Senior Elizabeth Rudge Studies Modern Middle Eastern History Through IREH


Credit: Grace Ranerio

Liz Rudge works during her individual working period. She meets with the rest of the cohort in the IREH program multiple days in the cycle.

Over the course of the school year, a number of selected students get to participate in an independent research study on a topic of their choice in either science or history. Senior Elizabeth Rudge was chosen to study a topic for IREH and was interested in studying middle eastern history.
The head of the history department, Christopher Loomis, was excited to talk about this program.
“The idea behind IREH is that it’s a kind of capstone research course in the humanities, whether students are pursuing English-related projects or history-related projects, the idea there is they take their research and analytical and writing skills that they’ve learned in the regular curriculum and are applying that to projects they are designing,” he said.
Loomis said that the work the students are doing is a real scholarship as they come up with their original ideas. The aspect that he loves the most about IREH is how passionate and curious the students are and how it’s a great opportunity for them.
In general, students get individual work periods to continue with their research. Occasionally, speakers, or researchers, will come in and give presentations or play podcasts for the students in IREH.
Liz Rudge is studying middle eastern history during her research periods.
“I wanted to do my research on this topic because Hackley doesn’t offer modern middle eastern history…and I wanted to explore something I didn’t know anything about,” she said.
Going into the year, she reflected on what she worked on last year, which inspired her independent research project.
“I wrote a paper last year in 20th Century that I really enjoyed about the Arabist movement after World War II, so predominately about Saudi Arabia and how they responded to the Arabist movement with royalist movements,” Liz said.
Originally, she went into her senior year thinking she wanted to write about the Supreme Court, but after finding a book over the summer called Lord of the Desert: The Battle Between the United States and Great Britain for Supremacy in the Modern Middle East, she quickly changed her mind. By the end of the year, she will have written an essay as it is the medium that she feels the most comfortable with and will be the best way to express herself and her research.