History - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Academic Philosophy, the University, and the Politics of Knowledge in Modern Iran

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-03-25
Abstract: 

This thesis inquires into the relationship between academic philosophy and the development of an Iranian state in the twentieth century. It traces the introduction and utilization of Western philosophy within mainly modern academic institutions by state-employed academic philosophers, beginning in the Nasseri era and as a response to European encroachments. Based, in the main, on the prosopography and textual sources of successive generations of Iranian academic philosophers, this thesis contextualizes the process through which Western academic philosophy began as an ingredient in the comprehension of a superior mode of knowledge in the Reza Shah period, became part of a dialectic for the progression of knowledge in the Mohammad Reza Shah period, and eventually ended up the validator of an independent and national epistemology in the Republican period. In particular, through translation and training, the academics that introduced Western works of philosophy into Farsi imprinted an Islamic affinity on them. Thus, Western philosophy was understood through the lens of Islamic philosophy in a relational manner that influenced subsequent research and instruction of philosophy at the University of Tehran leading to the observation that Islamic philosophy never left Iran’s intellectual space. Furthermore, academic philosophy came to be understood as a tool and an object in modern Iran leading to its instrumentalization and politicization. Consequently, academic philosophy was employed as the rational medium in acculturation and nationalism as Iran transitioned to a modern state. Selective works of Western philosophy were interpreted and promoted based on Iran’s relationship to its benefactor, alternating between Britain and the United States in the twentieth-century. This thesis argues that the generation-based, intellectual product of this selective process of conformity and contestation manifests in three periods of philosophical orientation leading to the politicization of philosophy in twentieth-century Iran. These periods produced academics that were engaged, in the main, in what I refer to as the philosophies of the reform movement (roshangarai), the philosophies of Westoxication (gharbzadegi), and the philosophies of hybridity (zu-janbatin). In a little more than a hundred years since its first translation into Farsi, Western philosophy had become a political instrument of the state.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Derryl MacLean
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Choosing “Hell”: Family migrants from Shandong and Manchukuo’s food rationing system in Harbin, 1942-1944

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-17
Abstract: 

This study examines the relationship between migrations from Shandong between 1942 and 1944 and Manchukuo’s food rationing system and the impact of rationing on the everyday life of migrants after their settlement in Harbin, the regional centre of North Manchukuo. Although Manchukuo’s food rationing policies discriminated against Chinese residents by providing them with inferior grains in insufficient quantities, they were nonetheless an impetus rather than an obstacle to migration from Shandong, especially to those who had family and relatives living in Manchukuo. After settling in Harbin, migrants still faced issues related to food because the Manchukuo government revised its food policies and reduced quotas. Moreover, they also faced urban population evacuations and vagrant sweeping campaigns designed to serve the needs of the Japanese empire. Therefore, migrants living in Harbin either purchased grain illegally or left the city as strategies for coping with Manchukuo policies that were unfavourable to them. Employing such theoretical frameworks as “extraordinary everydayness” and a grassroots approach and drawing from oral interviews conducted in Harbin, this project emphasizes the interaction between the state (Manchukuo) and commoners (Shandong migrants). It also emphasizes how Shandong migrants perceived and reacted to Japanese dominion in Manchuria, with a particular focus on the coping strategies they employed to maximize their chances of survival. This thesis argues that although Shandong migrants faced ethnically discriminatory wartime food policies in Manchukuo, they developed different strategies to ensure their survival after settlement, and many migrated voluntarily rather than as a result of Japan’s forced labour policy.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jeremy Brown
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

“When Blue is Green”: Towards a history of workers as environmentalists in British Columbia and beyond

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-12-03
Abstract: 

This dissertation examines the history of working-class environmentalism. It investigates the relationship between work and the environment and between workers and environmentalists. It presents five case studies that focus on the relationship between workers and the environment in British Columbia from the 1930s to the present, with particular emphasis on the forestry industry. Each case study examines how the interests of workers both intersect and conflict with the interests of environmentalists and how this intersection of interests presented itself throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Additionally, this dissertation examines how the working class has historically been constructed as the adversary of nature or wilderness and aims to explore how the working class, resource workers in particular, have come to symbolize that adversarial relationship. As well, it hopes to answer more epistemological questions about why working class environmentalism has not entered our lexicon and how lacking a sense of the working-class environmentalist serves to shape a discourse in which the history of worker environmentalism has been largely passed over. This study also explores how the collective memory of environmentalism has been constructed to exclude notions of class, and thus how environmentalism and the working class have been constructed as mutually exclusive categories. While this dissertation explores the exclusion of working class environmentalism it also attempts to write the worker-environmentalist back into history and show how teaching working class and labour history can help remedy this exclusion.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Mark Leier
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Monuments and the margins: Old age and memories of Scottish Jacobitism in the epitaph of Marjory Scott, 1700-1900

