Meet our Graduate Assistant, Rebecca Mills

Hello! My name is Rebecca Mills, and I am one of the graduate assistants for the Atlas of Drowned Towns team. I joined the Atlas in August 2023 and will remain on the team for the next two years.

I am originally from Caldwell, Idaho, and received my B.A. in History from the University of Idaho in May 2023. I returned home after I graduated to spend the summer with my family before beginning my graduate studies this fall. As a native of the Pacific Northwest, I am interested in learning more about how river development projects affected members of displaced communities.

Growing up, my family and I often took summer trips to Oregon, where we visited famous landmarks, like the Bonneville Dam. I remember listening to the tour guide explain how the dam’s turbines provide electricity to the Pacific Northwest. Looking back, I realize that I never learned about the consequences and long-term impact of these massive river development projects on small communities. I am excited to be part of a team that seeks to rediscover these lesser-known histories and encourage future generations to consider the human costs of dam building. As a historian, it is my job to take into account all perspectives when crafting an accurate narrative about the past.

During my graduate career, I want to expand upon my previous research that analyzes how visual media illuminates an understudied aspect of the American Revolution: how cartoonists employed women as representations of revolutionary ideas. Toward the end of my undergraduate degree, I became curious about how Americans used political cartoons to convey their views about who did and did not deserve political rights in the new republic. I wanted to answer two questions in my undergraduate thesis: how were women depicted in revolutionary images, and how did these images spark discussions about whether women should have the same rights as men? These questions will become the primary focus of my graduate public history project as I seek to create a digital humanities website that visualizes women’s rights during the Revolution. Through this project, I hope to educate others about a different perspective of the Revolution that is not usually discussed.

 My research about the American Revolution and the goals of the Atlas Project aligns with my personal views about history. I believe that for history to serve as a guide for the present and future, historians should craft narratives that consider and respect diverse perspectives. With this belief in mind, I look forward to contributing to a project that seeks to uncover forgotten histories and use them to construct a more complete story about dams and displacement in the Pacific Northwest.

Please continue to check out our social media pages to stay updated on our latest research and programming. We look forward to seeing you in Detroit, Oregon, for the History Jamboree on October 21-22. You can find us on Facebook and Instagram.

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