Miguel Hernandez History graduate

Historical gold for Spain

First the tennis, then the football and now a Spaniard triumphs as this years highest achieving history graduate at the University of Exeter’s summer graduation. 

Miguel Hernandez, a native of Madrid has been studying history at the University’s Cornwall Campus and is considered the best modern history student across both campuses with his winning dissertation on Bonnie and Clyde.  

The dissertation was based on a file of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that detailed their investigation into Bonnie and Clyde. The file had never been studied by historians before as it had been lost and only re-discovered in 2009. Miguel said, ‘I chose to write my dissertation on Bonnie and Clyde and the FBI mainly because there was a gap in the historical record, a gap I could fill in. I did have an interest in American criminals, as during my second year I studied a course in Law and Order in America but I mainly wrote my dissertation on this subject because it was such an original subject, and I could really be innovative with it.’

Gaining a first class degree Miguel is certainly the golden boy and he was also the youngest student in his year, arriving at the Cornwall Campus before be was even 18 years old. Understanding the English language was not an issue for Miguel as his mother is an English teacher and had only spoken English to him in the home, giving him an impressive grasp of the language.
He decided to study in Cornwall for a variety of reasons, mainly location and the curriculum and the Humanities and Social Science staff of at the Cornwall Campus, Penryn.

‘Even though I am from a big city, urban life is not for me and Cornwall provided a pleasing change of pace and an amazing surrounding.’ I also chose Cornwall because most of the other universities offered very traditional history that focuses on British and European History, while the University of Exeter stood out for its interesting courses.’

He added, ‘I really enjoyed working with Professor Ilan Pappé, one of the leading experts on ethnopolitics and history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and with Dr Kristofer Allerfeldt who showed me another side of American history.’

Dr Kristofer Allerfeldt a lecturer in History said, ‘His interest in US history has meant that I have taught him in each year of his studies here. I am pleased to say that given this impressive record, Miguel has decided to stay on at Exeter, doing an MA in history and looking to carry on to a PhD and I have no doubt he will do equally impressive things with these qualifications.’

'Bonnie and Clyde advanced their education and made their graduation into the banking business – reach for the sky sweet talking Clyde would holla as Bonnie loaded dollars in the julap bag!’ are lyrics from ‘The Ballard of Bonnie and Clyde’, sung by Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames. The lyrics subtly refer to advancing education, but for Miguel it is into the prestigious world of academia.

Date: 21 July 2010

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