Graduate Theses & Dissertations

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Technology of Consent
The 1980s in the United States have come into focus as years of extensive ideological and socioeconomic fracture. A conservative movement arose to counter the progressive gains of previous decades, neoliberalism became the nation’s economic mantra, and détente was jettisoned in favour of military build-up. Such developments materialized out of a multitude of conflicts, a cultural crisis of ideas, perspectives, and words competing to maintain or rework the nation’s core structures. In this dissertation I argue that alongside these conflicts, a crisis over technology and its ramifications played a crucial role as well, with the American public grasping for ways to comprehend a nascent technoculture. Borrowing from Andrew Feenberg, I define three broad categories of popular conceptualization used to comprehend a decade of mass technical and social transformations: the instrumental view, construing technology as a range of efficient tools; the substantive view, insisting technology is an environment that determines its subjects; and a critical approach, which recognizes the capacity for technology to shape subjects, but also its potential to aid new social agendas. Using Feenberg’s categories as interpretive lenses, I foreground these epistemologies in three of the decade’s most popular formations of literary science fiction (sf), and describe the broader discourses they participated in: military sf is connected to military strategy and weapons development (instrumental), cyberpunk to postmodernism and posthumanism (substantive), and feminist sf to feminist theory and politics (critical). These were not just discursive trajectories, I claim, but vital contributors to the material construction of what Antonio Gramsci would call hegemonic and counterhegemonic formations. While the instrumental paradigm was part of the decade’s prevailing hegemonic make-up, substantive and critical discourses offered an alternative to the reality of cowboy militarism and unchecked technological expansion. By engaging with the decade’s texts—from There Will Be War to RoboCop to “A Cyborg Manifesto”—I hope to illuminate what I call the technology of consent, the significance of technological worldviews for modern technocultures, where such views are consented to by subaltern groups, and at the same time the existence of consent itself as a kind of complex social technology in the first place. Author Keywords: American History, Discourse, Hegemony, Science Fiction, Technoculture, Technology
Prepared for the Next War? U.S. Attachés Reports, Military Innovation and the Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil War was a theatre of political tension where democracy, communism, and fascism clashed during the interwar period, starting in July 1936 and ending in April 1939. The war defied the traditional concept of a civil war as Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union became involved. All three saw Spain as a testing ground for new military technologies. Meanwhile the United States government stayed steadfast in its isolationist approach to foreign conflict and sent no aid to either side. American military attachés, who are military observers to foreign nations, in Spain witnessed the ongoing conflict, creating detailed reports of their observations before, during, and after the war. This thesis argues that the reports, which contained valuable information regarding military technology and doctrine, had little impact on American military innovation during the interwar period. This was due to both politically dictated neglect and doctrine prejudice regarding European conflicts. Based on the attaché reports, this thesis will explain what Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union learned about aviation, tanks, and artillery from their participation in Spain. This will be contrasted with the state of the United States’ military at the same time to demonstrate not only the little impact the attaché reports had on the trajectory of the American military, but how the military lagged behind those in Spain upon the beginning of the Second World War. Author Keywords: American military attachés, Germany, Italy, Military Intelligence Division, Soviet Union, Spanish Civil War
Civil Aviation and Scheduled Air Services in Colonial Botswana, 1935-1966
This thesis provides an in-depth and chronological study of the development of civil aviation in the Bechuanaland Protectorate (today’s Botswana), and the role played by the British Government in the development of this form of transport. The thesis argues that Her Majesty’s Government’s neglect and very little interest in its protectorate’s civil aviation represented a form of underdevelopment. The study also reveals the constant contradiction between the neglect of the imperial government and the constant lobbying on the part of colonial administration in the Protectorate for the establishment of an air service. To the colonial administrators, civil aviation represented a symbol of modernity and progress as well as more practical advantages such as mobility. The thesis finally concludes that the Bechuanaland Protectorate’s first airline was established due to growing nationalism both locally and on the continent, at large. The British Government facilitated the establishment of the airline as an attempt to appear benevolent to the protectorate on the eve of independence. Author Keywords:
