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Amanda Roth ’04 is providing some groundwork this summer for research on orphans in British fiction and nonfiction writing.

“I hadn’t thought about the subject before, but I’m enjoying what I’m reading,” says Roth. “The professor is looking at class issues and the treatment of males versus females. Some of it’s fiction, but also facts.”

Roth is working with Deborah Byrd, associate professor of English, as an EXCEL Scholar. “We are looking at historical accounts, including historical sketches of foundling hospitals, criticism in literary journals and politics’ effect on the hospitals. I’m also reading essays about orphans,” says Roth.

Roth, who is double majoring in philsophy and gender and racial issues, says the issue of sexism is what relates the orphan project to her academic work.

The title of the research project is “Ideologies of Class and Gender in British Fictional and Nonfiction Writings about Foundlings 1780-1830.” Byrd says she will be examining documents that provide insight into the ideological assumptions and goals of those who founded, taught, and preached at or served on the board of governors of various foundling hospitals.

“I’m interested in discovering whether fictional and ‘real life’ treatment of orphans differed significantly depending on one’s gender and socio-economic class,” the professor says.

She describes Roth as one of the “brightest, most widely read, and intellectually curious students I’ve encountered in almost 20 years of teaching at Lafayette.”

Having just finished her freshman year, Roth says, she had not expected to benefit from “such a great opportunity” as the EXCEL program.

A graduate of Easton Area High School, Roth is on the residence hall council, works for the admissions office as a tour guide, and is a McKelvy Scholar.

Categorized in: Academic News