HISA Research Symposium

I went to the fourth session of the Symposium at  11 am and three people who presented there, overall did a good job in their 485 presentation. The topics that each person discussed were quite interesting and compelling. Each person made a clear thesis and their presentations on the specific topic were organized well towards the important themes and trends they discussed. The visual aids on their presentation were simple and concise. All three when presenting didn’t move around much as they mostly stayed at the podium, but overall did a good job and gave good eye contact with the audience. One of them did pause near the end of their presentation at one point, but only for a little as he did soon gave a few more points on his topic and made a good clear conclusion to his topic. The 485 presentation that I liked the most was the one on Thomas Edward Lawrence from how he was perceived by Media as a hero of myth in the Middle East during WWI compared to how he was seen through a more historical lens. I also liked that it included Gertrude Bell in how she was  important towards being responsible for the creation of the present day Middle Eastern countries after WWI and her relations to T.E. Lawrence. In seeing all three of the 485 presentation, they were interesting and I overall enjoyed them. These 485 presentations are helpful to me as being good examples for when making one in the future. What I think makes a effective and good 485 presentation is keeping the presentation simple, having good visual aids, making a clear thesis and conclusion, having good organization,  having good eye contact with the audience, avoiding “ums” or “uhs,” and speaking clearly without pauses.

Timeline JS practice

This is a practice timeline that I made using Timeline JS. This timeline was made for my Literature Review project on the topic of Chiang Kai-shek and the New Life Movement. In this timeline, I included the dates of Chiang Kai-shek’s birth and death as well as included the Nanking (or Nanjing) Decade. This specific time “decade” in Nationalist China was when the New Life Movement was created.

This embedded timeline shown below is not finished and a work in progress. I still need to better understand and know how to use Timeline JS.

My Progress on my Literature Review

My progress so far on my Literature Review is for starters, my bibliography for my topic on Chiang Kai-shek and the New Life Movement, currently has ten scholarly sources with four book sources (which focuses on Chiang Kai-shek) and six articles (which focuses on the New Life Movement). In finding more scholarly sources on either Chiang Kai-shek and the New Life Movement might be difficult in terms of finding more recent ones. To make it easier for me I should continue to look at the footnotes and bibliography of my sources that I have so far. Also when finding more, I will continue to use the subject headings    to benefit me in looking for more scholarly sources more easily. The sources that I have to be more useful and helpful to me in looking at their bibliographies, are the two biographies on Chiang Kai-shek. One is, The Generalissimo, Chiang Kai-shek and the Struggle for Modern China by Jay Taylor and the other is, Chiang Kai-shek, China’s Generalissimo and the Nation He Lost by Jonathon Fenby. Since in my 4 minute oral presentation, I discussed that will be using Jay Tayor’s biography on Chiang Kai-shek which will both help me in finding new sources and help me build my thesis and outline.

In building my thesis and outline for my Literature Review, I will use the questions of which I had stated in my oral presentation. Two of them being, how did scholars interpret Chiang Kai-shek’s leadership and personality as well as how did historians interpret the New Life Movement? With the sources I have so far, I do not have a clear reading strategy for approaching the number of texts, but I think I should first look in each to find the authors’ arguments and find key points throughout either the book or article they argue on Chiang Kai-shek and the New Life Movement. Then for building my outline as well as my thesis, I might organize it into two parts with the first part on Chiang Kai-shek and the second on the New Life Movement. In writing the Literature Review effectively I should make my argument clear and concise. The same will go for writing up my introduction and conclusion.

Preparing for an Oral Presentation

In doing the 4 minute oral presentation, I believe I do fairly remember doing something similar to this before such as in high school and for a summer class at the community college I went to. For this 4 minute oral presentation, I might feel anxiety or worried in doing it, but I shouldn’t since I can learn and in turn know how to do it correctly as well as prepare for it. In preparing for the 4 minute presentation,

  • I should practice and rehearse multiple times beforehand in presenting the presentation.
  • Record myself doing the presentation.
  • Keep track of time (This is for avoiding taking too long since you can’t everything).
  • Go to the Speaking Center for help in giving feed back and if I have anxiety.
  • Use the aids of notecards (make good ones to familiarize myself with the specific topic I am presenting).
  • Use body language (but in a way so that it is not distracting to the audience).

When in front of an audience on the day of the presentation I would need to,

  • Avoid rambling, mumbling or looking down and reading (maintain a good eye contact with the audience. Look up to the audience from time to time).
  • Avoid using “um,” “like,” or “uh”
  • Avoid doing vocal crunches or pauses as well as avoid vocal variations.
  • When making the conclusion at the end of the presentation, I should make a good clear conclusion, but avoid saying “I guess that’s it.”
  • Don’t talk too fast (slow down and take breaths).
  • Avoid trying to say the words correctly if mistakenly said incorrectly (I should continue on with the presentation without calling attention to it).
  • Keep the presentation simple (less is more, don’t make it too long).

