Honors in History

The Washington and Lee History Department offers advanced students the opportunity to undertake significant original research leading to the production of an Honors Thesis in their senior year. Successful candidates earn a Bachelor of Arts degree "with Honors in History."


The prerequisite for pursuing Honors in History is a grade point average of 3.500 in all History courses.


Interested students should inquire about the department's Honors Program at the time they declare their major. Candidates must apply for admission to the program in the winter term of their junior year well before registering for senior year courses. The applicant must write a letter to the Head of the Department nominating an Honors Supervisor to direct the thesis, and at least one other member of the department to serve on the Honors Committee as a second reader. The candidate may also add a third member of the committee from another department. Before submitting the formal application, the candidate must ensure that all members of the committee are willing to serve. Along with the letter of application, the candidate should submit a one page proposal briefly describing the topic they propose to study and a one page bibliography of some of the principal primary and secondary sources they plan to consult.

The Honors Committee

The Honors Supervisor should be a member of the History Department who knows the candidate's work and the subject area in which s/he proposes to conduct research. The Supervisor will direct the thesis, chair the oral examination, and report the final grade to the Registrar. The other member[s] of the Honors Committee will read and evaluate the thesis, participate in and evaluate the oral examination, and along with the Supervisor assign the grades for the completed work.

The Honors Thesis

The candidate should if possible begin work on the thesis during the junior year, and must begin work no later than the first week of the Fall term of the senior year. S/he should plan to complete research during the Fall term and use the Winter term for writing and revising.
The candidate should submit drafts of each section of the thesis to the Supervisor who will read and suggest revisions. Members of the Honors Committee may also read drafts and make suggestions.
The text of the thesis should be approximately 50 to 75 pages long, double-spaced with normal margins, and follow all relevant guidelines laid down by Kate Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations or some other appropriate manual approved by the supervisor. Details
Candidates must complete the thesis no later than the last day of the final examination period of the Winter term. Exceptions may be approved by the Honors Committee after written petition from the candidate.


Oral Examination

During the Spring term of the senior year, the candidate must present and defend the thesis in an oral examination. The Honors Committee will conduct the examination, and may invite interested members of the faculty and students to attend.


Immediately after the oral examination the Honors Committee will vote to award or withhold Honors, and will assign the grades for the work. The successful candidate will provide a finished copy of the thesis to each member of the committee, and a copy to the University Library, Special Collections. The candidate will consult with the Special Collections Librarian to determine the form required by the Library. The Honors Supervisor will notify the University Registrar of the award and the title of the thesis so that s/he may enter them in the Commencement program and on the candidate's diploma.

Honors Course

Grades During the Fall and Winter terms of the senior year, the candidate will enroll in History 493: Honors Thesis. At the end of the Fall and Winter terms, a grade of WIP [Work in Progress] will be issued. When the thesis is complete and has been defended, the Honors Committee will assign the grades to be awarded. These will replace the outstanding WIPs.

Termination of Candidacy

If the candidate withdraws from the program or the Honors Committee deems the thesis unsuccessful, the Supervisor will convert the candidate's credits in History 493 to enrollment in History 473: Senior Thesis, and the committee will assign an appropriate grade[s] for the work completed.

Honors Thesis Details: The title page should be unnumbered. The title of the thesis should appear a third of the way down the page. Below this should be written: A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for a Bachelor of Arts Degree with Honors in Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Below this should appear the author's name, our institution, and the date the thesis was submitted. In the lower right hand corner the names of the thesis supervisor and the second reader(s) should be listed with a line above each upon which they may sign their approval of the thesis.

The thesis should be printed with normal margins of at least one inch in Times New Roman 11-point or comparable type. Front matter (title through acknowledgments) should be paginated in Roman numerals. The pages from the introduction onwards should be in Arabic numerals. Notes should be at the bottom of pages. Text and citations should conform to The Chicago Manual of Style as summarized in Diana Hacker, A Writer's Reference (Boston, New York: Bedford /St. Martin's, latest edition).

Recent Honors Graduates

Copies of past Honors Theses are archived, cataloged, and may be consulted in Leyburn Library, Special Collections. 

Charles Christian Correll
A Will Independent of Society: Publius, Woodrow Wilson, and the Crisis of Confidence Caused by the Administrative State
John Mayer Crum
The Many Wars of William Clift: A Southern Unionist Odyssey Through Resistance and Civil War, 1850-1864
Samuel Thomas Gibson
Inversion or Subversion? Assessing the Works of André Gide and Marc-André Raffalovich
Ellie Anne Gorman
Creating the Ideal English Catholic: Martyrs and Their Scripts in Elizabethan England
Zachary Austin Howard
'A Feast of Death': The Story of the Nineteenth Georgia Infantry Regiment in the Civil War
Conley Karlovic Hurst
Reign of Terror': General Thomas C. Hindman and the Confederate Military State in Arkansas, 1862-1863
Edward Disney Thompson
Uisge-Beatha: Scotland's 'Water of Life' and the Identity of a Nation

