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International Student Luke Russell Presents Rebellion Research at British Scholars Conference

Ian Chambers and Luke Russell
Ian Chambers and Luke Russell

Luke Russell, a history major and a yearlong exchange student from the University of Lancashire in England, had the unique opportunity to present his research at the British Scholars conference March 31-April 2 in Austin, Texas.

Along with University of Idaho history professor Ian Chambers, Russell has been thoroughly researching two rebellions which both took place in 1715 – specifically the Yamasee rebellion in South Carolina with the Jacobite rebellion in Scotland.

“This comparison provides a fascinating insight into the way that the early British Empire viewed the people at its periphery,” said Russell. “We have analyzed the causes of the rebellion and compared them, finding an interesting number of similarities between the two.”

Accompanying professor Chambers, Russell presented his findings on the second day of the conference in Austin, TX. Chambers has presented his own research at three of the four annual British Scholars conferences.

“I do not usually take students with me and I think that Luke was the first undergraduate to present at the conference,” said Chambers. “No small achievement as there were scholars from many universities worldwide including New Zealand, England, and America and from such institutions as Cambridge University in England.”

Chambers described Russell as a good candidate for the conference based on his writing ability and enthusiasm for history.

“I was also complimented on several occasions by professors from other universities on the manner and skill in which he handled himself,” said Chambers.

The conference includes three days of presentations and lectures given mainly by professors and PHD students. There are also some opportunities for the subjects raised to be discussed by conference attendees.

“The conference in Austin was excellent and I really enjoyed to opportunity to hear the work of some of the field’s leading scholars,” said Russell. “As an English person I have certain views about British history and it was interesting to see people from all over the world expressing their insights.”

Russell believes his own presentation went quite well.

“The presentation provoked a deal of interesting discussion and in talking to people afterwards we were able to solidify the direction the project is going,” said Russell.

As Russell and Chambers investigate the two rebellions, they continuously come across related aspects that could develop into entirely separate projects.

“Luke and I have discussed extending the project and are considering presenting our further research on the topic at the next annual conference, which will take place in Scotland,” said Chambers, noting that it would be especially relevant to the Jacobite rebellion they are researching.

This September, Russell will return to Lancaster to complete his BA. He intends to pursue his masters after graduating, and while he isn’t sure what he will study, he is fairly certain that he will pursue history in the future.

“History is just one of those things that has always been interesting to me. My parents were also very interested in history, so I spent a lot of my childhood visiting castles and museums, which probably helped to spur the interest,” said Russell. “I think part of the appeal for me is finding interesting and compelling stories within history that help showcase the very best and worst of human nature.”

Russell says that he has definitely benefited from his year of studying at Idaho.

“Coming to Idaho has broadened my mind immensely, thanks in no small part to the history department,” said Russell, describing the unique opportunity he’s had to study specific subjects such as the history of the Native Americans and the early colonial period.

“Subjects such as the colonization of the New World are not even mentioned in a standard English education, and I see this as being fundamentally wrong,” said Russell. “There are stories that must be told and I know I am certainly taking some of these important stories back with me to England.”

Article by Lisa Heer

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