Each year, the Graduate College sponsors Research and Performance Day, at which students from across the university present the results of their current research, paintings, photography, sculpture, video etc. through the use of portfolios, posters, slide and video shows. This year, the event was held on March 2 at the National Weather Center on OU’s South Campus. Two second-year students in the program, Margaret Gaida and Royline Williams-Fontenelle, participated by submitting posters of their MA thesis research. Margaret’s project, "Tunnel Vision: Cross-Cultural Appropriation in Medieval Optics," focuses on the optical theory of Ibn al-Haytham, whose treatise on light and vision, Kitāb al-Manāẓir, was translated into Latin and influenced European scholastic work on the same topics. Royline’s thesis, "To Provide Evidence of Black Ingenuity on the Antiguan Sugar Plantation, 1770 - 1841," investigates the use of traditional African agricultural technologies in Antigua between 1770 and 1841.
History of Science
First Place Award in Education, Fine Arts and Humanities B
To Provide Evidence of Black Ingenuity on the Island of Antigua: 1770-1841
In the second half of the 18th century the West Indies welcomed the largest number of slaves of any region during the entire slave trade (l,117,594 and 1,158,452 between 1751-1775 and 1776-1800 respectively). Because these slaves were armed with praedial and other technical skills, subsistence techniques, and formal and informal communication networks, these record breaking numbers suggest that the West Indian plantation system benefited significantly from Africa's 'brain drain' at this time. I am convinced then that an evaluation of the West Indian plantation society tells a far richer story about black ingenuity than most historians realize. By searching for instances of innovation while focusing on aspects of assimilation, creolization, and acculturation, in my research, I highlight how blacks improved upon their conditions, and even those of whites, by applying and adapting these their traditional techniques.
History of Science
McNair Choice Award in Education, Fine Arts and Humanities A
Tunnel Vision: Cross-Cultural Appropriation in Medieval Optics
In the late 12th century, the magnum opus of the great Arab physicist and mathematician Ibn al-Haytham was translated from Arabic into Latin. This seven-volume work on optics, or the science of vision, synthesized Euclid, Ptolemy, Aristotle, Galen, and the work of Arab scientists into a coherent treatise on light, sight, and cognition. This project examines what happens to the Latin version of this text in the hands of the English friar Roger Bacon, whose own philosophical and theological agenda complicates and obscures Ibn al-Haytham's treatise on vision.