Sponsoring Private Schools in an Informal Empire
This thesis analyzes the history of the Inter-American Schools Service (IASS), which ran under the auspices of the American Council on Education beginning in 1943. The program was defined as a private initiative aimed at spreading U.S. democratic values throughout the hemisphere for the mutual benefit of both the United States and Latin America. Yet the program was ultimately one facet of the United States' informal imperialism and a tool for the consolidation of U.S. hegemony, which came at the expense of Latin Americans' pursuit of the very values the IASS was said to facilitate. This theme is explored through a general discussion of cultural policy in the twentieth-century United States as well as the specific history of the IASS program and its relation to U.S. policies of intervention in Guatemala and Bolivia. Author Keywords: American Schools, Cultural Imperialism, Guatemala, Hegemony, Informal Imperialism, Inter-American Schools Service
EMPIRE AND ITS PRACTITIONERS
In 1915 U.S. Marines invaded Haiti. Driven first by the epidemiological dangers in Haiti, health and medicine was made a central tenet in administering the occupation. Useful for protecting the American Marines from disease, the Service d'Hygiene (the occupation-era Public Health Service) also served a hegemonic purpose. By bringing American biomedicine to sick Haitians, the Service d'Hygiene built support for the occupation and helped foster long-term connections between Haiti and the United States. This hegemonic drive was made possible by the incorporation of non-state actors into the colonial project. To achieve this, the American authorities forged a development strategy for Haiti that was premised upon a relationship between the state and private institutions such as the Rockefeller Foundation. This strategy also encouraged Haiti to look to the United States for support, a goal successfully realized when Haitian politicians continued to do so even after the Marines left Haiti in 1934. Author Keywords: Haiti, Hegemony, Imperialism, Public Health, Rockefeller Foundation, Service d'Hygiene
How to Forge an Empire
The goal of this thesis is to explore the production of ferrous (iron) armaments in the Middle Byzantine Empire, and more specifically the tenth century. Three cornerstones define the current research: (1) An exploration of the technology at use in the production of ferrous armaments. (2) A comprehensive look at the logistical and organizational structures which facilitated this industry. (3) A closer look at the labour investments required to manufacture armaments through an ethnographic and experimental approach. The tenth century document known as the De Cerimoniis forms a foundational pillar of the current study. The document details the quantity and types of military equipment required for a naval expedition launched by the Byzantines in A.D. 949. The information provided within has made this inquiry into logistics possible, and has allowed for the assessment of overall trends in the tenth century arms production industry. Author Keywords: armour, arms production, Byzantine military, logistics, metallurgy, weapons
Cooperation and Conflict
This study examines interaction and accommodation between Western Christians and Muslims in the Levant between the Second and Third Crusades, 1145 to 1192, examining three groups: short term crusaders, members of military orders, and permanent settlers. While members of these groups possessed several personal and group identities, most shared a prescriptive religious identity that encouraged a common goal: holy war for the protection of the Holy Land from Muslims, whom they identified as a distinct, enemy `other.' Despite these prescriptive beliefs, when Christians came into contact with Muslims, particularly following longer and more varied contact, most engaged in some convergent accommodation, such as diplomatic accommodation, development of shared languages and gestures, or admiration for chivalric qualities. Those settled in the Levant accepted the existing economic and social structures, assuming the roles of previous elites, adopting certain local customs, sharing sacred spaces, medical knowledge, or even developing personal ties with Muslims. Author Keywords: Accommodation, Christianity, Crusades, Identity, Islam
Controlling the Feminine Body in Public
Within this project, I have identified a new pattern of instruction, surrounding women’s bodies and their movement within the public space, present within didactic literature produced during the reign of Charles VI of France (1368-1422). This pattern, present in the texts Le livre du Chevalier de la Tour Landry pour l’instruction de ses filles, Le Menagier de Paris, Le livre des trois vertus and Mirroir des dames, sought to shame control women’s physical presentation in public through use of imagery, stories and fear of pride. Using modern gendered body theory presented by Luce Irigaray and Judith Butler to examine the rise of this pattern, this project then concludes it represents an attempt of the social authority to present a passive feminine body in the public space in order to display male power during a time of social instability. Author Keywords: body history, didactic literature, medieval education, medieval France, women, women's bodies
That '70s Strike Support
