Notice of Online Archive

  • This page is no longer being updated and remains online for informational and historical purposes only. The information is accurate as of the last page update.

    For questions about page contents, contact the Communications Division.

Kimberly Enoch ’04, a double major in English and American Studies, is examining women’s suffrage, reproductive control, and education during the 19th century.

Mentored in an independent study by Deborah Rosen, associate professor of history, Enoch is studying primary sources that include essays written in the 1860s, 1880s, and 1890s; lectures given in the 1850s; broadsides printed in the 1890s and 1910s; and an anti-suffrage cartoon from the 1870s to gain a perspective of women’s history.

An accomplished scholar, Rosen recently published “Acoma v. Laguna and the Transition from Spanish Colonial Law to American Civil Procedure in New Mexico,” an article in Law and History Review. She is coeditor of a two-volume collection of early American Indian documents and author of Courts and Commerce: Gender, Law, and the Market Economy in Colonial New York.

“Presently, I am writing on the anti-suffrage movement, a movement that countered the suffrage movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries,” says Enoch. “Because I have chosen to work with only primary sources, I have the opportunity to form my own opinions and analyses of the issues at hand, instead of being influenced by the works of others.”

Rosen believes it is more interesting to read primary sources when studying American history, but it is always more challenging to read such texts.

“When relying on primary source documents to understand a topic, one must decipher ‘old-fashioned’ language and pull disparate sources together in order to understand the larger picture,” says Rosen. “In contrast, when reading a secondary source, the information comes in a neat and accessible package; the writer of the present-day book analyzing the past has figured out how all of the primary sources fit together and what the sources mean. Kim is taking on the challenge of coming up with her own interpretation of American women’s history.

“Kim has chosen not to rely on recent books and articles that analyze her topics because she wants to come up with her own interpretation of the history of women’s suffrage, reproductive control, and education. She wants to read the actual language used by the people who lived during the time period she is studying, so she can come to a deeper understanding of their viewpoints.”

Enoch decided to work on this project after writing a paper for her Introduction to American Studies course.

“I felt that I had just touched the surface of the issue, and I wanted a chance to really delve into the deeper workings of the movement,” says Enoch. “Working upon the foundation I had set, Professor Rosen and I decided to expand my independent study to include a broader range of movements. My area of concentration within my American Studies major is social injustice with respect to women, so this topic fits nicely within the scope of my interests.”

Rosen is impressed with Enoch’s eagerness to work with primary source documents. “Clearly Kim is a thoughtful student who doesn’t want to just take in an already digested version of women’s history,” says Rosen. “Instead, she is willing to do the work to develop her own interpretations based on work with the original documents. Her progress so far has been outstanding.”

“I am extremely fortunate and excited to be working with Professor Rosen,” says Enoch. “She has a knowledge of women’s history that is unparalleled. I have found her to be both supportive and genuinely interested in the areas of my research.”

Enoch believes that the academic environment at Lafayette is conducive to independent studies. Students and professors have a close rapport because of the small class sizes and the genuine interests of both professors and students, she says.

Enoch is president of Cadence, the female a cappella group, and is a student representative for the Curriculum and Educational Policy Committee. She serves as a writing associate and is a member of Alpha Phi sorority.

Categorized in: Academic News