Senior Thesis

Shabbat Cotton by Bill Aron
Shabbat Cotton by Bill Aron
Shabbat Cotton by Bill Aron

Yesterday I handed in my senior thesis, a project I have been working on for over a year. Suffice it so say, turning it in feels like one of the biggest accomplishments of my life thus far. I would like to once again thank my thesis advisor, Dr. Molly B. Farneth for all her help and support during this process.

Though I have allowed the thesis to be available to scholars worldwide, I want to make it available to anyone else who might be interested. Feedback is welcome!

Creative Commons License
On the River, On the Road: Lower Mississippi Peddlers and their Judaism, 1820-1865 by Laura Newman Eckstein is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://lauraneckstein.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/EcksteinFinal.pdf.

 

 

New Plans

I am pleased to announce that this summer I am a John B. Hurford ’60 Humanities Center Summer Research Fellow.

A little bit more about the fellowship in general:

“These competitive grants are designed to support thesis-related or otherwise substantive research projects, enabling students to spend the summer visiting archives, learning a language necessary to scholarship, or dedicating their time to a focused program of reading.” Click here to learn more about the center and my fellowship.

 

I am excited to say the least. This is nerd, history-lover, religion major, anthropologist heaven. I am being PAID to research a topic of my choice to enhance my thesis*! Yes, it’s pretty great! I am very excited.

The not so exciting part were my housing issues and impediments. Originally, I had planned to stay at Haverford and work in the library on my research. But after housing shenanigans (I was 20th on the waitlist for an apartment, what!?) , I quickly (meaning, I stayed up all night researching possible options because I was so stressed) found a different option (drum roll). I will be living in Cincinnati in the Sisterhood Dorm at  Hebrew Union College. I will spend my days at the American Jewish Archives, literally across the parking lot from where I’m staying. Perfect, right?!

Why the American Jewish Archives (AJA)?

As you’ll read below, my thesis is VERY broadly about Jewish identity in the Southern United States.

“Today the AJA houses over ten million pages of documentation. It contains nearly 8,000 linear feet of archives, manuscripts, nearprint materials, photographs, audio and video tape, microfilm, and genealogical materials. The AJA exists to preserve the continuity of Jewish life and learning for future generations and aspires to serve scholars, educators, students, and researchers of all backgrounds and beliefs.” (See more here)

More specifically, the AJA has one of the finest collections of Southern Jewish archives in the world.

Now what exactly is my thesis about?  To answer the first question, I leave you with my proposal that I used to apply for the fellowship. (Also know that I was answering specific questions and had a limited word count, so if you’re confused that should be the reason).

So, those are my new plans. I am very excited and feel very fortunate to have this unique opportunity. I will spend May 31-Aug 1 in Cincinnati. In the meantime, I have 1 full week of classes left, finals, and then I leave for Israel on May 13 for my cousin’s wedding. I plan on posting regularly this summer. So its go, go, go. Life is exciting, I cannot complain.

*Every Haverford student is required to write a thesis as part of their graduation requirement. The thesis counts as a class and is usually structured as a year long seminar within your major. At Haverford, its a big deal and people take thesis writing seriously.