Sophomore Kyle Duchynski won an Introductory Seminars Excellence Award for his project “The Forgotten Fight: The Failings of the Allied Intervention in Siberia” completed in the Winter 2017-2018 Introductory Seminar, The Soviet Union and the World: Views from the Hoover Archives (HISTORY 23N).
Each academic year, faculty who teach Introductory Seminars nominate one project from their IntroSems course. The course instructors, Professor Norman Naimark and Russian and Eurasian Curator Anatol Shmelev, determined Kyle’s project to be a truly exceptional example of student work.
“This level of excellence is impossible without a commitment to mentorship and student engagement with the course topic,” said Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Russell Berman, Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities and director of Stanford Introductory Studies. “We often talk about these seminars as collaborations, and Kyle’s work is a model for the student-teacher interactions that are the heart of Introductory Seminars.”
This level of excellence is impossible without a commitment to mentorship and student engagement with the course topic
Kyle based his work on a number of collections from the Hoover Institution Archives, such as the William S. Graves papers (Graves commanded the American Expeditionary Force in Siberia), the Marmaduke Clark papers (Clark was a YMCA man helping American soldiers feel at home in the distant and cold land), and others to examine U.S. policy on intervention in the Russian Civil War, as well as how that policy was actually implemented on the ground in Siberia. The combination of thorough research, scrupulous analysis, and precise writing allowed his paper to stand out in a very competitive class.
Excellence Award winners and their nominating faculty were honored at an awards celebration on Thursday, January 24, 2019. Students received a certificate and monetary award.
History 23N, The Soviet Union and the World: Views from the Hoover Archives, is being offered again this year. The goal of the course is to introduce students, typically freshmen and sophomores, to original historical documents (primary sources), and the principles of archival research and documentary analysis. The riches of the Hoover Institution’s collections on Russia and the USSR are made available to students, who learn about their subject through first-hand research and class discussion. It is always a pleasure to see students returning to the Archives after the course is over, either to continue with their course project, as Kyle is doing, or to conduct research on other topics for other courses. This is one more way the Hoover Institution is adding value to the Stanford community, in particular to students, who often feel overawed or put off by the immensity of the Tower and its contents. Engaging directly with the treasures of the Archives helps them understand how to approach documents critically and effectively, which contributes to a fuller educational experience overall.
Anatol Shmelev PhD
Anatol Shmelev is a research fellow, Robert Conquest curator of the Russia and Eurasia Collection, and the project archivist for the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Collection, all at the Hoover Institution.