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

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Atoms for Annan: The Chapelcross Works nuclear station, technopolitics, and British nuclear culture in the Dumfriesshire region of Scotland between 1955-1979

Date created: 
2018-05-01
Abstract: 

This thesis examines the history of the Chapelcross Works nuclear station and the local, regional, and national politics around the plant from 1955 to 1979. It looks outward from the plant's history to view the convergence of technopolitics and nuclear culture in Scotland during the Cold War. The thesis argues that the problem of autonomy from versus integration within the British Nuclear State often shaped how Scottish institutions, civil society groups, and individuals dealt with Chapelcross station and crafted strategies around their differing agendas. It also shows how some people in Dumfriesshire challenged official UK nuclear policy and official narratives.

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

Three reincarnations of the Smilin' Buddha Cabaret: Entertainment, gentrification, and respectability in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside 1952-84

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-02-23
Abstract: 

The Smilin' Buddha Cabaret operated at 109 East Hastings Street in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside (DTES) neighbourhood from 1952 until the late 1980s. Over its forty year history, this club hosted variety shows, striptease dancers, and musicians from the city's jazz, rhythm and blues, and punk rock music scenes. Today, the building that was home to the Smilin' Buddha sits in the middle of a neighbourhood undergoing a contested transformation as new upscale develops redefine the historically low-income, working-class neighbourhood. At the same time, the club is being creatively reinterpreted as a symbol of the city's postwar prosperity and rich entertainment history where it was once described primarily as a skid row dive bar. This thesis traces the changes through the history of the Smilin' Buddha to understand how the club and its entertainment evolved in relation and in opposition to the development of the neighbourhood's built environment, geography, and identity. Through this, I argue that the development of the Smilin' Buddha and the wider DTES has never been the result of natural market forces; instead, it has always been a site of negotiation and contestation among multiple overlapping interests who do not have equal access to power. At the same time, it has been a site of cultural vitality, even if it has not been a site of economic vitality.

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

“Sisterhood is powerful, but not easy:” Conflict, American imperialism, and splintering at the 1971 Vancouver Indochinese Women’s Conference

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-02-21
Abstract: 

From April 1 to 6 over six-hundred North American women met with six Indochinese delegates during the 1971 Vancouver Indochinese Women’s Conference to discuss anti-war activism and build an anti-war and anti-imperial global sisterhood. Rather than bring women together, the struggle for sisterhood divided women, inciting conflict and confrontation throughout various stages of conference planning as well as during various plenary sessions. In chapter one I argue that the VIWC was an exercise of American imperialism on Canadian soil. Because of American imperialist attitudes, many Canadian women found sisterhood with those of their own national identity. In chapter two I argue that despite the rhetoric around unity and sisterhood, the VIWC actually accelerated splintering amongst participating women’s groups. This should not be seen as a failure; rather it was indicative of change both at the conference and within the women’s movement in general.

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

Early modern reforestation: The case of the Ottoman Western Balkans

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-09-25
Abstract: 

The scholarships has shown that humans were depleting early-modern forests globally. This study examines the case of the Ottoman Western Balkans, where forests were able to regrow in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries despite the Porte’s intention, as evidenced by the political centre's leading economic ideas, policies and actions, to foster demographic and agricultural growth at the expense of forests. While limited timber extraction supported the local demands of urbanization, industry, and militarization, the main trend was the one of reforestation. The trend is described by contemporary observers of these forests, and is indicated by regional reductions in rural life security, the growth of pastoralism at the expense of agriculture, the relative geographical isolation of the region from major trade routes, and by the variable climate of the Little Ice Age. Istanbul’s political elites failed to create social conditions conducive to demographic growth, agricultural expansion, and forest exploitation.

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

Finding Muhammad Qutb: Praising ghosts online, a different Qutbian legacy and Islamic revivalism in the Gulf

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-08-30
Abstract: 

Muhammad Qutb (1919-2014) was an Egyptian ideologue credited with establishing the theoretical basis for the Sahwa movement (Islamic Awakening) in Saudi Arabia during his self-imposed exile to the Kingdom (from 1971-2014). Although Muhammad Qutb held a number academic positions in Saudi Arabia, he was also prolific writer, orator, long-standing educator and personal theology teacher to Osama bin Laden. The existing historiographic body focused on Qutbian thought has ignored Muhammad Qutb, in favor of his older brother, Sayyid Qutb (1909–1966). This thesis positions Muhammad Qutb not as a keeper of his brother’s intellectual flame, nor as a subordinate, but as a scholar in his own right – with an extensive body of work that remains overlooked. This thesis rescues Muhammad Qutb from the end notes of history by means of interrogating his work within the context in which it was created and offering recognition to Muhammad Qutb as a contributor to the school of thought which bears his name – the Qutbian Ideology.

