Jennifer Andrella

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I am a first-year Ph.D. student and my research will explore Native American History and United States Social and Cultural History during the nineteenth century.  I am interested in the historical relationship between Northern Plains Indian tribes and European Americans as efforts were made to develop the West and incorporate it into the East.  The portrayal and reality of this tumultuous period differ vastly, as the romanticism of triumphs and tragedies altered its remembrance. The “Mythical West” encompassed specific people and events which aligned more closely with nostalgia than truth. I will reinterpret the meaning of American expansionism through alternative approaches using art, music, narratives and other forms of media. As a result, I aspire to decipher the meaning and memory of the West to redefine the stories, cultures, and people who inhabited the unknown.

In 2016, I earned my B.A. in History with Honors and a minor in English Writing at the University of Toledo.  During my undergraduate career, I wrote an honors thesis titled “On the Banks of Bear River: Press, Perception, and Memory of the Piegan Massacre, 1870.”  This research analyzed the diverse ways in which the press coverage of Montana’s worst massacre complicated its solidification into historical memory.  There was a lack of remembrance due to the socio-cultural context of the nineteenth century, inconsistencies in regional coverage, and how publishers used the event for a political platform.  Unfortunately, this event was just one of countless incidents and stories, both positive and negative, which seemingly “disappeared” from American history.  These disparities present an issue much deeper than history and represent the troublesome relationship that still exists between Americans and Native tribes.  Through a change of perspective, we can begin to heal the effects of historical trauma.

Year in Program: 1

Fields: Native American History, Nineteenth Century U.S. Social and Cultural History, History and Memory

Advisor: TBD

Committee:TBD

Research Languages: French

Educational Background: B.A. with Honors, University of Toledo (2016)

Email: andrella@msu.edu