Alpha Beta Beta is the Washburn chapter of the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society.  Our chapter hosts many activities for the benefit and enjoyment of our members.  We sponsor guest speakers, forums, debates, scholarly seminars and other programs in cooperation with local and area historical societies.  Regional activities include biennial conventions and professional conferences.

All members of the honor society are inducted through the local Phi Alpha Theta chapter at their respective college or university.

Undergraduate students must complete a minimum of 12 semester hours (four courses) in history, achieve a minimum GPA of 3.1 in history and a GPA of 3.0 or better overall. Eligible candidates must also be in the top 35% of their class. Students enrolled in an online program are not eligible. Membership is not limited to history majors.


Spring 2015

Spring 2015 Alpha-Beta-Beta Initiation Ceremony

Peterloo (2019)


Thursday, January 23, 6:30 p.m.

Henderson, Room 107

Mike Leigh’s epic film above all else leads toward the culminating massacre, the brutal dispersal of a peaceful demonstration that E. P. Thompson famously labeled “a formative experience in British political and social history.” But Leigh’s focus in on the context for that explosion of violence: the demands for parliamentary reform and universal suffrage urged by middle-class reformers and working-class people of industrial Manchester, in the midst of the economic hard times that followed the close of the Napoleonic wars. Leigh is deeply attuned to the rhetoric of reform, and to the competing rhetoric of ruling elites who saw all such reforming ideas as subversive and revolutionary. “Talk, talk, talk,” Nellie, one of Leigh’s working-class figures, complains, and yes, there’s a lot of that. But the talk closely follows the period’s debates, rooted in historical record.

Selma (2014)


Wednesday, February 12, 7 p.m.

Henderson, Room 107

A key moment in the Civil Rights struggles of the mid-1960s, the historic march led by Martin Luther King, Jr., from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in March 1965, played a central part in forcing the hand of President Lyndon Johnson to speed the push for the Voting Rights Act. ]Ava DuVernay's film Selma (2014) recounts the story of the tumultuous months leading up to that march: King's negotiations with the White House, the work on the ground to organize the march, the brutal police response as nonviolent marchers sought to cross Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge, and the successful second march when the nation's eyes were on Selma. The film is at once the story of a hero, King (brilliantly played by David Oyelowo), and of a grassroots movement, built from the bottom up (and represented in the film by a stellar ensemble cast).

Suffragette (2015)


Monday, March 2, 7 p.m.

Henderson, Room 107

Sarah Gavron’s Suffragette (2015) offers a cinematic account of a working-class woman’s recruitment and activism in the suffrage movement in Britain on the eve of World War I. The film features a careful construction of class dynamics, an atypically direct approach in dealing with tactics of direct action, and astute insights on the ways patriarchal power works systemically (and how different variations support each other, how boss backs up state and husband reinforces boss). This is a period piece with multivalent contemporary resonance that still gets the details right. The movie features Meryl Streep in a near cameo as Emmeline Pankhurst and Helena Bonham Carter in a supporting role, but the show is really all about Carey Mulligan, who is just brilliant as the working-class woman recruited to activism.

Iron-Jawed Angels (2004)

Iron Jawed Angels

Wednesday, March 25, 7 p.m.

Henderson, Room 107

The historical (and cinematic) Alice Paul returned from London radicalized and determined to shake up the American suffrage movement. Hillary Swank (playing Paul) leads a powerful ensemble cast (including Anjelica Huston, Lois Smith, Margo Martindale, Vera Farmiga, and Brooke Smith) in director Katja von Garnier’s account of the tactical debates and struggles among American feminists fighting for the vote in the years before the 19th Amendment. Paul, pushing for more forceful nonviolent action, broke with the older, established National American Women’s Suffrage Association to found the National Woman’s Party: a national instead of local campaign featuring demonstrations before the White House, and hunger strikes when protesters get arrested.

Divine Order (2017)

The Divine Order

Thursday, April 9, 7 p.m.

