Writing Samples

Please note that any works that have been submitted for publication and have not yet undergone peer review will not be listed here
All papers listed here are available privately upon request; please contact me at psmit703@outlook.com for copies
"The Tortured Gatsbys Department" or "The Rise and Fall of Jay Gatsby and the Spiders from Mars"(Apr 2024)

Through treating three contemporary novels, Sinclair Lewis' Babbitt, Nella Larsen's Passing, and F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, as primary sources, this paper argues that 1920s America was a reflection of the Gilded Age. By examining themes in each, such as the anti-union sentiments in Babbitt, the racial issues discussed in Passing, or the decadence and excess of The Great Gatsby, the paper effectively shows similarities to each of their Gilded Age counterparts, supporting the idea of a reflection across time periods that was visible in all aspects of life.

This paper is associated with HIST356: Emergence of Modern America at the University of Maryland.

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"Welcome to the West, it's been waiting for you" or "Are you lost, cowboy?"(Nov 2023)

This paper explores the ways in which plains life in the latter half of the nineteenth century was shown in popular media in the following decades. By looking at Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series and Willa Cather's My Ántonia, this paper argues that forms of media romanticized the West to serve as a distraction from the realities of events such as World War I and the Great Depression, while at the same time remaining faithful to many aspects of life on the frontier.

This paper is associated with HIST355: Civil War and the Rise of Industrialization at the University of Maryland.

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"American Notes: Exploring Antebellum Institutionalism"(Apr 2023)

In the context of the critiques in Charles Dickens' American Notes, this paper examines a variety of institutions central to Antebellum America. The paper explores the nature of institutions including slavery, prison reform, and mental asylums, contextualized by other contemporary and modern authors including Alexis de Tocqueville and David J. Rothman, in order to show these institutions' roles in the rapidly increasing societal division seen at the time.

This paper is associated with HIST354: Ante-Bellum America at the University of Maryland.

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"Changes in the Old Victorian Order"(Dec 2022)

This paper broadly explores how Victorian society changed throughout the nineteenth century, especially with respect to gender. By examining sources including George Gissing's The Odd Women, Judith Walkowitz's "Jack the Ripper and the Myth of Male Violence," and various essays from Women, the Family, and Freedom, this paper shows the ways in which women's roles in society were changing, both for better and for worse, through discussions on marriage, education, prostitution, and violence.

This paper is associated with HIST429A: Sex and Class in Nineteenth Century Britain at the University of Maryland.

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"Masculinity in Victorian Britain"(Nov 2022)

This paper explores the various elements of what it meant to be masculine in Victorian Britain, namely control of oneself and one's environment and the physical strength that was required. By examining contemporary and modern sources including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Sign of Four, Rudyard Kipling's “William the Conqueror," and Nadja Durbach's “Monstrosity, Masculinity, and Medicine,” the paper shows how systemic masculinity was spread and how it was both accepted and challenged throughout society.

This paper is associated with HIST429A: Sex and Class in Nineteenth Century Britain at the University of Maryland.

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"The Two Nations: Class Disparities in Victorian Britain"(Oct 2022)

This paper explores the increasingly apparent class disparities seen in Victorian Britain. By using Benjamin Disraeli's idea that Britain was actually split into two nations - the rich and the poor - and examining sources including Leonore Davidoff's The Best Circles, Friedrich Engels' The Condition of the Working-Class in England, Timothey Mayhew's Mayhew's Characters, and Thomas Macaulay's "Speech on the Reform Bill of 1832," this paper looks at the ways in which the rich and the poor lived their lives in different worlds, while at the same time interacting with each other in various ways.

This paper is associated with HIST429A: Sex and Class in Nineteenth Century Britain at the University of Maryland.

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"An Analysis of the Role of Psychological Warfare in Mongol Conquest"(Nov 2021)

Through the use of primary sources including Juvaini's The History of the World Conqueror and Rashid al-Din's The Successors of Genghis Khan, along with secondary sources by Timothy May, this research paper shows the ways in which the Mongols used psychological warfare as an effective form of strategy. By exploring their use of terror in the form of massacres, misinformation, and the subsequent surrenders that came as a result, this paper effectively argues that the Mongols used psychological warfare as a means of gaining territory, rather than just for the sake of destruction.

This paper is associated with HIST319R: Genghis Khan and the Mongols at the University of Maryland.

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