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-09-25
Abstract: 

In c. 1728, the Edinburgh poet Alexander Pennecuik (1684-1730) published an epitaph on the centenarian Marjory Scott of Dunkeld. Over the next two centuries, this text was widely circulated in a variety of media. This thesis argues that the Scott epitaph functioned as a textual monument to the anti-Union and Jacobite politics of Pennecuik’s day, over a period when Jacobite memory was delimited and trivialised in the public sphere. Close study of the epitaph’s original context and its transmission reveals such sources of memory to be highly portable and also flexible, suitable to the heterogeneous identities and memories of Scottish people. As a tribute to a centenarian, the epitaph further opens up an exploration of old age as a conduit for diverse memories and as a multivalent symbol of Scottish identity.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Aaron Windel
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Michael VIII Palaiologos and the Nikaian generation: Roman political culture in the years of exile

Date created: 
2019-07-30
Abstract: 

The present dissertation examines the ways in which Roman officials and dignitaries acted as active agents vis-à-vis the emperor by engaging with the various publics that comprised Roman society in order to gain the public support necessary for the advancement of their careers. It is my aim to explore the communicative actions––oral textual, visual, and material––employed by these officials as they promoted themselves to wider Roman audiences throughout the empire. In order to emphasize the individuality of bureaucrats, I have opted to offer a biographic narrative of a Roman official by the name Michael Palaiologos, who donned the imperial dignity in the very last days of 1258. By following Palaiologos’ public life from his formative years to his imperial coronation, a whole new world of social interactions arises before us and we see individual agents other than the emperor engaging in the public arena of Roman society in the hopes of carving out a place for themselves under the sun. By focusing on the importance of communicative methods in the political lives of Roman officials, I contribute to a wider scholarly conversation about the role wider publics––those who did not dwell at the imperial court––played in shaping the politics of the Roman polity. It is my argument here that the publics’ role was essential not only in maintaining the existing regime, but for advancing an individual’s career within the Roman system of officialdom. In arguing so, I hope to demonstrate the communicative creativity of officials such as Michael Palaiologos, who had to come up with orthodox and unorthodox ways of endearing themselves to specific interest groups in the empire in order for their political lives to prosper.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Dimitris Krallis
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Divided Loyalties:A Study of a Communist-Led Trade Union’s Struggle For Survival in Trail, British Columbia, 1943-1955

Date created: 
2017-07-19
Abstract: 

Abstract“Divided Loyalties” examines a Communist union’s struggle to survive in the post-Second World War environment of anti-Communism and anti-trade unionism that marked one of the most violent periods in the history of the Canadian labour movement. In 1943, Local 480 of the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers in Trail, British Columbia, was nearing the end of a six-year battle for certification as the legal bargaining agent for about 4,000 smelter workers. After it achieved that goal the following year and for the next decade, it faced new battles with the employer, the powerful Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada (CM&S) with its paternalistic president S.G. Blaylock. The local also faced an array of other opponents: a workforce suspicious of a Red-tainted union with a radical past, a company union that had been established by Blaylock after the First World War, a company-loyal newspaper, and a divided community situated in the rural West Kootenay district near the Canada- United States border. Among the local’s most vigorous adversaries were the local churches, the federal government with its secret service police, and the Canadian Congress of Labour (CCL). By the 1950s, it had been purged from the CCL, shunned by the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), and victimized by cold warriors bent on its destruction. To survive it needed to win the support of a substantially immigrant workforce with a strong alternative culture to the dominant Anglo-Saxon one. It had to address the concerns of the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of women war workers who had been hired at lower wages to replace enlisted men. And it fell into the middle of an ideological clash between the region’s two dominant left-wing political parties. Its greatest strength and potential weakness was an unabashed Stalinist named Harvey Murphy. He had been a fugitive from justice and was incarcerated in a war-time internment camp as a threat to national security, but he became an influential leader of the provincial labour movement and an outspoken advocate of workers’ rights who was hated by some and respected by others. “Divided Loyalties” begins with a victory, but Local 480’s survival for the duration of the twelve-year period of this study was far from assured.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Joseph Taylor
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Beehives of knowledge: Cosmographer networks of Sebastian Münster, Gerard Mercator, and Abraham Ortelius (1540-1570)

