|CART grants enable faculty and librarians to pursue research projects. Professors Stanley Hamilton, Jeff Williams and Susan Rayl are among those recently awarded CART grants.|
|Tracing French Civilization in Place Names
Stanley Hamilton, Professor of French
Place names, also known as toponyms, provide unique links to the past. In France, place names are an important source of information about the languages and customs of the Celtic, Romance and Germanic peoples who settled the country centuries ago. I have been investigating the origins of place names for many years during my visits to France, and have presented my research at recent meetings of the American Association of Teachers of French and the Massachusetts Foreign Language Teachers Association. The CART grant which I have been awarded will make it possible for me to visit eight French cities to research their toponyms in local and departmental archives.
The history of French place names begins with the Celtic tribes who settled the country many centuries before the Christian era and whose toponyms survive in almost every region. Many Celtic place names refer to geographical features, such as rivers, swamps and mountains. Thus, the earliest Celtic name of Paris, Lutèce, was derived, according to some sources, from the Celtic terms louk teih, meaning swampland. Other references cite the Celtic roots signifying a sheltered place in the middle of the river, referring no doubt to the islands in the Seine. Paris derives from the name of one of the Celtic tribes, the Parisii, and Amiens, Beauvais, Cahors and Nantes are among the other cities whose names can be traced to Celtic origins.
The Romans invaders of what was then called Gaul brought many imperial place names to their chief commercial and military outposts: modern Angers was named Juliomagus, Troyes was Augustobona. These names did not, however, survive the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century.
It might seem obvious that the name of the country itself, France, was derived from the Frankish invaders who gradually overpowered a weakened Roman Empire. However, the meaning of the descriptive frank originally had nothing to do with ethnic identification. The term is thought to have originally meant wanderer and later brave, courageous, with the suggestion of savagery when we examine the root in Scandinavian languages. The later meaning of frank as free or even foolhardy is thought to date from Merovingian and Carolingian times. In any case, a vast band of self-aggrandizing tribes apparently took the term as their collective title. The descendants of the medieval king Childeric took as their title rex francorum (leader of the Franks). However, it was not until 1254, during the reign of Saint Louis, that rex francorum officially became rex Franciae, king of France as opposed to king of the French, denoting Louis domination of a territory rather than a group of people.
The Christianization of France is also reflected in place names, for example, the numerous sites named for saints, the most popular being St. Martin, St. Jean, St. Pierre and St. Germain. According to official records, twelve percent of French communes have a form of saint in their names. Sometimes a particular saint was chosen for political reasons. For example, because of St. Martins reputation for converting pagans, his name exists in many locations where Christian edifices were erected over the ruins of sites of Druidic worship. Place names associated with St. George have evolved very different spellings and pronunciations, including Saint-Jure, Saint-Jory, Saint-Geours, Saint-Jeoires and Saint-Jordy.
Turning from a historical to a linguistic perspective provides additional insights into the origins of place names. Take, for example, the latin root mons, meaning mountain or elevation mount in English. The Latin root is often used alone; on the map of France we find hundreds of places designated as Mons or [le] Mont. Elsewhere, the root is used in composition with a noun, as in Mont-de-Marsan or Mont Dore. Very commonly, le Mont is followed by a village name or a saints name, as in Le-Mont-St.-Michel. Plant names also abound in composition, a reflection of the agricultural uses of the local terrain; for example, Mont-Genèvre, combines [le] mont with genièvre (juniper-berry). Finally, the root is found in combination with adjectives of color, as in Montoire, which blends [le] mont with the Latin aureus (meaning gold). . .
The study of place names thus reveals linguistic processes the ways in which new words are created as well as providing valuable clues to the lives, customs and habits of thought of ancient peoples.
|African-American Womens Basketball in the City: The Mysterious
Girls of Harlem and The Philadelphia Tribune Girls
Susan Rayl, Professor of Movement Arts, Health Promotion and Leisure Studies
The recent formation of both the ABL (American Basketball League) and the WNBA (Womens National Basketball Association) has led to a renewed interest in womens basketball at both the professional and amateur levels. Historically, women began playing various forms of basketball within months of its invention in 1891, and over the past 100 years basketball has proven to be a popular sport for women. Regardless of its popularity, very little historical research has been conducted on amateur or professional womens basketball, and the involvement of African-American women has been especially neglected.
My research project focuses on two African-American womens basketball teams which were active in New York City and Philadelphia during the 1920s, 30s and 40s: The Mysterious Girls of Harlem and the Philadelphia Tribune Girls. A top amateur basketball team for women in Harlem, New York, the Mysterious Girls played both as a preliminary to mens amateur and professional games and in independent matches. The team gained a reputation for excellence throughout the northeast, and although they never received the same level of newspaper coverage as their male counterparts, the Mysterious Girls and other female basketball teams were reported on and supported in the local black press. They were also viewed as a source of pride by the people of Harlem. In 1940, the Mysterious Girls of Harlem were awarded the city trophy in the girls division of the amateur basketball league.
