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Name: Rachel A. Kleiner
Honors in: History and Religion
Hometown: Wind Gap, PA
Major(s): History with a religion minor
Title of project: Family Violence in Ancient Near Eastern and Greek Mythology
Abstract or brief description: My thesis explored the myths of the Ancient Near East and Greece in an effort to explain common themes among them. The civilizations encompassed in the Ancient Near East are Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Ugarit, which have recurring themes between them. These commonalities have been explored by scholars and can be explained through a socio-political position. These socio-political ideas contain both an intergenerational dynastic succession conflict and a geopolitical one.
How did you get interested in your topic? I have always loved mythology, and in the spring of 2010 I studied abroad in Rome. I took a course in Greek and Roman mythology while abroad and discussed it with Dr. Radine. He introduced me to a few civilizations I had never really studied and I noticed some similarities. Through the fall semester I took a course on the Ancient Near East that covered the history and myths of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Ugarit. Their similarities interested me, and I wanted to find a way to explain why these similarities exist.
Do you intend to research your topic further? If so, how? I will attend graduate school in the fall, which will impact my decision to continue further with this topic. If I do continue, I will add more civilizations into the mix, such as the Hittites. I also will look further into the Bible to see how it reflects the civilization of Ugarit, which is Canaanite, a predecessor of the Israelites.
How did you benefit academically by conducting research/participating in honors? Honors has definitely taught me about my strengths and weaknesses as an academic. It taught me to discipline myself and manage my time. It also taught me to edit and choose words wisely. However, most importantly, it has taught me that I can be a strong force in the academic world in the future.
How has the department (or faculty advisor) prepared you for the future? This project has definitely prepared me for graduate school. I kept referring to it as my mini-Master’s Thesis. I know what I have to work on to go to the next level in graduate school and how to defend my views in an academic context. My advisors have influenced my decision to attend graduate school and have helped me see that I am a person who can succeed in a graduate setting.
What advice do you have for other students interested in honors? I would recommend picking a topic that you are passionate about regardless of the sources and information you think is available. I think these projects set you above and ahead of the game in the future, not just in academia but in the job market as well. It is important to have these research skills. I would also recommend time managing to the best of your ability. It will keep you on track.