Undergraduate Fellows


Working on my project the past weeks has been eye-opening in many respects. I found that operating within WordPress’s framework, my ideas were reduced and confined to preexisting templates and themes. I have since spent time learning the basics of HTML, CSS, and have collaborated with a good friend and computer science student at W&L, Mitch Olson, to begin the structuring of the website from “scratch.” Thus far, the website has been written in the web application framework Ruby on the Rails, however, we are in the process of transferring this into Python, a programming language with which Mitch and I are both more familiar.

In the meantime, I have begun my investigation of the history of the refugee crisis, focusing my attention primarily on the roots of the Syrian Civil War. The art of telling history is profound, and using the internet as a medium through which to tell history is of particular interest to me. I began my research by reviewing articles written during the start of the uprisings in Syria in March of 2011. By cross-referencing articles from major newspapers, I have begun to uncover events which are of great significance in the history of this crisis.

In piecing together the historical puzzle of the Syrian Civil War and the refugee crisis, I have been prompted to contemplate the purpose of my endeavor in telling this history. What is the purpose of history? In my initial approach, I gravitated towards a history of “truths”, or facts, and of numbers and figures as a means through which one can best tell a convincing story. I have come to realize, however, that objective truth in history is a moot point, in part because I concur that the only truths that exist are subjective and unique to each individual’s experience. Thus, I will tell a history of personal experience, focusing on occurrences rather than numbers, and using the the internet to unify different virtual media through which a viewer can begin to understand the reality of the transpired and transpiring events.

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