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Marquis Scholar Rebecca Moreland ’03 of Fairfield, Pa., a graduate of Fairfield Area High School, is researching historical cases of encounters between indigenous peoples and their colonizers – and the consequences of those encounters – in an EXCEL project this summer with Paul D. Barclay, assistant professor of history.

Moreland’s work aims to draw a structural comparison among British, American, and Japanese colonial policies toward the Australian Aborigines, the Ojibwe in the Northwest Territories, and the Ainu of Hokkaido, respectively, in the mid-19th and early-20th centuries.

“The history of indigenous peoples and land rights is not a subject I knew much about, but I have always been curious about how the current situation of native peoples developed,” says Moreland, who is majoring in International Affairs and minoring in Spanish. “By doing EXCEL research into the historical problem of the loss of native lands to colonizers, I am furthering my understanding of international affairs and current social issues.”

Though centering on events that occurred generations ago, Moreland’s work applies to today’s global situation, Barclay says.

“The intellectual payoff to this project is that Rebecca is seeing that globalization is not a recent phenomenon,” he says. “In many ways, globalization was more intense and life-changing during the era we’re researching.”

Barclay, who joined the Lafayette faculty in 1999, is currently writing a history of Japanese colonial rule in the highlands of Taiwan. His areas of special interest and expertise include the history of Japan and East Asia, early modern and modern global history, and comparative colonial studies. He holds master’s and doctoral degrees in history from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor of science degree in secondary education, history, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

At Lafayette he has taught courses on traditional and modern China, modern Japan, Asian history, history through biography, and imperialism and war crimes from 1850 to 1950.

In January 2000 he taught, with Kim D. Bennett, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, the distinctive three-week interim-session course Inside the People’s Republic of China. The course introduces the complex interaction between traditional culture, communist thinking, and the forces of modernization in the People’s Republic. The practices and characteristics of distinct Chinese subcultures are examined by traveling to representative areas: Beijing in the north, Kunming in the southwest, and Guangzhou on the southeast coast. Students meet with government officials and business people, attend arts performances, visit a factory, hospital, and university, and attend supplemental lectures.

Moreland is pleased to have the opportunity to tackle in-depth research on a timely topic. “At Lafayette it is easy to find a professor who wants a research assistant, because the College has the resources to give students individual attention.”

She’s also hopeful that the EXCEL work will benefit her in the future.

“I am interested in careers in government, economics, public policy, and international relations, and all of these fields must deal with the issue of the land rights for indigenous peoples,” she says.

Moreland is a proctor and office assistant for the music department, and is involved in musical productions and the College Choir. She also takes vocal lessons. She performs community service as a volunteer through Lafayette’s Landis Community Outreach Center and is a member of the student organization LEAP, Lafayette Environmental Awareness and Protection.

Categorized in: Academic News