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

The Sultan-Caliph and the Heroes of Liberty: Heroism, revolution, and the contestation of public persona in the late Ottoman Empire, c. 1900-1918

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-06-07
Abstract: 

Drawing on a variety of Istanbul-based print media sources in Ottoman Turkish (Osmanlıca), this thesis argues that the symbolic politics of public persona played a pivotal role in certain registers of the cultural transition from Hamidian to CUP rule in the late Ottoman Empire. This process was manifested through the anthropomorphic representation of heroism and villainy, concepts that were informed by and tethered to imaginings of “ saviourhood”—i.e., whether certain figures were seen as contributing to or working against the maintenance of the health and fate of the empire in the face of foreign imperialism and separatist nationalism. Moreover, it draws on the category of heroism to demonstrate that the veneration of the ruling members of the Ottoman dynasty (Osmanlı Hanedanı or “the House of Osman”), both past and present, continued to influence forms of identification with the Ottoman state in the wake of the Ottoman revolution of 1908.

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

Rogues Among Rebels: Entanglements between Irish Catholics and the Fishermen’s Protective Union of Newfoundland

Date created: 
2017-08-24
Abstract: 

This thesis explores the relationship between Newfoundland’s Irish Catholics and the largely English-Protestant backed Fishermen’s Protective Union (FPU) in the early twentieth century. The rise of the FPU ushered in a new era of class politics. But fishermen were divided in their support for the union; Irish-Catholic fishermen have long been seen as at the periphery—or entirely outside—of the FPU’s fold. Appeals to ethno-religious unity among Irish Catholics contributed to their ambivalence about or opposition to the union. Yet, many Irish Catholics chose to support the FPU. In fact, the historical record shows Irish Catholics demonstrating a range of attitudes towards the union: some joined and remained, some joined and then left, and others rejected the union altogether. Far from being beholden to the whims of clerics, political elites, or the structural dictates of the economy and of region, Irish-Catholic fishermen made their own decisions about membership. Nevertheless, the pressures of class and ethno-religious solidarities mediated their decisions to engage with the union. This thesis uses a combination of newspaper sources, church correspondence, oral histories, censuses, and election data to unearth the history of Irish Catholics’ complex relationship with the FPU, and argues that this relationship is an example of the entanglements of ethnicity and class in pre-Confederation Newfoundland.

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

British travelers and Egyptian ‘dancing girls:’ locating imperialism, gender, and sexuality in the politics of representation, 1834-1870

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-08-04
Abstract: 

This project examines representations of two categories of Egyptian female entertainers, the ‘awâlim and ghawâzî. By situating Egypt’s ‘dancing girls’ in relation to the socio-cultural context of nineteenth-century Britain, it seeks to determine how gendered dynamics of power were culturally constructed and negotiated around these women. Such an approach breaks from previous historiographical contributions to the topic of Egyptian female entertainers by considering the wider implications of imperial power, gender, and sexuality within the politics of their representation. Chapter Two analyzes the cultural significance of the 1834 banishment of the ‘awâlim and ghawâzî from Cairo, and proposes alternative historical perspectives. Chapter Three explores parallels drawn by British travelogue authors between Egypt’s female entertainers and bourgeois archetypes of masculinity and prostitution. Finally, Chapter Four contemplates the impact of Egyptian ‘dancing girls’ upon British society and interprets the typecasting of the ‘awâlim and ghawâzî as indicative of underlying insecurities relating to imperialism and desire.

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

Proxied perspectives: immigrant and low-income women presented to the royal commission on the status of women, 1968

Date created: 
2017-08-29
Abstract: 

Called in 1967 in response to social unrest, the Royal Commission on the Status of Women accepted letters, briefs, and presentations in support of social and economic parity for women in Canada. This thesis engages briefs submitted to the Commission on behalf of immigrant and impoverished women living in Vancouver's downtown neighbourhoods, penned by agents not part of the community being represented. This study analyzes how marginalized women's experiences were framed by "proxied" representatives to the Commission; by the Commission; and by spectators such as the mainstream newspaper media. Though the Commission was structured to accept proxied accounts as directly representative, this study concludes that additional interrogation of the ambiguity or contradictions in these "proxied" accounts was required for the Commission to more concretely represent what Vancouver's marginalized women required for a chance at social equality.

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

A time to heal: Medical missions and Indigenous medico-spiritual cosmologies on the Central Coast of British Columbia, 1897-1914

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-07-14
Abstract: 

In the late 1890s, the Methodist Church of Canada established medical missions among the two largest Indigenous settlements of the Central Coast: the Heiltsuk village of Bella Bella, and the Nuxalk village of Bella Coola. These medical missions emphasized the provision of biomedical care as an evangelization strategy, since the Methodists believed that God’s grace and power manifested through their integrated medico-spiritual work. Although missionaries attempted to impose Euro-Canadian notions of health and healing, their assimilatory efforts resulted in an unexpected outcome. Rather than abandoning Indigenous healing, the Heiltsuk and Nuxalkmc recognized the limitations of biomedicine but also its advantages, and thus incorporated biomedical care into their cultural beliefs and practices. This thesis examines the convergence of Euro-Canadian and Indigenous healing systems and how it resulted in the emergence of medical pluralism, and considers how this reciprocal process of exchange affected both missionaries and Indigenous peoples.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Mary-Ellen Kelm
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.