Adam Bednar Wins First Place in WIU's Phi Kappa Phi Senior Research Paper Award Competition

Mar 19, 2009

Adam Bednar, a senior History-Teacher Certification major from La Grange Park, Illinois, won First Place in WIU's 2009 Phi Kappa Phi (Honor Society) Undergraduate Research Paper Award competition. Mr. Bednar's paper, "The Social Institution of Dueling in Antebellum America (1800 - 1830)," was originally written for Dr. Timothy Roberts's class, History 414 (Early American Republic).

Mr. Bednar spent several months researching the phenomenon of dueling in antebellum America. He focused on numerous primary and secondary sources from across the nation and Europe, constructing a picture of dueling as a social necessity, rather than an expression of overt violence. By delving into the social, cultural, and political motivations behind this unique practice, he was able to draw comparisons between regional sentiments regarding honor and public assessment of individual action. Mr. Bednar has found this intensive study of nineteenth-century social norms to be a rewarding experience, and has future plans to develop this scholarship into his senior honors thesis, and eventually, a dissertation for graduate school.

In recognition of his outstanding research paper, Mr. Bednar will receive a $300 honorarium from Phi Kappa Phi. He and his mentor, Dr. Roberts, will be honored at the university's Phi Kappa Phi Annual Awards Ceremony and Banquet on Sunday, April 5, 2009, announced Dr. Michael A. Romano, Chair of the Phi Kappa Phi Student Paper Award Committee and Professor of Biological Sciences.

Mr Bednar, who holds a Charles Sadler Memorial Scholarship from the History Department, is a member of the History honor society Phi Alpha Theta. He is co-editor of the WIU Phi Alpha Theta chapter's new on-line journal of student research, the Western Illinois Historical Review. He joins recent WIU History alumni Alex Heuer, Ashley Eberle, and Steve Catania in the ranks of the History Department's Phi Kappa Phi Award winners.

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