Matt Luciani ’16 explores the environmental history of the American southwest

Matt Luciani ’16
Matt Luciani ’16

Matt Luciani ’16 spent 10 weeks this summer combing through family papers, military letters, art, diaries and newspapers at the Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library of Yale University as part of his research into the environmental history of the southwest.

After carrying out preliminary research in Connecticut College’s Shain Library as part of a Sophomore Research Seminar offered by the History Department, Luciani received a stipend from the Mellon Foundation to extend his exploration into the collection of one of the nation’s foremost research centers.

Luciani said his research, “American Waste-bins: Land, Environmental Conquest, and the Indigenous Plight, 1600-1850” challenged him to grapple with a wide variety of materials, “as well as contextualize environmental philosophy within the histories of American Indians.” He plans to develop the research into an honors thesis during his senior year.

With the help of the College’s career center, Luciani drew upon the College’s network of alumni to connect with Ph.D. candidate Lindsay Schakenbach ’06.

“She was extremely helpful in aiding me in my research, both in framing a question as well as finding sources,” Luciani said.

Associate Professor of History Leo Garofalo said he is looking forward to helping Luciani further develop his research.

“Matt is an impressive example of what a student in the second year of college can discover and the unexpected connections that he or she can make across a several seemingly distinct time periods.” Garofalo said.   

September 15, 2014