If I prepare and follow these points, then I will be able to do my presentation correctly and do fine on it.

Academic Databases for finding scholarly sources

The academic databases that I find most helpful for my research are those that contain sources like books, articles, and academic journals that are more recent and easier to use in searching for a research topic like in history. I was originally using JSTOR in searching for my topic, but this databases was difficult to use because it took a very long time to find good scholarly sources and it didn’t have much in terms of a recent sources like books, articles or academic journals (where some I found were outdated). Although, I know now that JSTOR is not a good database for researching historical or historiographical topics as well as for finding recent sources. In using other academic databases, there are some pros and cons that I can find when using them.

One of the strengths of academic databases are using subject headings as well as bibliographies in works for finding sources that are related to the topic your researching. This is a useful strategy in looking for things like books and articles. One weakness I do find in using an academic database is when searching for very specific topics than when trying to search for broader topics. In relation to that, I do find it challenging in using the search engine of the specific databases because it can be bit difficult to finding a good, specific topic since it might not always have sources that are exact or related. The databases on the other hand, are helpful in looking up broader topics with using keywords and subject headings in relation to your topic. The academic databases that I might explore more further or start looking into are Quest, Historical Abstract, and American History and Life.

Cohen concluding points on the Boxer Uprising

In Cohen’s final points on the Boxer Uprising from the last chapters and conclusion, the historical questions that he answers on the Boxer Uprising described as a myth are different from the kind of historical questions he answers for the Boxer Uprising as a event and experience in that he asks the question of “How do scholars interpret the myth on the Boxers and what does it reflect in terms of the political, emotional, rhetorical, and ideological needs at that present time? Also, how it did scholars understand the myth in the effectiveness of it in serving its purpose for the present? An example of this is where Cohen discussed in Chapter 9, that the Chinese Communist Party mythologizes the Red Lanterns as to make them a symbol of rebelling against the Confucian ethical code on women and the red lantern from the opera, Hongdeng Ji was given the symbol of rebelling against the old world, imperialism, revisionism, and “to carry the revolution to the finish” (Cohen 265).The questions that Cohen answers about the Boxers as a event are, how did historians interpret the event that was the Boxer Uprising was, how did historians interpret this event and what understanding did they get when constructing a narrative of that event? The questions Cohen answers on the experience of the Boxer Uprising are, “how did people who witnessed it perceive the Boxers during the event, how did the experiencer interpret the uprising, and what were their perspective and understanding of the Boxer Rebellion? These final chapters in Cohen’s work tells us that history itself can be constructed either as a narrative on a specific event in history with providing accurate and historical evidence on that event as well as including witnesses who were present during the event and experienced it or as a mythologizer job, to created a myth to reflect and serve the needs (ideological, emotional, and political) of the people in the present while the event and experience in history looks toward the past.

Outline of Cohen’s main points on Myth

Outline on Cohen explaining the Boxer Uprising as a Myth

Main points from the Prologue and Chapter 8:


  • A myth in history or the mythologized past like in terms of the Boxer Uprising, is not at all historically accurate to what really did happen in that specific event or any other events in history.
  • Cohen argues that while a historian’s objective is construct an accurate and more truthful understanding of the past, the person who makes the myth or mythologizer does start with having an understanding of the past and construct the past as to serve the current emotional, political, ideological, and rhetorical needs of the present. In doing that, if it can “be effective in persuading or mobilizing people in the present” (Cohen 214), then the myth created does have some concept of “truth” to it.
  • Mythologization is autobiographical as it engages everyone in editing their current lives to fit or “congruent with the changes in self-conception” (Cohen 216).
  • When the Communists in China came to power in 1949, Stories about the Boxers were published for children to emphasizes the heroics and resourcefulness of the Boxers. The myth created for stories of the Boxers serve to bring hope in the young reader and to inspire them to defend their country’s ideology.
  • Lao She romanticizes the Boxers as brave heroes, anti-imperialist patriots, and people who help the poor.
  • Two ways that Cohen examines the myth on the Boxers is, the first being the procedures created by the mythologizers with identifying what’s their distinctive perspectives on the past (this being the Boxer Uprising) and how it compares to a historian’s point of view. The second way is, the mythologization of the Boxer Uprising that was made for the Chinese people during the 20th century.

