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

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Being Alevi in Turkey: discursive unity and the contestation of communal boundaries, 1980-2009

Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

This study investigates the ongoing reconceptualization of Alevi self-understanding within Turkey since 1980. Departing from previous historiography that has focused on the centrality of festivals for Turkey’s Alevi community, this thesis examines the way in which Alevis have come to achieve discursive unity through intra-communal concern for three critical issues, namely, the Religious Affairs Ministry, compulsory religious education in public schools, and Alevi houses of worship. This study further examines the deployment of an Alevi terminological repertoire that seeks to demonstrate Alevis’ close affinity with “universal values” for the purposes of distancing the community from the country’s Sunni population. Lastly, in exploring how being a “minority” in Turkey has been complicated due to negative perceptions of the 1923 Lausanne Treaty, this study suggests that the case of Alevis sheds important light on the fundamental contradictions of what it means to be a citizen in the contemporary Turkish Republic.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
T
Department: 
Dept. of History - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Cashing in on whales: cetaceans as symbol and commodity along the northern Pacific coast, 1959-2008

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

This thesis traces shifts in how humans related to cetaceans in the late twentieth century. Economic transitions from whaling to whale watching revealed not only a growing affinity for whales, dolphins, and porpoises but also how humans recommodified animals from resources to objects of research, entertainment, and reverence. In the process new cultural and social fissures opened. Cetaceans divided people by class, geography, and race. Views about whales divided over proprietary rights, scientific discoveries, and regional identity. Humans' interactions with cetaceans revealed much about their relationship with nature and with each other. This thesis uses primary and secondary sources, including studies of wildlife and theme park experiences, news media reports, and oral interviews with whale watching workers, scientists, and activists.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
J
Department: 
Dept. of History - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

For liberty, bread, and love: Annie Buller, Beckie Buhay, and the forging of communist militant femininity in Canada, 1918 - 1939

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

During the interwar years, friends Annie Buller and Beckie Buhay established careers with the Communist Party of Canada and forged a uniquely Communist militant femininity that led to their eventual canonization by the Party as ideal comrades. Using a biographical approach to women’s working-class history, this thesis examines these women’s significant contributions to the CPC’s political project as gendered work. It also demonstrates that although their representation of themselves as comrades was organized around their understanding of themselves as workers, it was shaped too by particularities of ethnicity, gender, and other factors that were all subsumed in the Party’s egalitarian rhetoric. Additionally, in exploring how their lifelong friendship supported their construction of Communist militant femininity, and thus enabled their work, this thesis contributes to a developing historiography of friendship that focusses on its work rather than its nature, and that is inclusive of the friendships of working-class women.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
E
Department: 
Dept. of History - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Information and allegations of Catholicism in Elizabethan and Jacobean England

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

This thesis examines several aspects of the enforcement of conformity to the religious and political regimes of Elizabeth I and James I against Catholic political and religious opposition. I discuss the means by which royal and ecclesiastical officials obtained information about suspects through the use of churchwardens, spies, private informers, priest hunters, searchers, neighbours and Catholics themselves; why this information was forthcoming; and the reactions of Catholics and others who found themselves under scrutiny. I argue that those persons whose behaviour might be described as opportunistic, or even malicious, legitimized their actions by adopting the anti-Catholic rhetoric and concerns current in England at this time. Whether used as a tactic of empowerment against enemies, or a route to influence and reward, these acts signalled an acceptance of the argument that Catholicism was subordinate and a threat.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
J
Department: 
Dept. of History - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Bearing the seeds of struggle: Freedomways Magazine, Black Leftists, and continuities in the freedom movement

Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

A number of black leftists survived the most repressive years of the early Cold War to participate in the post-war African American civil rights movement. Among them were the editors of Freedomways magazine, who brought their activist and organizing experiences in Popular Front coalitions in the 1930s and 1940s to bear on the civil rights upsurge of the l95Os-l97Os. As the African American freedom struggle expanded its support of civil rights to encompass anti-Vietnam War, anti-colonial, and anti-poverty initiatives by the mid-1 960s, Freedomways became an important publication linking several generations of black radicals. In particular, it propagated an influential form of radical integrationism -- deeply-influenced by Popular Front ideology and strategy -- that largely succeeded in transcending the factionalism of the black movement in the 1960s and 1970s. Overall, Freedomways' radicalism helps to show important continuities over time in the black freedom struggle.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of History - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

“The art of manipulation”: British foreign policy in Greece and the declaration of the Truman doctrine: October 1944 to March 1947.

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

From 1940 to 1945, Churchill's foreign policy in South-Eastern Europe was geared towards maintaining Greece in the British sphere of influence. Even after the election of a Labour government in the summer of 1945, for the next year and a half the Albion's policy focussed on the preservation of British influence in the tip of the Balkan Peninsula. However, in what appeared to be a major reversal of policy in February of 1947, the British informed the United States that they could do no more in Greece, and in so doing manipulated the Americans into assuming support for their interests through the declaration and implementation of the Truman doctrine. This Thesis offers a new interpretation of Britain's role in the origins of the Cold War through its invovement in Greece, and the role that it played in the American's assuption support for British strategic interests.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
A
Department: 
Dept. of History - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Making sense of anarchism: the experiments with revolution of Errico Malatesta, Italian exile in London, 1889–1900

