Thursday, March 27, 2008

Quaking in My Boots




One of the purposes of the RU blogs is to give you a glimpse into the life of students and faculty. So here’s one about me—my most favorite subject. jk! (Those who know me, know I really don’t like talking about myself, and I hate filling out Annual Faculty Data Reports where I need to talk about everything I’ve done and how good I am at doing what I do. YUCK!!!)

Any who . . . sometimes research and articles are spawned by accident. As I said previously, one of my hobbies is genealogy. As an historian I always try to track down all the verifiable information and documentation that I can find. One particular line of my ancestry is Quaker, and my most immediate Quaker ancestor was “disunited” for “marrying out.” In other words, he married a non-Quaker and was kicked out of the local Quaker congregation for it. Thus “disowning” and “disuniting” amongst the Society of Friends intrigued me so I investigated it. In looking at transcripts of original documents I discovered that many New Jersey Quakers were also disowned for their participation in the American Revolution, so this led to a whole new line of inquiry. Quakers were and are pacifists. So what about these fighting Quakers? Well it turns out that very little has been written about New Jersey Friends who took up arms, just a passing paragraph in some books. A good bit has been done on PA Quakers. So all of this “love of learning” has led to my cranking out an article written with a social sciences approach regarding New Jersey Quakers and the American Revolution.

So besides teaching and trying to foster learning, faculty members do research and writing that feeds back into the classroom. This research has given me a better understanding about the Society of Friends and appreciation for the complex relationships that existed during an important era of US history.

University life is about the love of learning and having gusto for life.