Chapter 8-

  • The meaning of the past that is treated as a myth is “governed to an overwhelming extent by the concerns of the present” (Cohen 238). When those present concerns shift, then the meaning behind the mythologized past shifts as well.
  • The positive mythologization portrayed the Boxers as loyal, righteous, and patriotic citizens.
  • Anti-imperialist Gu Hongming saw that the Boxers, the Empress-Dowager, and Prince Duan were not the enemies of the Europeans, but they are their “real true friends” and that the “real enemies of Europe, of the world and of true civilization” from which the Boxer had risen up against were “the European usurers, called financiers and capitalists” (Cohen 239) who as Gu viewed caused disorder and disarray until they destroy all civilization in the world.
  •  Cai Yuanpei, president of Beijing University issued a “manifesto” while traveling in Europe to counter the misconception that the May Thirteenth movement was a “relay of the Boxer rising of 1900” (Cohen 257) with pointing out differences between the two events.
  • Boxer mythologization centers around the themes of anti-imperialism and nationalism.
  • During the shifts from the Cultural Revolution in China and the post-Mao of the 1980s, the meaning of the Boxer experience and the ways they are remembered go through significant changes as issues at the present time changed.

Themes of interest in History

One of the themes in history that I am interested in are environmental impacts like floods, droughts, volcano erupt, etc; and their effects on a country, society, or civilization. Two example of this is with the Dust Bowl in the United States during the Great Depression (1929-1939) and the drought in North China after the winter of 1898-1899 which became a second factor resulting in the spread of the Boxer movement. There are differences between the two events with one being that the Dust Bowl was caused by the combination of poor land use by farmers and a drought while the drought in China had resulted from there being very little rainfall after the winter of 1898-1899. These two events do share similarities in how the droughts in both added to the already building cultural/economic aspects of that time like some Chinese villagers joining the Boxers so they can be fed or from hunger anxiety while in the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl caused unemployed farmers to migrate to other states like California in order find work.

History 297 blog 1

Hello, my name is Adam Kitchen and I am a History Major. I don’t necessary have a specific type of history chosen at the moment, but I do like American History, Art History and History on Western Civilization. I would like to learn more about other histories around the world. My hobbies do include drawing and reading, although I have not done any drawing or reading for a while, but I do hope I can get to either of the two when I have time. I like science fiction novels like The Howling Stones by Alan Dean Foster and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

This image shown is in relation to History of Western Civilization:


Fig. 1. Dale Harvey, Coliseum. July 7, 2007, Photographic Print, Available from: Flickr Commons, https://www.flickr.com/photos/daleharvey/754378273/in/photolist-29EonX-k2e7S-rVVPbZ-9dwbL3-7tVEZr-rVNv6A-rU35FV-69MQGL-wgkFs-b3JE1x-q4izu9-6S5X5M-sdjwWK-6QV9CB-9yLEKg-cgM9qW-pJYNsx-VBLYYv-WQrrpd-VGSDwv-pxhGRp-RV8xrg-T4dVkP-YchAoj-ekMxrY-VktgGq-UCTUQ1-R4DLaH-9HkhcC-WR5pAZ-e1AQdA-WzYYpd-iuSQtz-4hfgBX-Vj14i7-VCtPyP-WAnVbd-5apQJZ-WhZjvf-7UwHkH-UvV6GW-VBLZge-WEykCp-YdSPyE-RSxcok-V7hJ1m-VqaNjx-U3GQpm-c8A75u-9rYSY2 (accessed September 8, 2017).

This image shown is one of the book I discussed earlier but I have a different version from this one.

Fahrenheit 451

Fig. 2. DaveBleasdale, Fahrenheit 451. August 9, 2005, Photographic Print, Available from: Flickr Commons, https://www.flickr.com/photos/sidelong/32603725/in/photolist-anaEHL-dS1fVL-eTiGQd-3T6Xc-7AsUoJ-5eyoDN-aEZrNv-cm86i9-McWEj4 (accessed September 8, 2017).

This image relates to drawing.

drawing hand

Fig, 3. cdaltonrowe, drawing hand. September 29, 2009, Photographic Print, Available from: Flickr Commons, https://www.flickr.com/photos/30485180@N06/3967682030/in/photolist-73BpCS-4sHNYK-sma24x-gkPVz-7uts49-4qytmj-f7J4dM-bsi5Nk-r3nhHe-9ag9Ch-4QP15u-fLh7jz-9kzBfJ-fFChsh-eU2QMy-9GG8vA-2GUMUq-cKpDSU-7aM6vy-8VTLA7-6SyxBH-27tHj7-7upzjx-oVdHUC-3muy44-3Lk2M4-fxRp44-fuuYN2-cJ8gCb-fqDLFy-5DP2VR-77nH1S-9354cS-fsLzCF-5G12g2-gU9gUm-4Re5uS-8EnZBi-bdM7fK-dUA4Rr-5xboUC-6uzAKK-fPQCzh-7swCdh-ppzsgM-C7Sy2b-4Dt5Yh-r6tWvo-XBqkic-ecX9jB (accessed September 8, 2017).