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

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Different drummer, same parade: Britain's Palestine labour department, 1942-1948

Author: 
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

This thesis examines a longstanding object of scholarly inquiry -- the degree and nature of Palestine's distinction from other settler colonies -- in light of two developing fields. Some historians now examine the social history of Palestine; others, twentieth-century British colonial theory and practice. The topic of labour administration in the British mandatory government -- the work of the Palestine Labour Department from 1942 to 1948 -- brings together the two perspectives. The thesis first surveys pressures on British colonial policy during the interwar period and the responses of the Colonial Office and colonial administrators. In particular, policies and programs reflected a growing importance accorded to colonial workers, both settlers and so-called "natives," as the approach of World War II revealed Britain's dependence on colonial stability to protect vital material and strategic resources. As it places the Palestine mandate in this context and analyzes the operation of the Palestine Labour Department, the thesis refers to the example of Northern Rhodesia, another colony with highly organized settler workers and a coalescing "native" workforce. Drawing mainly on British and mandate government archives, the thesis presents the department's aims, achievements, and deficiencies in light of support and hindrance from external political and economic forces and other parts of government. Examination of one protracted and ultimately uncompleted project, an attempt to set up a system of government-run labour exchanges, provides a detailed example of the strengths and vulnerabilities, strategies and tactics, of the agencies and interests that shaped labour administration in the mandate. The thesis argues that the Palestine Labour Department shared in the pressures from government and external forces that commonly affected contemporary colonial labour departments. At the same time, the distinctive characteristics of Palestine and its workforce required a labour department that differed in composition from its counterparts. That difference in experience and outlook made Palestine's labour agency a forerunner of the social service agencies of the succeeding phase of colonial administration.

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

Making space for rural lesbians: Homosexuality and rurality in British Columbia, 1950-1970s

Author: 
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

Rural areas are popularly perceived as conservative and hostile to difference, particularly that of sexual non-conformity. As the growing body of research on non-urban gay men shows, rural queer networks have been an historical reality. Shifting the focus onto gay women, this thesis is concerned with lesbians who lived rurally in British Columbia during a period of rapid urbanization in the province and the establishment of public lesbian bar cultures in cities across North America. Using oral history interviews with nine women who lived rurally from 1950 to 1980, this thesis contributes to the literature challenging the urban-rural divide and utilizes circulation to understand how queers have negotiated space. This work explores these lesbians’ mobility and the ways in which they were integrated into their rural communities, as well as demonstrates the existence of rich lesbian cultures and communities during this era.

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

Furrows of stone: Race, politics and the Alberta Métis land question, 1932-1936

Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

In the 1930s, impoverished, landless Alberta Métis united to form a political movement. The aim of its members was to gain title to the land they had historically occupied. The movement’s leaders also hoped to use the land issue as a catalyst to revive a nationalist consciousness among Métis. Viewing aboriginal political organization as a threat, the Alberta government appointed a Royal Commission to diffuse this challenge. Ostensibly an investigation of Métis destitution, the Ewing Commission served as a blue print to assimilate the Métis. This project examines how the Commission, underpinned by racist discourses, was able to redraw the land issue as a failure of the Métis to adapt to white society. By reframing arguments and redirecting blame, the Commissioners were able to justify creation of a land relief program that would not only act as a tool of assimilation but effectively absorb Métis political ambitions.

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

Reconceptualizing the contemporary Ulama: Al-Azhar, Lay Islam, and the Egyptian state in the late twentieth century

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

This thesis explores the role of the historic interpreters of Islam, the ulama, in the religious revival that has swept Egypt since the 1970s. The existing literature has generally portrayed the resurgence as having been led by laymen, who were compelled to take on leadership positions due to the growing isolation and passivity of the “traditional” ulama. Challenging this narrative, I argue that the ulama are hardly traditional actors that have been co-opted wholesale by the state by showing how the boundaries have blurred considerably between the ulama and lay Islamic activists since the 1970s, which has led the former to assume increasingly a role of dissent within Egyptian society. Such protest is historically significant not only because it forces us to reassess the role of the ulama within the revival, but also because it raises some larger questions about the very identity of the ulama within contemporary Muslim societies.

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

Constituting authority: Policing workers and the consolidation of police power in Vancouver, 1918-1939

Author: 
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

Policing in Vancouver was transformed by the labour unrest of the interwar period, culminating in a campaign carried out by a new civic regime that assumed power in response to a general strike threat. Complicating the process was that police workers were considered unreliable for policing labour disputes, especially since they unionized under the threat of a general strike in 1918. The challenge of “constituting authority” was therefore to render the police a reliable instrument against working class unrest. This study traces the development of policing through the postwar spate of waterfront strikes to the 1930s anticommunist campaign that carried the struggle into the political arena. Even as police power was being consolidated in the municipal police institution, rank and file police were undermined by tactics long used against other workers, namely labour spies and police specials. Like other workers, police resisted, modifying the process of change as a result.

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

Spaces of war: The interpretation of landscapes on the western front by first world war German soldiers, 1914 – 1918

Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

Although there has been much historical research on the environmental culture of Germany during the pre- and post-World War I periods, there is a substantial gap as far as the war itself is concerned. This paper takes a small step towards addressing that issue by examining middle-class German soldiers’ interpretations of the landscape. It explores the relationship between the utopic vision of the home front and the dystopic vision of the frontline, but it also demonstrates that a complex heterotopic vision of the battlefront’s landscape emerged as an inspiration for post-war cultural regeneration.

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

The desert blossoms as a wasteland: an environmental history of Utah’s west desert

Author: 
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

This study illustrates how the isolation and perceived worthlessness of the Great Basin’s West Desert led the military and livestock industry to create a sacrificial landscape. In focusing on the material activities of these two groups, this study also explores vital yet largely neglected issues regarding the tensions between the defense industry, economic prosperity, and ecological health, revealing the largely unacknowledged social and ecological costs of maintaining national security. The narrative traces the nineteenth-century rise of the sheep industry, growing friction between pastoral and national security landscapes in the mid twentieth century, and the social and environmental consequences of Army weapons testing programs during World War II and the Cold War. In focusing on Western settlement and early economic development, as well as the critical period during and after WWII, this study offers an extended view into North Americans’ largely dysfunctional relationship to arid lands.

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

Seasons of gold: An environmental history of the Cariboo gold rush

Author: 
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

Seasons are history’s constant companion. Spring, summer, winter, and fall mark the calendar and define the possibilities of labour and gender. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the pivotal events that unfolded during the Cariboo gold rush of 1862. In a world before climate-controlled homes, miners, Natives, Chinese, and Hurdy Gurdy girls all had to reckon with nature’s rhythms. This thesis explores how seasons, compounded by the contradictory forces of geographical isolation, a global market for gold, and environmental experiences in previous North American rushes, played a key role in how miners and their accompaniments related to nature and to each other. To pursue the latent wealth of the Cariboo, gold miners had to accommodate the region’s seasonal contingencies. The result was a peculiar rhythm of mining that revealed the intricate ways that nature shaped the most northern mining frontier before the Yukon.

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