Sean McLeary is a first-generation, low-income student whose education is top priority, despite the unconventional academic trajectory his life has followed. At fourteen years old, Sean began working full-time at a dusty and quaint used bookstore in the San Francisco bay area. By sixteen, Sean had moved away from home and began traveling the world, returning to bookstores and the comfort he found in reading. Sean McLeary’s young adulthood was spent enriching his intellectual and emotional life. Sean read Don Quixote de la Mancha for the first time while living with the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico, devoured the works of Knut Hamsun and studied utopian fiction while working as a tree surgeon in Ireland, took a course on Primate Behavior and Ecology on the rainforested Nicaraguan volcanic island of Ometepe, and explored Latin American history and politics while traveling through Cuba. It is these experiences, among many more like them, which have allowed Sean to understand his academic interests, proclivities, and passions.
Sean’s primary field of interest is Intellectual history (the history of human ideas-and the social circumstances which both facilitated and hindered these ideas). Sean McLeary is a Philosophy minor who can read Spanish and is currently entering his second year of French language study. At the 2013 Southern Oregon Arts and Research event, Sean presented “Gustave Doré – An Artist and Intellectual in Multiple Genres” and was one of three students chosen for the honor to present their research findings at an event for the Southern Oregon University’s “President’s Circle.” During the summer of 2013, Sean McLeary researched representations in the media of three immigrant groups in American history-the Irish, the Chinese, and Latin Americans. Sean will present his findings at the 2014 Southern Oregon Arts and Research event. This student is looking forward to the challenges and opportunities of graduate school and the discipline it will give him in enriching his intellectual life. Topics of great interest to Sean within his discipline are: periods of high transculturation, revolutions/rebellions, institutional “lag”, and the periods of the middle ages and renaissance.
In September 2014, Sean McLeary will travel to Crete. Sean will visit the Palace at Knossos, the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, and the Historical Museum of Crete. Sean will explore his fascination with Minoan culture and its influence on western society. Sean will visit key archaeological locations- focusing on Doric Greece in particular. This student will be researching academic texts regarding Cretan/ Minoan/ Doric arts and architecture, political history, the local history of “homosexuality” and the social influence of the Doric Cretans throughout the Mediterranean. Concurrently, Sean will also visit pertinent archaeological and historical locations, and discuss the range of identities and beliefs of modern Cretans with locals.
Sean McLeary’s long-term educational goal is to earn a Ph.D. in History, with a focus on Intellectual History or other comparable program. Sean has had a lifelong interest in human history, the arts, and evolutionary biology. Sean McLeary is predominantly interested in becoming a college professor after graduate school and looks forward to positively contributing to the social community and adding his voice to the legacy of American Intellectual historians.
Mentor: Dr. Sean F. McEnroe, Associate Professor of History
SOU McNair Scholars Journal 2013
2013 McNair Scholar Symposium