Henderson, Room 107

As is widely known, it was in the wake of World War I that one country after another in the West embraced women’s suffrage: Britain, Ireland, Germany, and Austria in 1918, Belgium and Luxembourg in 1919, the U.S. and Czechoslovakia in 1920, Switzerland in 1971…. Wait, 1971?? (Ok, to be totally fair, France wasn’t too quick about it either, finally getting around to women voting in 1944, but still, 1971?) So what took Switzerland so long? Petra Volpe’s film about the suffrage struggle in Switzerland doesn’t quite answer that question, but it does pose the interesting other question: what happens if the struggle over women’s suffrage in a conservative, religious Swiss village happens in the 1970s, the era of new sexual freedom, bra burning, women’s consciousness raising, and Betty Friedan? 

Unda (2019)


Monday, May 4, 7 p.m.

Henderson, Room 107

You think hanging chads are difficult? Try securing a fair election in a province beset by a Maoist insurgency when you’ve only got eight bullets left. That’s the story told in Khalid Rahman’s Unda (“Bullet”), a Malayalam-language Indian black comedy based on a real story about the 2014 election in the province of Chhattisgarh. Deepa Antony of the Times of India writes: “Unda is an unbridled entertainer with a heart that makes you root for the Kerala Police. It opens your eyes to the gap between the administration, the bureaucracy, and the working force. It opens your eyes to the fact that the police force is but made of men with human needs, feelings and flaws. And that all the shortcomings and flaws withstanding, they too give up lot for the state machinery to function.”

Election (1999)


Wednesday, May 13, 7 p.m.

Henderson, Room 107

Starring Reese Witherspoon (in her breakout role) and Matthew Broderick (as something like Ferris Bueller grown up and become the teacher), Alexander Payne’s dark comedy about a student election, the too-perfect candidate for class president, and the teacher determined to stop her hilariously turns high school into not just the battleground high school always is, but a metaphor for broader politics. Roger Ebert wrote of the film: “What he's aiming for, I think, is a parable for elections in general--in which the voters have to choose from among the kinds of people who have been running for office ever since high school.” Alexander’s sharply witty script adapts the novel Tom Perrota penned while obsessed about the 1992 election on the one hand, and a pregnant girl running for class president on the other.


Biennial Conventions

“At its biennial convention, undergraduate and graduate students have the opportunity to meet distinguished historians and to present their own research papers. Phi Alpha Theta is one of the few honor and professional historical societies that encourages student participation in all its functions. Prominent historians also appear on the program of every biennial convention, so that members of the Society have the opportunity to learn of their contributions to historical scholarship. Students and professors have the opportunity to meet others interested in history, and in their own fields of specialization, while enjoying the social and intellectual dialogue that occurs. The biennial convention is highlighted by special events and tours of sites of historical interest. Phi Alpha Theta underwrites a portion of the cost of transportation for the delegate from each chapter attending the convention.”

Professional Conferences

“Phi Alpha Theta presents special programs at the annual meetings of the American Historical Association, The Historical Society, the Organization of American Historians, the Southern Historical Association, the Southwestern Social Sciences Association, and many state Historical associations. Phi Alpha Theta sponsors paper sessions at many of these professional conferences, enabling students to present their research and receive critical evaluation from faculty from a wide variety of institutions of higher learning. We are also currently establishing a closer relationship with the Society for Military History.

2016-2017 | 2015-2016 | 2014-2015

2016-17 Events

The Producers

Restaurant Republic


The Witch




Blazing Saddles




2015-2016 events


Captain Blood



Blazing Saddles


Do The Right Thing

Planet Negro



Richard III



Monty Python

2014-15 Events

Ukraine forum  Jimmy P  AA Propaganda  Congo  Ferguson  The General Iraq  Vampire  Kuroneko  Western Front  Life of Brian  The Interview  Heat of the Night Defanging the Beast  Ida Yemen  Hannah Arendt  History of the World

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