This thesis examines three Ontario strikes during the 1970s: the Dare Foods, Ltd. strike in Kitchener, Ontario, 1972-1973; the Puretex Knitting Company strike in Toronto, 1978-1979; and the Inco strike in Sudbury, 1978-1979. These strikes highlight gender issues in the Canadian food production, textile, and mining industries in the 1970s, industries that were all markedly different in size and purpose, yet equally oppressive towards working women for different reasons, largely based on the regional character of each city the strikes took place in. In Kitchener, the women’s movement worked closely with the Dare union local and the left to mobilize against the company and grappled with the difficulties of framing women’s inequality within the labour movement. At Puretex, immigrant women workers were subject to electronic surveillance as a form of worker control, and a left-wing nationalist union needed to look outside of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) for allies in strike action. At Inco, an autonomous women’s group formed separate from the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) but struggled to overcome a negative perception of women’s labour activism in Sudbury. Ultimately, these strikes garnered a wide variety of support from working women and feminist groups, who often built or had pre-existing relationships with Canadian and American trade unions as well as the left-wing milieu of the 1970s. This thesis uses these strikes as case studies to argue that despite the complicated and at times uneven relationship between feminism, labour, and the left in the 1970s, feminist and left-wing strike support was crucial in sustaining rank-and-file militancy throughout the decade and stimulating activist careers for women in the feminist movement, in unions, and on the left. Author Keywords: 1970s, feminism, labour, left-wing, militancy, working-class
American Acropolis, American Ruins
Since 1979, photographer and sociologist Camilo José Vergara has taken repeat photographs of American cities in decline, focusing on evolving landscapes of postindustrial decay. Vergara's images subscribe to an aesthetic of ruin while providing a record of America's crumbling ghettos rooted in social documentary concerns. Vergara's work diverges from the ahistorical tendencies of contemporary ruin porn photography: by challenging the photograph's temporal stasis Vergara bears witness to the ongoing reality of disenfranchisement, assembling an archive that takes up the Benjaminian task of doing history in images. Vergara's photographs challenge standard photojournalistic portrayals of violence, particularly the ways in which `violent' African American and Hispanic inner city populations have been erroneously cast as the cause of their own economic misfortune. The Invincible Cities website assists Vergara in drawing attention to forgotten places but also complicates his mandate to engage outside viewers by distancing them from the real-­world environments his photographs portray. Author Keywords: Camilo José Vergara, imagistic history, postindustrial decline, repeat photography, ruin porn, Walter Benjamin
Material Worlds of the Idle and the Industrious
This thesis explores middling reform-minded representations of plebeian children’s material worlds in England from 1720 to 1780. Specifically, it examines depictions of chattel and place in imagery of children, to convey messages aligned with the reform initiatives of the eighteenth century. Using the Old Bailey Proceedings, prints by William Hogarth, and novels, it argues that contemporary concerns about idleness, vagrancy, consumerism, and delinquency, were reflected in the way the middling sort conceived of plebeian childhood. Ultimately these representations of plebeian children followed two major narratives: industry or idleness. If poor children were not industrious, they were idle. The culture of reform targeted these children with initiatives to instruct and control them. The producers spread their middling ideologies through a range of visual, fictional, and legal productions, all of which framed plebeian children as dependent and in need of education or training. Author Keywords: Children, Eighteenth-century, England, Material History, Plebeian, representations
Finding New Roads Towards Peace
This thesis provides an analysis of the Carnegie Commission’s report on the causes and consequences of the Balkan Wars (1912-1913). Shortly after the closing of hostilities, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace appointed an international Commission of Inquiry to collect evidence of atrocities from the sites of war. The thesis analyzes the arguments expressed in the Commission’s report as an example of European and American attitudes towards the Balkans. The concept of Balkanism provides a theoretical framework according to which the Commissioners’ views are contextualized within the existing stereotypes of the region. Based on the correspondence available in the archives of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the memoirs and biographies of the various members of the Commission, and the information published in periodicals, this work also examines the justifications for the appointment of the Commission, the circumstances related to the investigation of atrocities and the reaction of Balkan governments to the report. Keywords: Carnegie Report, Carnegie Commission, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Balkan Wars, Balkanism. Author Keywords: Balkanism, Balkans, Balkan Wars, Carnegie Commission, Carnegie Endowment, Carnegie Report

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Format: 2021/02/27