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

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“Columns of the House” and Proud Workers: Greek Immigrant Women in Vancouver, 1954-1975

Date created: 
2015-11-25
Abstract: 

In this thesis, I study the experiences of eight first-generation Greek immigrant women who moved to Vancouver between 1954 and 1975 by listening to and contextualizing their oral life histories. Looking at their lives before they immigrated, I explore how these women’s gender experiences were very much shaped by religion, class, and rural vis-à-vis urban locations in Greece. I also demonstrate that many exercised agency in this patriarchal culture, and that they were part of the decision-making process that led to immigration in search of a better life. After they immigrated to Vancouver, these women played an active part in supporting their families’ wellbeing, and some also contributed outside the household, offering their assistance to Greek communal organizations. Differences in class and working careers resulted in different narratives about immigration experiences, although the ideal of the kali noikokyra (good housewife) was consistent in their perceptions of proper Greek womanhood. Middle-class and working-class women also had different attitudes towards charitable work, religion, and the Greek community organizations. Both, however, actively contributed to the survival and settlement of Greek immigrant families in Canada. Overall, this thesis examines how gender, class, ethnicity, and religion affected Greek women’s identities before and after they immigrated in postwar period, and how their experiences of immigration altered their perspectives on the place of women in Greek families.

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

"Allah! Wehdat! Al-Quds Arabiya!": Football, nationalism, and the chants of Palestinian resistance in Jordan

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-11-27
Abstract: 

After the Jordanian Civil War in 1970—which saw the Jordanian army defeat Palestinian guerrillas, the death of thousands of Palestinians living in Jordan and the exile of Palestinian political organizations and leaders from refugee camps—Palestinians in Jordan became politically and socially marginalized. Despite these marginalizations, Palestinians in Jordan always had access to sport. This thesis will examine how the football club, al-Wehdat, plays a role in creating and establishing identity and nationalism for Palestinians in Jordan. By using oral history, I move beyond the narrative of a homogenous Palestinian identity and demonstrate the complexities of Palestinian identities. Moreover, utilizing oral history in my thesis challenges the notion of football being cathartic, and demonstrates how al-Wehdat fans are able to: A) manoeuvre within the stadium, despite being under constant surveillance, B) to continue to use al-Wehdat as a political platform, predominantly through their chants, and C) to develop Palestinian identity and nationalism in Jordan.

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

Understanding the Mughal Book of War: A Translation and Analysis of Abu’l-Fazl’s Preface to the Razmnama

Date created: 
2015-12-16
Abstract: 

The Mughal emperor Akbar (1542-1605) commissioned the translation of a number of texts from Sanskrit into Persian, one of his most ambitious projects being the Mahabharata, India’s celebrated epic. Akbar called this the Razmnama or ‘Book of War’ on account of the great conflict at the heart of the narrative. In 1587 he asked his courtier Abu’l-Fazl ibn Mubarak to write a Preface to the Razmnama. This thesis is a study of that Preface. My thesis is divided into several parts. To begin, I look at Abu’l-Fazl and the Translation Bureau, the department set up by the Mughals to undertake translation work. I then turn to the sources that document the translation of the Mahabharata and identify the translation team. After reviewing the scholarship on Abu’l-Fazl’s Preface, I turn to my larger aims: a translation and analysis of the Preface in order to understand Abu’l-Fazl’s relationship to his tasks as a writer and his relationship to the Persian version of the epic. My aims also embrace allied problems, namely Abu’l-Fazl’s understanding of the social groups for whom the translation was intended and his relationship to emperor Akbar.

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

Danza de la Muerte: Greek Arms Dealing in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939

Date created: 
2014-09-16
Abstract: 

In September 1936, both General Ioannis Metaxas and King George II declared it illegal for Greeks to intervene in the ongoing Spanish Civil War. This declaration included a prohibition on the exportation and re-exportation of munitions. Nonetheless, members of the Greek Government permitted Prodomos Bodosakis Athanasiadis, a close friend of Metaxas, and the Greek Powder and Cartridge Company (GPCC) to ship and supply weapons to both sides in the Spanish conflict on a large scale. The objective of this thesis is to examine Greece’s weapons and ammunition sales to the Nationalists and the Republic during the Spanish Civil War as well as Greece’s internal and foreign policies that allowed for these dealings to occur. This thesis will contend that high-ranking members of the Greek Government permitted Bodosakis and the GPCC to sell munitions to both sides of the conflict as an economic expedient despite the ideology of the Metaxas dictatorship.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Andre Gerolymatos
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences:
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Finding Their Voice: The Indian Press and Nikita Khrushchev's 1955 Visit to India

Date created: 
2015-08-14
Abstract: 

This thesis considers Nikita Khrushchev's 1955 visit to India. It demonstrates a correlation between India's foreign policy of non-alignment and peaceful co-existence and domestic concerns about the plight of the majority of its citizens, as Indian elites apprehensive about potential social unrest sought to navigate a course for the nation that would allay such anxieties. It highlights how Khrushchev's trip to India heightened such anxieties among Indian elites, as his rhetoric on development, colonialism, and the West engendered the appeal of socialism among India's poor. This thesis argues that Indian elites reacted to the Soviet visit so as to alleviate their domestic concerns about potential social unrest (and the consequent loss of their privileged position) triggered by the widespread poverty afflicting the country, and to further their foreign agenda, as they responded to the oratory of their guests so as to advance their own aims.

