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Dr. Pamonag, Michael Lowe, & Dr. Cole

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Michael Lowe Gives Two Conference Presentations in Spring

Apr 6, 2012

WIU History M.A. candidate and Graduate Assistant Michael Lowe is giving two professional conference presentations this semester, mentored by two WIU History faculty members. Mr. Lowe received two Professor Emeritus Research Grants from the WIU History Department to fund the two presentations.

In early March, Mr. Lowe presented his paper, "The Vietnam Day Committee: Shortcomings and Significance, 1965-1966," at the Missouri Valley History Conference in Omaha, Nebraska. His paper was included in a session on "Activism and Controversies in the 20th Century" and argued that the Vietnam Day Committee exemplified many trends of the early New Left: organization of mass demonstrations, radical criticism of American policy in Vietnam, advocacy of rapid withdrawal, and intentions of building a national movement against the Vietnam War. He found that the group was very successful in Berkeley (where it was based) because of its tactics and positions but was unable to find support in many other places around the nation because of pro-war public opinion and disapproval of VDC tactics. Mr. Lowe's research on this project was mentored by Dr. Peter Cole.

In mid-April, Mr. Lowe will present his second conference paper this Spring, "Nation, Race, and Gender: The Woman's Foreign Missionary Society, 1870s-1890s," at the Conference on Borders, Boundaries, and Beyond hosted by Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. In this paper, Mr. Lowe analyzes the missionary publications of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society (WFMS), an international women-centered missionary and educational organization founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church in Boston in 1869. The society, which focused on the education of girls and women and established its own schools to further that purpose, sent missionaries to Mexico, Asia, Africa, and South America. WFMS missionaries to Japan maintained notions of cultural and national superiority because their mission depended on it. The unique aspect of these transnational interactions was gender: while WFMS missionaries held that they could enlighten Japanese society as to the "proper" (i.e. Western Christian) status of women, gender-based education in some ways reinforced and in other ways contradicted notions of national and racial superiority. These missionaries justified their actions by emphasizing the behaviors of students using Victorian ideals of cleanliness and obedience, and the missionary enterprise as a whole viewed Eastern religions as inferior to Christianity. Dr. Febe Pamonag was Mr. Lowe's faculty mentor for this research project.

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