Amelia Bagwell Chosen to Present Paper at Annual GCHC
Amelia Bagwell, president of the GHC Honors Club, represented Georgia Highlands at the Georgia Collegiate Honors Council Conference on Saturday, Feb. 9 at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, where she presented her paper “Civilizing the Barbarians: Ancient Celts Defined by History, not Ancient Greeks.” To earn the spot she had to jump a few academic hurdles. First she won first place in a competition at GHC’s fall honors symposium held Dec. 2012. As a result, the Honors Program sponsored and submitted her paper to the conference, where it was accepted for presentation from among several hundred. Nearly 30 institutions attended the conference, and represented all sectors of higher education.
Bagwell’s paper argued that the Celts, an ancient society that dominated most of Europe from about 500 to 200 B.C., should be defined as a civilization rather than merely a culture. While the Celtic world meets all the criteria for the definition of a civilization, including large populated settlements, multiple occupations, different ranks and social positions, distinctive styles of art, and trade over long distances, it has been historically derided. Bagwell theorized that the reason Celts weren’t classified as a civilization was because the story of the wars and conflicts between Greeks and Celts were told by a very ethnocentric Greek society. Because the Celts considered writing blasphemous, they left no written account. So the Greeks’ version of Celts as murderous and savage barbarians was the one that had staying power, and it followed them through the centuries, despite the fact that they have long been accepted as a true civilization by historians. Her presentation provided visual evidence of her scholarly research and a point-by-point argument.
Bagwell will be representing GHC later this spring at the national honors conference. She also serves as president of the college chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for two-year colleges.
GCHC is an organization that promotes and supports honors programs throughout Georgia. There are 40 member institutions comprising two- and four-year colleges and universities. Papers chosen for the annual conference must be based on research students have completed as an undergraduate.