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

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Charity schools and society in nineteenth-century Ba County

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2020-08-20
Supervisor(s): 
Jeremy Brown
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
Abstract: 

Scholars have used Qing-era elementary schools to shed light on the strengthening Qing state in rural and peripheral areas, and on the increasing participation of non-bureaucratic elites in local public affairs in the form of monetary support and managerial duties. Using county government archives, local gazetteers and county officials’ administrative notes, this thesis builds on existing research by providing a case study of Ba County. It explores the understudied question of how elementary schools were promoted and established at the subcounty level, and how the emergence of these schools changed local power dynamics. Chapter one investigates the process through which the court, local officials, and subcounty non-bureaucratic elites together led to the countywide establishment of charity schools in Ba County, all for their own reasons. The court wished to extend the official school system to the subcounty level to select bureaucrats, promote a uniform culture, and carry out moral transformation. Yet the county government of Ba did not manage to formally regulate these schools throughout the nineteenth century. The endorsement of the government was more symbolic. Almost all charity schools in Ba were locally sponsored and managed. For local non-bureaucratic elites, charity schools were not the extension of official schools established for the purpose of imperial interests, but organizations that aimed to provide financial aid to the poor and help to better develop the community. Chapter two shifts its focus to local society and explores how the school expansion changed local power dynamics. There was an anticlerical trend in the process of establishing charity schools. In addition, the community designation of school trustees for limited terms of office became a common way to run charity schools. Compared to having the donors and the donors’ descendants operate the schools, the new school trustee system was friendlier to migrants; it allowed them to share the benefits brought by charity schools. By putting trustees in charge of charity schools, the community in fact chose a more open strategy.

Document type: 
Thesis

Blueprints of power: Roman statecraft and politics in Konstantinos VII's "Book of Ceremonies"

File(s): 
Date created: 
2021-07-19
Supervisor(s): 
Dimitris Krallis
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
Abstract: 

Emperor Konstantinos VII Porphyrogennetos’ tenth-century Book of Ceremonies is a vital source for Byzantine court culture. As such, it has helped reinforce many negative assessments of the “archaic” and “bureaucratic” nature of Byzantium. This thesis considers these recorded outlines of court ceremonies not as ritualistic formularies, but as moments of political dialogue. In doing so, it follows scholarly work on the history and culture of Eastern Roman politics — which no longer treats the Roman polity as an autocracy ruled by a God-given emperor, instead, understanding the Byzantine polity to be ruled by a form of “republican” monarchy accountable to “the people.” The present examination of ceremonies unfolds in two parts. First, the Book of Ceremonies is recontextualized as a product of tenth-century political life. Second, the ceremonial templates of the Book of Ceremonies are read in parallel with eleventh-century accounts of the attempted power grab of Michael V Kalaphates.

Document type: 
Thesis

"We were not playing games": Transnational moral policing in 1970s Vancouver

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2021-08-16
Supervisor(s): 
Joseph Taylor
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
Abstract: 

At the conclusion of the Gastown Riot in August 1971, Vancouver Police Inspector Robert Abercrombie declared the evening “a good night’s work.” Using riot sticks and horse hooves, Vancouver Police violently dispersed a protest against marijuana laws in Gastown’s Maple Tree Square. The Gastown Riot, and the year of protests leading up to it, demonstrate a transnational relationship between police and protestors. City officials and constabulary organizations worked to preserve their vision of moral order during the 1960s and 1970s, buttressed by the slogan “law and order.” This thesis uses a comparative approach to analyze the contexts in which North American police organizations violently responded to protest under the pretence of protecting morality and law and order. Contributing to the historiography of Canadian policing, this study adds to the growing scholarship that illustrates the similar violent histories of Canada and the United States.

Document type: 
Thesis

Great Britain and Malta During the Napoleonic Wars with Special Reference to the Role of Sir Alexander Ball, 1798-1809

File(s): 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1987-08
Supervisor(s): 
E. Ingram
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
Abstract: 

