Senior Christopher Bolland wins a best paper award

Grove City College senior Christopher Bolland of Sacramento, Calif., won the award for best paper at the Lycoming Undergraduate Humanities Research Conference (LUHRC) on April 6 at Lycoming College.

Bolland’s paper, “Enslaved to the Cause: The Poor White Southerner’s Support for Slavery and Secession,” won in the category of History, Archaeology and Humanities-Focused Social Sciences. He and several other Grove City College students presented their work at the conference, which drew over 100 attendees from 24 different colleges and universities.

“I had an amazing time. I had never been to a conference like this one and I was stunned by the poise and dedication of all my fellow presenters. The atmosphere of mutual excitement at presenting our work was wonderful, and I learned a great deal from all the other presentations as well,” said Bolland when asked about the experience.

Bolland was one of seven students from Grove City College who attended the Lycoming College conference. Bolland and seniors Ainsley McHugh and Julia Marsango represented the History Department and seniors Maura Schmidt and Megan Gagnier and sophomores, Selah Severson and Sarah Graham, the Modern Languages Department.

Dr. Gillis J. Harp, a professor of History who assisted Bolland with editing, said department faculty are proud of Bolland and other students who participated in the conference. “Chris worked very hard on his research and writing. He explored in detail why most Southern whites supported slavery and sought to defend the slave system,” Harp said.

In his paper,” Bolland primarily argues against the so-called Lost Cause myth, in which the Confederate cause was not centered on slavery but was instead righteous and heroic. He argues fear and complacency guided poor white southern decision making and urges his readers not to do the same.

The paper was originally a 22-page capstone thesis, but Bolland said he trimmed it down to about seven pages so he could present it in 15 minutes. In addition to Harp’s editing, Bolland said he received assistance on the paper from nearly the entire Grove City College history department.

Senior Christopher Bolland wins a best paper award

Return to Archive