Second Northwestern graduate student receives scholarship from Westerners International for research project

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Second Northwestern graduate student receives scholarship from Westerners International for research project

September 27, 2016

Eric Carnes, a graduate student from Enid studying in Northwestern Oklahoma State University’s Master of Arts in American Studies degree program, received a $1,000 scholarship from Westerners International, a non-profit foundation that stimulates interest and research in the history of the North American West.

Dr. Shawn Holliday, associate dean of graduate studies, recommended Carnes for the scholarship from the research he conducted for his his AMST 5103/Introduction to American Studies course.

Carnes is the second Northwestern student to receive the scholarship. Alumna Rebekah Wagenbach received the first graduate scholarship offered by Westerners International in 2014.

For Carnes’ major research project, he discussed steam beer as it used by author Frank Norris in his 1899 novel, “McTeague: A Story of San Francisco”.

As Carnes notes, “The most likely brand drank by the character McTeague is called Anchor Steam Beer or better known at the time the novel was written as California Common. The history of American Steam Beer dates back to the American gold rush days of the west coast mining camps. Toward the end of the 19th century, steam beer had become one of the most popular beverages along the west coast, especially in San Francisco.”

Later, Carnes connects the character’s penchant for drinking with spousal abuse, an activity common in 19th Century America. This was especially true of men who drank steam beer since it served as a “cheap substitute for the more expensive alcoholic beverages available to the characters,” all of whom are members of America’s working class.

Westerners International’s home office is based at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. It offers not only scholarship opportunities but also a place to publish papers and research projects for its graduate student members. It is because of these opportunities that Northwestern’s Graduate Studies Office has partnered with Westerners International.

For more information on Northwestern’s Graduate Studies program contact Holliday at (580) 327-8589 or