Students and Faculty Team Up

Recipients of the William T. Lankford and Ruby grants for summer 2005 are presenting their work to the Reed community during the current academic year. The Lankford and Ruby grants are designed to support interactive research by Reed students and faculty in history and the humanities.

The William T. Lankford award (Lankford was a Dickens scholar who taught at Reed from 1977 to 1983) went to Nigel Nicholson, Walter Mintz Associate Professor of Classics, and to Rachel Preminger ’06 of Boise, Idaho. Their project is entitled “Athletes and Regional Identities in Late Archaic and Early Classical Greece.” The work focuses on how anecdotes, epitaphs, odes, and other colloquial tales and forms of commemoration reflect athletes’ regional identities.

Nicholson says the research illuminates the way local communities used their athletes to increase their stature. “We’re looking at the argument that these athletes are actually taken advantage of by their communities to place the communities on the map,” he says. “These communities, in a way, seek to piggyback on their athletes’ fame.”

For Preminger, the research is important from a historical perspective. “The anecdotes, commemorations, and other stories often contradict each other and offer varying accounts of the history of an area,” she says. “They give us perspective on the historical use of anecdotes and the value of anecdotal evidence, which represents a relatively untapped area of information.”

Preminger says she’s pursuing classics study at Reed in part because of its applicability in other disciplines. “Classics allows me to study aspects of many fields: philosophy, history, literature, religion, economics, anthropology, art history, and political science. This research experience has broadened my understanding of a field that I didn’t even know existed when I first got to Reed. It has been nice to learn what it’s like to be a professional scholar.” Nicholson and Preminger plan to present their research at the Classical Association of the Pacific Northwest 2006 conference, to be held at Reed March 24–25.

Recipients of the 2005 Ruby grants were:

  • Associate professor Michael Foat (religion and humanities) and Jeffrey Wermer ’06 of Austin, Texas, for “Towards the Social-Historical Context of the Pseudo-Dionysius”
  • Visiting assistant professor Casiano Hacker-Cordon ’90 (political science) and Tara Anderson ’05 of Portland, for “Democracy vs. Democracy: The Democratic Peace Proposition and U.S. Interventions Against Elected Governments During the Cold War”
  • Professor Emeritus Marvin Levich (philosophy) and Joey Cleveland ’07 of Yakima, Washington, for “An Investigation into the Philosophy of the History of Ideas Through the Poetry of John Donne”

The Ruby grants are named for the family of Jane Ruby ’33, and her sister, Lucile Brown ’41.