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

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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.

No Hobo is an Island: Power and Political Culture in the Federal Work Relief Camps in British Columbia, 1932-1935

Date created: 
2015-01-15
Abstract: 

This thesis explores the political experience of men in the Department of National Defence’s work relief camps in British Columbia from 1932 to 1935, when single, homeless, unemployed, and physically fit men accessed government unemployment relief living and working according to the administration’s policies. In these camps the men found a government administration eager to teach them work discipline, a collection of charities and private groups that promoted an ideal of the working class man in troubled economic times, and organizers with the Relief Camp Workers’ Union attempting to shape strikes that challenged government authority. In this thesis I argue that the unemployed vacillated between these different influences to challenge the government’s palliative relief while also ensuring that they maintained access to relief for as long as possible. This was accomplished by shaping multi-faceted relationships with the government, the union, private charities, and fellow campers.

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

A Clear and Present Concern: The Radical "New History" of Howard Zinn

Date created: 
2014-12-01
Abstract: 

Howard Zinn, an academic, popular, and radical historian, political commentator, and author of the bestselling A People’s History of the United States, has been heavily criticized by those who claim that his history is distorted by his political agenda and thus lacks “objectivity” and “balance.” This study reveals that there is considerable justification for such claims, but also that the same criticisms can be applied with equal justice to the work of some of Zinn’s harshest critics. Zinn argued that genuine historical objectivity is neither possible nor desirable, and wrote history with an unabashedly partisan and “present-minded” approach. On the “objectivity question,” which has long been debated among academic historians, Zinn emulated the “new historians” of the early twentieth century. As a radical historian, he owed much to Karl Marx, but his thought is “Marxian” rather than “Marxist.” As a popular historian, he used literary sources and unapologetic moral and emotional appeals to further his radical agenda.Howard Zinn; popular history; radical history; historical objectivity; presentism in history; new history, progressive history

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

Faith, Foes, Fear, and the ‘Bitter Scourge of War’: Eyewitness Accounts of the Thirty Years War and the Religious War Debate

Date created: 
2014-12-15
Abstract: 

The Thirty Years War, one of the deadliest wars in history, caused great hardship for civilians living in the Holy Roman Empire. This thesis will address the religious war debate, which has dominated the historical narrative for centuries, and will demonstrate that individuals experienced the war in various ways. While faith played an important role in how some perceived the conflict, it was not the only way that individuals understood it. Nor was confessional allegiance the primarily factor for how one determined who was their enemy. The only common experience was the fear felt by each individual. This thesis examines eyewitness accounts of the war, written by religious people: nuns, monks, priests, and pastors. Their stories demonstrate that the narrow label of religious war insufficiently describes what they believed to be the the “bitter scourge” of war.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Hilmar Pabel
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Half-Brothers in Christ: the Church Missionary Society and the Christians of Kerala, 1813-1840

Date created: 
2014-08-28
Abstract: 

In the 1810s, the Church Missionary Society (CMS) established the College at Cottayam in south India to educate boys intended for the priesthood in the local, indigenous church. While their goal was to help the church, their activities increased British power in the community. The results of CMS involvement included increasing interference of British officials in matters internal to the Malankara Church (e.g., episcopal succession), tacit recognition of the authority of colonial courts to resolve disputes in the church, and the fragmentation of the St. Thomas Christian community. These effects reshaped the church into something more consistent with British Christianity and more subject to British rule.

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

Discordant Voices: Vancouver’s Scots Community and the Janet Smith Case, 1924

Date created: 
2014-03-07
Abstract: 

On July 26, 1924, Scottish nanny Janet Smith was found dead in a house in Point Grey, then an independent district south of Vancouver. Chinese houseboy Wong Foon Sing was accused of her murder and the Janet Smith case quickly became a focus for the existing racial tensions in the Vancouver area. This thesis uses primary sources to investigate the reaction of Vancouver’s Scottish community to the death of Janet Smith. It locates the Janet Smith case within recent historical scholarship that separates the Scottish diaspora experience from the British diaspora experience, while also countering hagiographical treatments of the Scots abroad. The thesis examines two seemingly paradoxical Scots reactions to Janet Smith. First, the unity of the Scottish community’s response, symbolised initially by the leading role played by the United Scottish Societies, collapsed under the strain of internal divisions. The Janet Smith case highlighted a fragmented sense of Scottish identity in Vancouver and revealed different civic, provincial and national visions within the city’s Scottish community. Second, this internal disunity existed alongside an unconscious broad range of shared assumptions about power and where it should lie as the Scots patrolled the borders of their ethnic authority against a critical threat from “other”. In this respect they succeeded in preserving a system of “inclusion” and “exclusion” beyond the Janet Smith years.

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