Jacob Matthew Berman
A Contribution by the United States to the Common Stock of Civilization': Francis Lieber and General Orders No. 100
William Rickenbrode Chittum
Nightmare from Above: Strategic Bombing in World War II and Its Moral Consequences
Grant Hayden Cokeley
Irrelevant Victories: The Lessons of the American Military Strategy in the Vietnam War
Kelly Elyse Douma
The Publicity of Female Sexuality in the Early Modern Period: An Analysis of Reproductive Intervention Techniques
Beth Jinae Kennedy
Community-Based Research: Digital Storytelling for Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center
Elizabeth Addison MacGregor
Redefining Jihad in Local Context: From the Rise of Islam to the Islamic State
Bruce Chapman McCuskey
Jerome's 'Jewish' Asceticism: The Targum of Qohelet's Influence on Jerome's Theology of Asceticism in His Commentary on Ecclesiastes
Mary Kathleen Sands
From Ashes Reborn: The Fascist Repression of Female Prisoners in Francoist Spain and Nazi Germany

Amanda Gray Dixon
Instigating Victorian Morality: The Clapham Sect and The Reformation of Manners Campaign
Timothy Jesse Durkin Fisher
You Must Be This to Ride: Class, Gender, and Race in the American Amusement Park
Kimberly Vail Kennedy
Let Them Eat Cake: Marie Antoinette in Popular Imagery and Imagination, 18th Century to the Present
Timothy Evan Paulsen
Division and Radicalization in the German Working Class: A Study of German Socialism from the Revolution to the Halle Congress
Carl Alexander Retzloff
The First Fruits of a Reunited People': The Loyalty, Motivation, and Allegiance of the Men of the Second United States Volunteer Infantry Regiment
Taylor Marie Theodossiou
Feraoun and the Algerian Revolution: The Identities of the Algerian Revolution and the Ways in which an Algerian Writer Interprets These Identities

Giles D. Beal
Selling Souls From A Distance: Market Revolution Transformations in the United States Domestic Slave Trade and the Slave Trader
Lauren Nicole Hatfield
Unearthing the W&L Gentleman: An  Examination of Student Life and Behavior During the Nineteenth Century
Mark A. Sowinski
Maggie Lena Walker: Banker, Entrepreneur, and Social Activist

Joseph Landry
The Wagner Act, Market Fundamentalism, and the Limits of the New Deal
Benjamin Zane Ruffel
What the Wizard Wrought: Hjalmar Schacht, Monetary Alchemy, and the Nazi Economic Marvel, 1033-1938
Isaac Webb
The Action Group to Defend the Rights of the Disabled and Human Rights in the Late Soviet Era
Wyn Scott Boerckel
Knowledge Through Participation: The Epistemic Status of Religious Belief
John Blacksher Burks
The Cardboard Sublime
Gabrielle Elaine Espy
Women’s Role in Music History
Thomas John Sanford
Abraham Lincoln and Presidential War Powers

Charles Sackett Andrews
Foreign Policy and the Fourth Estate: Vietnam and the Creation of the 'Liberal' Media, 1954-2003
Elizabeth Monroe King
Pius IX and Papal Infallibility: 'La Tradizione Son' Io!'

Gregory Clarke Franke
A Cowardly Lion? The German Catholic Episcopate and the Third Reich
Daniel David Van Denburgh
'Charlantanerie,' Humburg, and the Evolution of Evolution: Charles Darwin and Louis Agassiz in Brazil

Rebecca J. Beeson
Remembering Franco: Spanish Collective Memory from the Civil War to Today
Kevin T. Corn
From Brown to Green: School Desegregation in Roanoke, Virginia
Rachael C. Langdon
Louisa Cheves McCord: Portrait of a Southern Woman
Jane Crossett Bouch
Land, Women, and Power: The Bayeux Tapestry and the Secular Epic Tradition

Seth Richard Bullard
Judah P. Benjamin: Cosmopolitan Jew and Confederate Statesman"
Kavita Merry DeVaney
The Fall of France as Viewed from French West Africa
Alexandra Mary Locking
Eleanor and the Three Matildas: A Study of Power among the Major Anglo-Norman Queens of Twelfth-Century England
Benjamin Daniel Wilson
The South and the Constitution: States' Rights, Sectional Crises, and Southern Constitutionalism before the Civil War
Garrett Barkley Clark
The Al-Qaeda-Inspired, Moroccan-Based Terrorist Movement in the Maghreb, Europe, and the Middle East: The Movement's Origins, Development, Activities, and Future Prospects
Anthony Lister Ives
The American Regime and the Declaration of Independence: Ancients and Moderns Revisited
Julia Lauren Miglets
Our Lady of Viterbo: Female Patronage and Piety in Early Quattrocento Italy
Sarah Katherine Morris
Platform and Still Life: Sixth-Generation Mainland Chinese Filmmaker Jia Zhangke and the 'Realistic Epic'

Randolph Chamberlain Wilson IV
Byzantine Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas and Military Expansionism: Tenth-Century Developments Reflected in a Reign