Professor Sara Egge, Hadley Judson ’15 research women’s suffrage movement

Posted by Centre News in Academics, History, News, Research 14 Aug 2014

egeeWith 81 percent of students participating in internship or research opportunities during their time at Centre College, faculty and staff are constantly looking for new ways to challenge their students. This summer, Assistant Professor of History Sara Egge and Hadley Judson ‘15 (pictured below) are collaborating on research that explores women’s suffrage in the Midwest from the 1870s-1920s.

egeeThis topic was the focus of Egge’s dissertation, and she is in the process of turning her research into a book.

“I’m investigating the ways that women in the Midwest called for the right to vote out of a conception of citizenship that they consciously created,” Egge explains. “They were politically savvy, and they knew how to shape the arguments about citizenship in their favor. They argued in the republican political tradition that even though they didn’t have the right to vote, they were members of a civic community.”

Egge is interested in this topic because she is from the Midwest and “grew up very aware of the ethnic backgrounds of my neighbors, friends and relatives.”

Judson first studied the subject while writing her seminar paper last year.

“The topic of women in United States history has always fascinated me and this subject matter is something I never would have researched on my own,” she says. “I am so glad that I have been introduced to it and have been able to read and research so many different perspectives on such a neglected subject.”

Judson participates in the research remotely because of other work commitments in Atlanta. She communicates regularly with Egge via email and shares articles and publications she has found via Google Drive.

“I also used ancestry.com to find people from the region and time periods that Dr. Egge has previously found to provide more information and authenticity for their roles in this subject matter,” she explains.

Egge hopes that their work this summer has given Judson an idea of what it means to be a professional historian.

“Our work allows her a one-on-one experience with me to consider the major ideas of this project and her contributions to it,” she says. “This is a hands-on, real-world research experience, and I must say that Hadley is doing an amazing job here. Many times in our conversations, she offers suggestions and ideas that have directly influenced my own thinking on this topic. She makes comments that cause me to pause and reevaluate a direction I was going to take. She’s contributing to this scholarship in ways that most undergraduates never get the chance to do.”

Both Egge and Judson feel that the “personal education” Centre provides its students has helped fuel their research.

“I’ve gotten to see Hadley grow as a researcher and a scholar, and it’s just really fun to get together and talk about the issues that are coming up in the research,” Egge says. “We can raise questions to each other, consider lots of different arguments and ideas, and try to come up with more effective ways of thinking about citizenship and gender. I’m all for Hadley becoming a better researcher and scholar, and I think she has accomplished both of those goals, but I also hope that she had a fun summer, too.”

by Hayley Hoffman ’16