Philadelphia also supported womens basketball teams during the period between the two World Wars. Two of the top African-American womens teams were the Germantown Hornets and the Philadelphia Tribune Girls. Led by Ora Mae Washington, an American Tennis Association champion, and Inez Patterson, who served as business manager, the Tribune Girls were organized in 1931 and sponsored by the Philadelphia Tribune, a prominent black newspaper. The Tribune Girls played black and white teams alike; their opponents included black college, YMCA, club and company teams. They traveled extensively in the northeast and as far south as New Orleans, playing games in the winter and drawing capacity crowds. Between 1931 and 1934, the Tribune Girls maintained a 109 - 12 record, and in 1934, the Pittsburgh Courier praised the Girls as national colored champions.
My research project involves further study of the history of these two teams. I hope to answer such questions as the following:
Answering these and related questions will involve a bit of travelling. I will need to examine the archives at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (a division of the New York Public Library in Harlem, New York) and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame library in Springfield, Massachusetts. These libraries possess microfilms of many local black and white newspapers dating back to the early decades of this century, as well as photo files and player files. Having written my doctoral dissertation on the the New York Rens, a professional mens black basketball team from Harlem, I am familiar with these resources. I also plan to explore the archives of the Philadelphia Free Library in an effort to gather additional information about the Tribune Girls. In addition, I hope to locate and interview former players and their relatives.
Exploring the history of African-American womens basketball will provide us with a more complete picture of urban black communities during the 1920s, 30s and 40s. I also see my work as an attempt to confer on some black athletes, belatedly, the recognition they failed to receive in their own time, when basketball, like most other sports, was almost completely segregated.
|Synthesis and Magnetic Characterization of
Jeff Williams, Professor of Physics
The word magnet may bring to mind the iron bar magnets with one side marked S (south) and the other N (north) which many of us played with as children. These same magnets demonstrated to us the power and mystery of magnetic fields. Magnets and magnetic fields are now an integral part of our daily lives. We use magnets to hang up our childrens art work and A papers on the refrigerator. Computers use magnetism to store information on the hard drive. In medicine we can see our bodies through Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
My work involves studying microscopic magnets in an insulating compound called FeTAC. In our childhood bar magnets, all the microscopic irons are aligned in the same direction. This gives the toy magnet an external magnetic field that allows us to pick up nails. FeTAC is not this type of magnet, even though the magnetism is contained in the iron (Fe) atoms. If I were to give you a crystal of FeTAC, which grows as small (1cm x 3mm x 2mm) yellow bricks, you would not be able to pick up any nails. In fact, at room temperature FeTAC will have no external magnetic field. One of the properties that makes FeTAC special is that the magnetism occurs only in one-dimension. Unlike the toy bar magnet, where all the iron atoms are aligned with each other in three-dimensions, FeTAC only has a magnetic interaction in one direction.
In order to study the magnetism of FeTAC, you must lower the temperature of the crystal. As you lower the temperature the magnetism along one direction grows by having longer and longer chains of iron atoms linked together in the same direction (see figure 1). However, there is no interaction between the chains (see figure 2). For most magnetic compounds, as you continue to lower the temperature these chains of magnets will start to link up in the second and third dimension. This is not the case for FeTAC and is one of the reasons it is a compound of great interest. In fact, FeTAC remains a one-dimensional magnet to the very low temperature of 2 Kelvin (two degrees above absolute zero).
Two studies still need to be carried out on FeTAC to elucidate its properties. One is an ac susceptibility measurement that will be carried out in collaboration with my colleague, Dr. Chris Landee, at Clark University. In this experiment the crystal is placed inside a coil of wire which is sensitive to changes in magnetic field. As the temperature is changed the magnetism is recorded.
The purpose of the second study is to use neutrons to probe FeTACs magnetism. This experiment will be carried out at NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), in Maryland, with another colleague, Dr. Nick Rosov. Neutrons are a great way to explore the internal magnetic fields inside matter. The neutron has its own magnetic moment that will interact with the magnetic fields of the sample. Therefore, it gives us an internal picture of the magnetic interactions in a way similar to that by which the MRI gives us an internal picture of our body. This experiment will be much more difficult because the neutron scattering experiment will need a large crystal (1cm x 1cm x 1cm) of FeTAC. A crystal this size has never been synthesized before. Holding together several large crystals will most likely solve this problem.
Many people have studied FeTAC over the last decade, but it still has several
mysteries. The two above studies will be the culmination of work on this very special
compound. As with much of basic science there is no known use for this compound at the
present. However, who is to say what the future holds?