Britain had little interest in the Mediterranean and almost none in Malta until Napoleon Bonaparte seized the island in 1798 and forced her to take heed. Thereafter, the question of who should control Malta became one of the most contentious issues affecting the diplomacy of the period, particularly during the peace negotiations at Amiens in 1801-2. The inability to settle this issue led to a resumption of hostilities the following year. Some Englishmen wondered whether allowing peace or war to hang on Malta gave the island an importance it did not merit. Britain would control Malta for thirteen years before the other powers acknowledged her legal rights to it. During this period her resolve to keep it steadily increased, as did her appreciation of its value, and the person most responsible for promoting this appreciation was Britain’s Civil Commissioner at Malta, Sir Alexander Ball. Of the two themes to be developed here, the first explains the reasons for Britain’s decision to keep Malta in the face of formidable international opposition, while the second examines the island’s possible value to a great power, and asks whether it was intrinsically important, or merely symbolically so. Malta’s most serious drawback was its distance from the French naval base a t Toulon. However, this became less important as Britain’s strategic priorities shifted further east. Even so the commonly held belief that Malta acted as a barrier protecting Egypt was highly questionable because this would have required a large fleet to be stationed at Malta, and Britain was loath to bear such an expense. She eventually came to see that her very possession of the island was a cheaper alternative. By keeping Malta in defiance of international opinion, Britain in effect declared the island to be the symbol of her determination to prevent other powers from dominating the eastern Mediterranean. Thus, Malta’s value to Britain shifted, in conjunction with the international situation, between substantive and symbolic posed that were not mutually exclusive.

Document type: 
Thesis

Sovereign culture: Stó:lō cultural heritage and political activism in the twentieth century

File(s): 
Date created: 
2018-07-16
Supervisor(s): 
Mary-Ellen Kelm
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Abstract: 

Though scholars have often perceived of sovereignty in purely territorial and capital-p political terms, this is not a useful way to understand the concept when it comes to Indigenous nations. Both earlier and certainly throughout the twentieth century, Stó:lō communities of what is now south-western British Columbia saw no distinction between the political and cultural heritage practices that affirmed their sovereign relationships with Stó:lō Téméxw, a coalescence this dissertation refers to as “cultural sovereignty.” Stó:lō practices of cultural curation—the process of taking care of tangible and intangible heritage—were deeply connected to Stó:lō political organization and territorial management throughout the twentieth century. Additionally, Stó:lō cultural sovereignty during this period sometimes manifested as a gendered phenomenon, with women and men alternately enacting cultural sovereignty in distinct ways that corresponded to Stó:lō and sometimes settler gender ideologies. Stó:lō resistance to settler colonialism was not only a protest of land acquisition, it was also an attempt to protect Stó:lō cultural heritage from settler colonial appropriation. Moreover, this dissertation contends that the settler move to appropriate Stó:lō cultural heritage must be seen as part of the colonial project of dispossession. Reconciliation in Indigenous-settler relationships, then, must include not only discussions relating to restitution of land, but also of cultural heritage. In making these arguments, this dissertation contributes to scholarly conversations about Indigenous sovereignty, cultural heritage, and Stó:lō histories, and contributes to the fields of history, Indigenous studies, and museology. Its methodological approach comes from work in Indigenous research methodology, feminist oral history, and what is being called “new ethnohistory” or community-engaged methodology. The research process itself combined archival investigation, original oral history interviews, and field work. An intersectional feminist lens framed the analysis of that research. Chapters of this dissertation examine sequential eras during the twentieth century, focusing on particular case studies to analyze changes and continuities in historical examples of Stó:lō cultural sovereignty.

Document type: 
Thesis

"My Canada is yet unborn": Settler identity & ideology in the life & works of A.M. Stephen

File(s): 
Date created: 
2020-11-18
Supervisor(s): 
Mark Leier
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
Abstract: 

A.M. Stephen (1882-1942) was a prominent poet, writer, and activist, working principally in British Columbia. This thesis uses his life and works—chiefly published artistic and political writings, contemporary newspapers, and archival materials collected by his wife—to explore Settler Canadian identity and ideology as he articulated it. His portrayal of Canada, its past, and Indigenous people, his work as an activist and educator, and his attitudes towards class, socialism, and imperialism, were united by an ongoing commitment to the Settler population and nation of Canada. An evolving hegemony can thus be partially reconnoitred as it was conceived and promoted by one successful figure. By placing Stephen under examination in a settler order framework, the unique value of this focus and its exploratory potential is further revealed.

Document type: 
Thesis

Bandits, neighbours, Japanese soldiers: Security threats and survival strategies in Taishan and Kaiping villages, 1937–1949

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2020-12-15
Supervisor(s): 
Jeremy Brown
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
Abstract: 

To say that the familial and cultural ties that bound Chinese society were severed or weakened and that “patriotism transcended regionalism, localism, and familism” during the Resistance War, as Diana Lary claims in The Chinese People at War, is too general. Nationalism and patriotism might have been priorities for urban intellectuals and elites, but such priorities were not necessarily shared by everyone. People at the rural grassroots in southern Guangdong did not share them. This thesis argues that Siyi villagers’ survival tactics against security threats between 1937 and 1949 were borne out of self-preservation and localism, not nationalism. Based on oral interviews conducted in Hong Kong, Vancouver, and Burnaby of seniors who lived in Taishan or Kaiping villages between 1932 and 1949, this project examines the villagers’ survival tactics and motives when faced with changing security threats during the prewar, wartime, and postwar periods. Village feuds, bandits, the Japanese armed forces, food scarcity, and traditional gender roles were the most dangerous threats facing villagers. The villagers’ survival tactics reveal a pattern of independence from state institutions while relying on local and familial connections. Nationalism and patriotism did not impact Taishan and Kaiping villagers as much as localism did.