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

This thesis analyzes the activity and writings of the Italian anarchist Errico Malatesta in the period 1889–1900, during his residence in London, the headquarters of continental anarchism. Malatesta’s thought and action allows us to study the organization and tactics of a significant segment of Italian and international anarchism. The key concern of the thesis is the rationality of anarchism, defined as coherence between desires, beliefs, and behaviour. I challenge not only the liberal and Marxist traditional historiographies of anarchism, but also more recent social history approaches. Each of these posits the irrationality of anarchism, cast as impossible aims, futile means, or absurd beliefs. In contrast, I regard rationality as a methodological principle of interpretation and a heuristic. By informing my account of Malatesta’s anarchism wiith an explanatory “principle of charity,” I seek to illustrate and contest the historiographic pitfalls surrounding anarchism. In contrast to those historians who view unconcern for practical means, lack of organization, and spontaneism as standard features attributed to anarchism, I argue that the informal and opaque character of anarchist organization and the transnational dimension of the anarchist movement account for the sustainability of its action. I illustrate the continuity and change of Malatesta’s tactics according to circumstances and experience and show the evolution of Malatesta’s thought from an early anarchism inspired by the First International to a mature gradualist view. Through a critical comparison with twentieth century social science, I illustrate the coherence and sophistication of Malatesta’s system of beliefs. Rather than being the endless repetition of necessarily doomed efforts, I conclude that Malatesta’s theoretical and tactical evolution can be likened to the method of trial and error, whereby tentative solutions were put to the test of experience and revised accordingly. In this sense, Malatesta’s efforts were his experiments with revolution.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
M
Department: 
Dept. of History - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)

Erasmus of Rotterdam's influence upon Anabaptism: The case of Balthasar Hubmaier

Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

Reformation historians have long debated the question of Erasmus' influence upon Anabaptism. Research, however, has paid insufficient attention to Balthasar Hubmaier (1480-1 528)' the earliest Anabaptist theologian, and no one has attempted a substantial analysis of Erasmus' influence on him with attention to the problem of influence. Hubmaier's formal theological training and popularity as a preacher made contact possible with humanists and Erasmus. Evidence from his Waldshut pastorate indicates a rejection of scholasticism in favour of humanism and special esteem for Erasmus. He met Erasmus in Basel in 1522 at a decisive point of his religious conversion and referred to him in his later writings, indicating knowledge of his major works. Hubmaier was clearly in a position to be influenced by Erasmus. Erasmus' Paraphrase on Matthew (1 522) attracted contemporary criticism and modern speculation for its supposed Anabaptist tendencies. In an attempt to determine Erasmian influence, this study compares Erasmus' and Hubmaier's interpretations of important passages in Matthew and places them within the context of key patristic, medieval, and sixteenth-century commentators. Erasmus' exegesis of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) stresses prebaptismal instruction in ways uncommon in the exegetical tradition and Hubmaier employed the same interpretation to oppose infant baptism. Unlike most commentators, Erasmus interpreted the parable of the tares (Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43) as promoting the toleration of heretics and the same argument formed the basis of Hubmaier's On Heretics (1 524). Erasmus' interpretation of the keys of the kingdom (Matthew 16:15-20; 18:15-20) deemphasized the primacy of Peter, connected the keys with Christian initiation, and laicized the process of excommunication, but Hubmaier underscored other aspects of the passage. Comparative exegesis suggests Erasmus influenced Hubmaier's interpretation of the Great Commission and the parable of the tares, but not his view of the keys of the Kingdom. Erasmus was not an Anabaptist, nor was he responsible for Anabaptism, but the evidence highlights the potentially radical ramifications of his biblical exegesis and raises again the issue of reception as important to a full appreciation of his legacy. Recourse to Erasmus' exegesis could illumine other aspects of Hubmaier's thought and help explain elements of Anabaptism.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of History - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)

'As ye have faith so shall your powers and blessings be': The aboriginal-baha'i encounter in British Columbia

Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

During the mid-twentieth century, the Baha'i community of British Columbia launched teaching efforts within Aboriginal communities throughout the province. Although relatively few of the over nine hundred Aboriginal people who enrolled in the Baha'i Faith between 1948 and 1992 ultimately became active adherents, the Aboriginal-Baha'i encounter is nevertheless of profound significance. The subtlety with which Baha'is presented the Faith to Aboriginal people challenges static conceptions of religious teaching and reveals a key disjuncture between rhetoric and practice. The experiences of Aboriginal Baha'i themselves highlight fluid processes of religious change and, coupled with Baha'i social activism, underscore the considerable role of the Baha'i Faith in encouraging processes of Aboriginal cultural regeneration. Despite such empowering impact, however, patterns of non-Aboriginal cultural dominance encountered within the Baha'i community simultaneously suggest the pervasiveness of the colonial legacy and the potency of contemporary social context; good intentions proved insufficient to fully transform intercultural interactions.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of History - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Creating a culture of violence: American discourses of rape, murder and “Mexican-ness” from the Mexican revolution (1910-1920) to Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua (1993-2007)

Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

Reported on and judged by American citizens and government officials, American eyes have viewed violence against women in northern Mexico as specifically “Mexican” events. This paper juxtaposes American discourse from the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) with United States Department of State human rights reports from 1999 to 2007 to demonstrate similarities, differences and continuities in the discussion of sexual violence within these two time periods that connect American views of Mexican violence against women in Mexico to Mexican “culture.” While the mode of representation moves from a racial argument of inherent “Mexican” violence to an argument of a culture of violence, discourse from both time periods work to construct the image of a barbaric and chaotic Mexico, furthering the divide between “Mexican” and “American” within the border zone. The border itself is integral within this context as it stands as the physical and mental barrier between what constitutes “Mexican” and “American.”

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
A
Department: 
Dept. of History - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Project (M.A.)