images from Grand Rapids's three main department stores -- Herpolsheimer's, Wurzburg's, and Steketee's -- one can see how and when the transformation occurred in the city. This shift also demonstrates broader changes in cultural institutions such as gender and religion.

Christina Ribbens

Navigating the Non-position: Women in Office in the Christian Reformed Church

Independent Study

Since the 1996 decision by Synod to allow churches to open up all offices to women, many have served in the offices of deacon, elder, and pastor. The denomination hopes to gather stories and resources to tell the stories of these women and the contexts in which they serve. Today, some twenty years after the decision, the role of women in the church is still not entirely settled. Some have called Synod’s decision a “non-position” as it remains up to each classis which positions are open or closed to women. This has lead to a wide variety of experiences and at times conflict. My research is focused on what has happened in the years since 1996, both the ways in which the denomination has changed as well as the different experiences women have had while serving as elders, deacons, and pastors. Much of the final product is the result of interviewing women throughout the denomination who have held these positions. While some stories have similarities, none are the same as the reality in every church, classis, and region of the denomination is unique. Through this research I hope to provide the denomination a record of some of the changes it has experienced in the last two decades as well as encouragement for those coming into office now.

Grace Bolt

Fact or Fiction: The American West and the Culture It Produces

Independent Study

The West has a certain appeal in the American imagination. One thinks of cowboys and Indians, angry prospectors, manifest destiny, or idyllic prairie homesteads. Many forms of media and culture have captured this image and molded it to their fancy. This presentation examines some famous products of Western culture (the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, and the Lakota Ghost Dance) and examines them for their authenticity. Are these people portraying an accurate picture of Western life, or are they telling tales?

Refreshments provided. All are welcome to attend. Co-sponsored by the Honors Program.

This event is part of our monthly history colloquia series. These lectures are open to the Calvin community - students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends - and all are welcomed and encouraged to attend. Come early to enjoy refreshments and conversation, and feel free to ask questions or join the discussion at the end.

May 2019
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