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

A Monument of Destiny: Envisioning A Nation’s Past, Present, and Future Through Shahyad/Azadi

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-08-20
Abstract: 

On October 16, 1971, the Shah of Iran inaugurated the Shahyad Aryamehr Monument. Less than nine years later, with Iran engulfed in the revolutionary events of 1979, the Shah would catch one last glimpse of this structure while leaving for exile. The Shah lost to the revolutionaries, the Pahlavi legacy gave way to the Islamic Republic, and Shahyad was refashioned as the symbolic monument of the revolution, and renamed Azadi (Freedom). This thesis explores the projection of this monument’s image by the Pahlavi monarchy and later its usage and appropriation by the Islamic Republic to explain its greater role in Iranian cultural politics of nation building. By examining the different ways in which the monument was fashioned, re-fashioned and represented this thesis demonstrates that Shahyad/Azadi played a central role within larger efforts of two Iranian regimes to define the nation’s past, present, and future.

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

Capitalism on Trial: Section 98, the Communist Party of Canada and the Battle for Legality in the Interwar Period

Date created: 
2015-08-28
Abstract: 

In 1919, the Canadian state enacted a law that criminalized the advocacy of radical politics. Section 98, as it became, was broad in its terminology, and carried a maximum punishment of twenty years imprisonment. In 1931, the state utilized the law against eight leaders of the Communist Party of Canada in an attempt to declare the organization to be illegal in Canada. The party, however, did not crumble under pressure. At trial, the accused were able to use the courtroom as a forum to protest the legality of the law; after the leaders were convicted, the party campaigned tirelessly for the release of their comrades, and for the repeal of Section 98. The party was successfully able to use its repression to forward its political agenda. This thesis explores how the party navigated Canada’s legal system in order to realize its political goals.

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

Thomas Bentley and 'Monumentes of Antiquities worthy memory': history, memory, and identity in early modern England

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-04-30
Abstract: 

In 1584, Thomas Bentley, a wealthy gentleman and lawyer from the parish of St. Andrew Holborn, compiled his ‘Monumentes of Antiquities’, a manuscript of selected extracts “worthy memory” drawn from the churchwardens’ accounts and other records of St. Andrew Holborn from the reign of Henry VI to 1584. This study argues that that Bentley wrote a chronicle of the parish’s history for a variety of reasons. Chief among them was the desire to preserve the past for posterity, to cultivate piety in the community, to guide future churchwardens in their responsibilities, and to enforce conformity to the Elizabethan settlement in the parish. The ideals attached to Bentley’s social status as a gentleman, his occupation as a lawyer, and his conformist faith defined how he lived and what he determined was important to record in his manuscript. His identity shaped how he perceived and remembered the past.

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

"If you want blood": violence at work in the North American auto industry, 1960-1980

Date created: 
2015-01-08
Abstract: 

Violence in the workplace has attracted widespread scholarly and media attention in the United States and Canada since the 1980s. Governments and corporations on both sides of the border have identified this violence as a serious problem affecting the health and safety of workers. However, there is still much that is unknown about workplace violence. Is the problem of workplace violence more serious than it was today? How has it changed over time? What are the factors that have produced violence at work? How have workers, management, and governments defined violence at work? How have they approached the problem? This dissertation historicizes the phenomenon of workplace violence, investigating on-the-job violence in the North American automotive industry between 1960-1980. It embeds violence at work in its economic, political, and cultural contexts and investigates how violence shaped the North American workplace and identities of class, gender, and race on the job. A comparative, transnational approach is central to this study. If we seek to understand the structural factors causing workplace violence, the national context cannot be ignored. This is especially true when considering the US and Canada, two countries which are extraordinarily integrated economically but often contrasted socially and culturally. My research has uncovered a significant history of violence in the automotive workplaces of Detroit and Windsor, and shows that national and local contexts were crucial in determining the level of violence. Violence was a regular element of shop-floor culture and workplace conflict in both countries, but was different in each. In Detroit, violence at work reached epidemic levels and was a major factor in the crisis that gripped the city's auto plants in the 1960s and 1970s. This was not the case in Windsor. Yet in both cities workplace violence became a major concern outside the factory when work-related murders seized national headlines and challenged citizens to understand these tragedies. The thesis demonstrates that, though the patterns and levels of violence were different in each place, violence was no aberration, no freak occurrence, but an ongoing phenomenon that influenced the labour process and workplace culture in both Detroit and Windsor.

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

Beyond the Rebel Girl: women, Wobblies, respectability, and the law in the Pacific Northwest, 1905-1924

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-02-20
Abstract: 

This thesis is a study of men and women associated with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in the states of Oregon and Washington, from the time of the union’s founding in 1905, to the release of a large group of political prisoners in 1924. IWW membership in this region has long been characterized as single, male, itinerant laborers, usually working in lumber or agriculture, and historians have generally focused on the perspective of this group of men. There were, however, women and men with wives and children who were active members of the organization, especially in the cities of Portland, Spokane, Everett, and Seattle. IWW halls in these cities often functioned as community centers, with family friendly events and entertainment. Women were drawn to the IWW for its radical vision and inclusionary policies, but also for its birth control advocacy and emphasis on freedom of choice in marriage. The IWW also offered women an avenue for activism that did not focus primarily on the fight for suffrage. While female Wobblies (as members of the organization were known) were not against women having the right to vote, they believed that organization in the workplace was the only way to true emancipation. Local law enforcement and vigilante groups often targeted members of the IWW, and women were no exception. During legal proceedings women were questioned about their personal lives and moral values, regardless of their charge. Judges, prosecutors, sheriffs, and city officials challenged their status as respectable women because they were associated with the IWW. Female Wobblies responded by rejecting their characterization as non-respectable women, and by providing their own definition of respectability, which included standing up for ones fellow workers and fighting for what was right. During World War I and its aftermath, continual raids on Wobbly halls and massive arrests of members took a toll on the organization and the radical community in which it functioned, and many of the women in this study ceased to be active members.

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