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

Receive updates for this collection

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.

Byzantium, Political Agency, and the City: A Case Study in Urban Autonomy During the Norman Conquest of Southern Italy

Date created: 
2014-05-16
Abstract: 

At the turn of the first millennium, a group of Norman adventurers arrived in the Byzantine territories of southern Italy and within a century had conquered the entire region, putting an end to imperial rule in the Mezzogiorno. This thesis examines the reactions of cities to the Norman Conquest as imperial forces crumbled in the face of their advance. After centuries of Byzantine rule in the region, urban polities had grown accustomed to a mode of government that acknowledged the legitimacy of popular political participation, which may have had its roots in the often ignored republican heritage of citizens of the Eastern Roman Empire. The presence of political agency challenges our conception of imperial authority as tyrannical and unresponsive. In the final analysis, cities exhibited hitherto unacknowledged political agency as they sought to defend their urban autonomy during the transition to Norman rule at the close of the eleventh century.

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

Managing Macedonia: British Statecraft, Intervention and ‘Proto-peacekeeping’ in Ottoman Macedonia, 1902-1905

Date created: 
2013-11-21
Abstract: 

Political violence in Ottoman Macedonia in 1902-03 prompted the European powers to impose stronger reform measures on the Ottoman Empire. This study analyzes British policy toward Macedonia during the Balfour administration from 1902 to 1905 through a detailed examination of diplomacy, domestic politics, and events ‘on the ground.’ The main contention is that the British maintained a proactive and solution-oriented policy within the framework of the multilateral reform process. Importantly, they sought to calm the violence through the establishment of a prototypical peacekeeping force. In many respects, the British approach to events in Macedonia was a successful exercise in crisis management. Preemptive measures to mitigate and prevent a crisis helped prepare the British government for the crises that occurred. When events escalated during the Ilinden Uprising in the summer of 1903, British officials were able to respond effectively and even opportunistically, using knowledge and pragmatism to navigate through the crisis. The British government positioned itself to recover from the crisis in the short term and play a more prominent role in the fledging Mürzsteg Reform Program. The British became convinced that the deployment of European military attachés or soldiers was the key to bringing peace to Ottoman Macedonia. Their ideas for this ‘peacekeeping’ force and a stronger reform mandate was influenced by previous interventions in the Ottoman Empire, local observations in Macedonia, and knowledge gleaned from imperial rule. Under the terms of the Mürzsteg Reform Program of 1903, a contingent of European officers deployed to train the Ottoman gendarmerie and undertake peacekeeping tasks. The relative success the British officers enjoyed convinced British officials to lobby for a more robust deployment and mandate. Although the Mürzsteg Reform Program was short-lived, it stands as an intriguing chapter in the conceptual history of peacekeeping, and suggests that early peacekeeping was the product of an imperial genealogy.

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

Women in red serge: Female police bodies and the disruption to the image of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Date created: 
2013-10-28
Abstract: 

The arrival of women in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in the mid-1970s disrupted the masculine image of a police force that was intimately connected to idealized Canadian manhood and the formation of the nation. Yet, women have been noticeably absent from the historical record of the RCMP, allowing the figure of the heroic male Mountie to continue his dominance in official, academic, and popular histories. Central to these discourses has been the male police body which has been positioned as the only body capable of enforcing the law in Canada. In contrast, this history argues that between 1974 and 1990, female Mounties renegotiated and resisted the gendered interpretation of the police officer as masculine. In the process, the female police body emerged as a disruptive force that challenged the carefully crafted and longstanding masculine image of the RCMP. Oral narratives reveal how female Mounties rejected male standards of policing that stripped them of their power and positioned them as inferior, rather than equal, figures of civic authority. Instead, female Mounties actively worked to define themselves as equal members of the RCMP on their own terms, challenging ideas about women as the subordinate sex. The alternative policing methods they brought to the occupation contradicted conventional understandings that equated brawn and physical strength with effective policing. In response, men of the RCMP who were opposed to women in the force engaged in a number of harassing tactics in an attempt to reassert their power and control over both female Mounties and the masculine image of the police force.

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

Social status, the Patriarch and Assembly Balls, and the transformation in elite identity in Gilded Age New York

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-01-22
Abstract: 

As exclusive upper-class balls that represented a fraction of elites during the Gilded Age, the Patriarch and Assembly Balls were sites where the Four Hundred engaged in practices of distinction for the purposes of maintaining their social statuses and of wresting social power from other fractions of elites. By looking at things such as the food, décor, and dancing at these balls, historians could arrive at an understanding of how the Four Hundred wanted to be perceived by others as well as the various types of capital these elites exhibited to assert their claim as the leaders of upper-class New York. In addition, in the process of advancing their claims as the rightful leaders of Society, the New York Four Hundred transformed elite identity as well as upper-class masculinity to include competitiveness and even fitness and vigorousness, traits that once applied more exclusively to white middle-class masculinity.

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

Parading Anxieties: Drumcree, Sectarianism, and the Contested Production of Knowledge in Peace Process Era Northern Ireland

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-09-13
Abstract: 

The conflict over the Drumcree parade that erupted less than a year after the IRA announced its landmark 1994 ceasefire acted as a lightning rod for the social anxieties being brought on by the acceleration of Northern Ireland’s peace process. This thesis argues that Drumcree provided a significant forum in which the public in Northern Ireland debated and contested the social, economic, and political changes being wrought by the process. It examines the public conversation about Drumcree to show that the mid-1990s saw Protestants and Catholics beginning to grapple with the changing power relationship between them that was a central characteristic of this period, identifying Drumcree as a space wherein the dynamic nature of the sectarian divide becomes visible to historians. It suggests that the perceived significance of the outcome of the dispute led participants on both sides to attempt to influence public perception of Drumcree through the production of knowledge about the conflict, and prompted those critical of the conflict to resist the imposition of these competing narratives.

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