History and Art History
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

History Major Kyle Filter Presents Work at National Conference on Undergraduate Research


All history majors at Mason receive extensive training in historical research and must produce at least one major research project before they graduate. Some of those students take the brave step of presenting that research at scholarly conferences.

One student who recently took this step is Kyle Filter, a senior with a special interest in African history. Kyle took Dr. Benedict Carton’s historical methods class in fall 2016 and decided to write his research paper on John Dunn, the infamous 19th-century “White Zulu Chief” who was born and raised in South Africa as a white settler but married 48 Zulu wives. Kyle combed through British Colonial Blue Book records from the 1870’s to shed new light on this fascinating historical figure.

Kyle submitted an abstract of his paper to the board of the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), in the hope of sharing his research at NCUR’s annual conference in Memphis, Tennessee. The proposal was accepted, and in April 2017, Kyle presented his paper. Kyle reports that the conference was a wonderful experience, despite the almost thirty-hour round-trip bus ride to and from Memphis. He remarked, “Spending three days among the brightest young academics in the nation (and eating great barbecue) was an incredible experience.” An added bonus, he notes, was meeting University of Memphis History Professor Dennis Laumann, whose book on the European colonization of Africa was required reading for his class. Kyle will write another research paper for his capstone research seminar in fall 2017, and has every intention of submitting it for consideration at NCUR again.

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