Document type: 
Thesis

"Negotiating Fort Nisqually: Reconfiguring the social and environmental landscapes of the South Salish Sea, 1833-1858"

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2020-03-24
Supervisor(s): 
Joseph E. Taylor III
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Abstract: 

The creation of Hudson Bay Company’s Fort Nisqually and the shift toward a land-based fur trade strategy in the 1820s and 1830s significantly altered Salish Sea social dynamics, initiated considerable environmental transformation, and eventually shaped American settlement in the region. Hudson Bay Company (HBC) employees negotiated space, resources, and cohabitation with the Squalli-absch community of Sequalitchew. Close personal relationships developed at Fort Nisqually through trade, labor, and familial connections. The fort reorganized regional exchange networks, entwining knowledge, materials, and lifeways. These developments were also closely tied to environmental change across the Salish Sea through the introduction of agriculture and other extractive industries. The establishment of the first Euro-American settlement, however, was not a harmonious middle ground; it instead required continual renegotiation in an ever-evolving social landscape. Contested expressions of sovereignty and justice complicated negotiations and occasionally led violence, which also required mediation. Endemic disease and international geopolitics also destabilized the region. When the first American settlers arrived, they lacked shipping infrastructure and were thus dependent on the HBC and Indigenous residents for supplies. Americans were initially drawn into existing exchange networks but had little leverage. The newcomers aggressively stoked expansionist sentiments and petitioned US politicians for annexation. The creation of Washington Territory in 1853 drastically expanded US economic, political, and military infrastructure. During the ensuing onslaught of immigration, territorial officials and settlers disregarded existing agreements and networks. Initially, the relationships emanating from Fort Nisqually between HBC employees and Indigenous residents mutually reinforced each other’s claims. Newcomers used economic coercion to marginalize non-Americans along with physical threats and violence attacks against Indigenous residents. Eventually the United States acquired Native title through the deceptive Medicine Creek Treaty and bought out the Hudson Bay Company claims. While the HBC left and violence continued against Indigenous communities, these networks endured and continued to shape the region.

Document type: 
Thesis

The discreet charm of the petty bourgeoisie: Marx, Proudhon, and the critique of political economy

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2020-09-23
Supervisor(s): 
Mark Leier
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
Abstract: 

This thesis examines Marx and Engels’s concept of the petty bourgeoisie and its application to the French socialist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. Rather than treating the concept as purely derogatory, I show that for Marx and Engels, the petty bourgeoisie was crucial in their broader critique of political economy by embodying the contradiction between capital and labour. Because of their structural position between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, the petty bourgeoisie are economically, politically, and socially pulled in two separate directions––identifying with either the owners of property, with propertyless workers, or with both simultaneously. This analysis is then extended by investigating Marx’s critique of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. I argue that for Marx, Proudhon was not wrong because he was a member of the petty bourgeoisie. Rather, Proudhon mirrored the contradiction between capital and labour by attempting to steer a middle course between liberal political economy and socialism. This meant that for Marx and Engels, Proudhon’s theories were incapable of leading to a world beyond capitalism, a point that activists today may find useful.

Document type: 
Thesis

Dumping like a state: An environmental history of the City of Vancouver Landfill in Delta, 1958–1981

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2020-08-04
Supervisor(s): 
Tina Adcock
Joseph Taylor III
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
Abstract: 

In 1966, the City of Vancouver opened a new landfill in Burns Bog, in the nearby municipality of Delta. This is an environmental history of its creation and first sixteen years of operation. Although the landfill resembled other high modernist projects in postwar Canada, this thesis argues it is best understood as an example of “mundane modernism.” The landfill’s planning and operation aligned with broader contemporary American and Canadian practices of cost-effective waste disposal. It was an unspectacular project to which Deltans offered little initial resistance. Officials therefore had no need to demonstrate technoscientific expertise to manufacture citizens' consent. Yet the landfill soon posed environmental nuisances and hazards to Delta’s residents, including leachate, the liquid waste a landfill produces. Although Deltans mounted some protests, the mutually beneficial relationship between the municipalities of Delta and Vancouver protected the landfill’s operators from the consequences of mismanagement and allowed that mismanagement to continue throughout the 1960s and 1970s. This thesis suggests that further scholarly attention be paid to the history of solid waste management in Canada, and especially to specific sites such as the Burns Bog landfill.

Document type: 
Thesis