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-07-25
Abstract: 

Like the classical bee gathering honey from many flowers, sixteenth-century cosmographers built their cosmographies from various sources. I analyse and compare the correspondence of three influential cosmographers, Sebastian Münster (1488-1552), Gerard Mercator (1512-1594), and Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598). The networks of these men, their locations, contacts, and the routes by which information traveled, shaped and limited their cosmographies. These influences challenge prevailing constructions in the historiography on sixteenth-century science which would see Münster as more traditional and medieval, and Ortelius as more empirical and modern. Each cosmographer was looking for novel information in different contexts. Münster and others revealed rigorous approaches to novel Hebrew scholarship and its application to cosmography, rivaling the approaches of cosmographers who applied non-traditional geographical knowledge. The more meaningful contrast I see was between “centred” scholars for whom Hebrew and the Holy Land were central to cosmography, and “fragmented” scholars who worked without a unifying theme.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Luke Clossey
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

“Farmworkers Zindabad!”: Community unionism and the Canadian Farmworkers’ Union, 1978-1986

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-07-18
Abstract: 

At a meeting of the Farmworkers’ Organizing Committee (FWOC) on 6 April 1980, the FWOC officially became the Canadian Farmworkers’ Union (CFU) with the goal of providing better legal protection, immigration services, and overall improved safety standards for South Asian farm workers in the Lower Mainland. The CFU was unable to reach financial autonomy on their own and with a perpetual shortage of dues and heavy reliance on outside support, the CFU affiliated with the larger Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) in 1981. The CFU’s community unionism was unique and suited for their members’ needs but complicated their relationship with the CLC’s vision of a labour movement dominated by business unionism. This thesis demonstrates the CFU’s importance to Canadian labour historiography and provides valuable lessons for those who want to organize in an increasingly neo-liberal dominant society.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Mark Leier
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Transnational Turks, print media, and U.S.-Turkish ties, 1919-1952

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-05-22
Abstract: 

Between 1919 and 1952 four Ottoman and later Turkish editors, journalists, and public intellectuals named Halide Edib Adıvar, Ahmet Emin Yalman, Zekeriya Sertel, and Sabiha Sertel wrote extensively in English and Turkish about the U.S. and new Turkish Republic. Their education at American educational institutions and travel between the two countries allowed them to speak to both Turks and Americans through books and newspaper articles. Previously, information regarding the Ottoman Empire and Turkey came almost solely from American missionaries and Ottoman Armenians and centered on the Armenian Genocide. These figures, however, were able to establish themselves as authoritative voices about the U.S. in Turkey and Turkey in the U.S. I argue that they should be seen as cultural brokers who were able to speak to the inhabitants of both the U.S. and Turkey and strove to influence public opinion in both countries surrounding topics such as national security and democracy.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Thomas Kuehn
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Beyond protest: Foregrounding caregiving and service organizations in gay political responses to the HIV epidemic in Vancouver

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-29
Abstract: 

Scholarship on HIV/AIDS in the United States and Canada has foregrounded the importance of direct-action activism within gay community responses to the epidemic. However, community mobilization efforts in Vancouver were varied and did not begin with direct-action activism. Drawing from oral history interviews with HIV-positive long-term survivors and caregivers, I argue that the story of Vancouver’s AIDS epidemic cannot be adequately told unless community caregiving efforts and early AIDS service organizations (ASOs) are placed front and centre. By providing care to those who were sick and dying and restoring value to the lives of gay men and persons with AIDS, caregiving served as a foundational practical and political response to the epidemic that predated direct-action activism by several years. Indeed, direct-action activism grew out of existing organizational responses to the epidemic in Vancouver – such as safe sex education initiatives – undertaken by the city’s first ASOs. Activists built on the political foundation provided by caregivers and early ASOs while responding to the particular local conditions faced by the city’s gay community. In order to understand community responses to HIV/AIDS in Vancouver, we need to broaden our conceptions of activism to make space for caregiving and various organizational responses to the epidemic alongside overt acts of resistance and protest.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Elise Chenier
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.