Graduate Theses & Dissertations

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Pervert’s New Statesman
Justice Weekly was a tabloid published in Toronto from 1946 to 1972. The popular narrative is that it was an unremarkable, obscure, and pornographic paper which was co-opted by gay and homophile voices in the 1950s. But why did a magazine best remembered, as Mordecai Richler put it, as “the pervert’s new statesman” publish this material? This thesis argues that Justice Weekly really was primarily about Justice, rather than titillation. The paper explored justice through topics such as juvenile delinquency and spanking, which allowed sexualized material to appear, as well as conversations surrounding gay men, race, criminality, and punishment. While the paper outed gay men and often argued for harsher prison conditions, it also published material from Canada’s earliest gay activists and prisoner presses. Justice Weekly’s focus on equitable justice allowed both sex and advocacy to emerge from its content. Author Keywords: Delinquency, Homosexuality, Jim Egan, Pornography, Pulp, Tabloid
Edward IV, The Woodvilles, and the Politics of Idealism, C. 1464-83
This thesis examines performance and propaganda in the reign of Edward IV and explores the ways in which Edward, his queen Elizabeth Woodville, and her brother Anthony sought to legitimize their newfound positions. It argues that all three sought to 'perform idealism' to bolster their claims to their respective positions, presenting themselves as close to the contemporary ideal figures of king, queen, and nobleman. This view makes Edward's marriage to Elizabeth a deliberate political act, rather than merely a marriage of love, as some have argued. This thesis argues that 'performing idealism' was thus a deliberate strategy deployed by individuals in a precarious social position to justify their privilege. It also examines chivalry and the Order of the Garter under Edward, his foreign policy, the patronage of William Caxton, and the education of Edward V to explore the many ways Edward sought to justify his claim to the throne. Author Keywords: Anthony Woodville, Edward IV, Elizabeth Woodville, England, Queenship, Wars of the Roses
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
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
In the Wilderness at Föhrenwald
In 1945, few refugee cases were as complicated as those of the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust who found themselves stranded in defeated Germany but could neither return home due to antisemitic violence nor immigrate to most countries due to extant prewar visa restrictions. Between 1945 and 1947, some 150,000 Jews fleeing ongoing antisemitic violence joined them in American-occupied Bavaria, including thousands who had survived in the Soviet Union—a phenomenon Tony Judt has described as “surviving the peace.” This thesis focuses on Föhrenwald, a United Nations refugee camp outside of Munich. It interweaves oral histories with archival materials from the United Nations and the American Joint Distribution Committee to apply Atina Grossmann’s work on “close encounters” between Jews, Germans, and Americans to a single refugee camp. What emerges is a portrait of the vibrant, if transient, political, social, and educational life Jews built “in the wilderness” of Germany between 1945 and 1947. Author Keywords: Displaced Persons, Föhrenwald, Holocaust survivors, Occupied Germany (1945–49), United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration
Alone in Power
The thesis uses three case studies of President Nixon’s foreign policy in South-east Asia to analyze presidential domestic-making. The theoretical concept of personality politics is used to analyze the Nixon administration and foreign policy. Nixon’s secretive nature combined with his mistrust of the press and bureaucracy to create an office structure that restricted the involvement and notification of others of his foreign policy. This thesis also takes into account the domestic climate that Nixon was operating within, including significant antiwar opposition, an adversarial media, and an ideologically opposed bureaucracy. Nixon’s foreign policy was ultimately the result of a perfect storm of factors. The president’s natural penchant for secrecy, along with his mistrust of the press and bureaucracy, combined with the American political environment that was in many instances ideologically set against him, also helped shape his foreign policy. Author Keywords: American Presidency, China, National Security Council, Richard Nixon, US Foreign Policy, 1969-1973, Vietnam War
Witches and Bawds as Elderly Women in England, 1680-1730
Many print sources from 1680 to 1730 depicted bawds and witches as figures of transgressive elderly femininity. They were often described as having roughly the same anti-social behaviour, age, and gender. Both witches and bawds were seen as seducing innocents into a life of sin, associating with the devil, and acting lustful and unmotherly. Furthermore, they were connected with Catholicism and were thought to unite sinners against English Protestant society. The physical descriptions of the witch and procuress also bore significant patterns in presenting deformity, disfigurement, smelliness, rottenness, and death, traits generally connected with elderly women. Though historians have recognized the tendency of the witch or bawd to be characterized as an old woman, none have conducted a systematic comparison of the two stereotypes. Such an analysis can offer insight about the social anxieties around aging femininity in this period. Author Keywords: bawd, cheap print, elderly women, old age, witch, witchcraft
Nymphs, Satyrs and Impotent Old Men
British pornographic texts arguing the texts were part of a wider cultural discourse on luxury, criticising the upper echelons of society for their decadent and vice-ridden lifestyles. Pornographic texts consistently portray the elites of Britain as partaking in sexual deviances including lesbianism, sex with dolls, dildos and household objects. The portrayals could be dismissed as tales fabricated for the titillation of the reading audience except that medical texts of the period diagnose the diseases of nymphomania and satyriasis, the rough equivalent of modern sexual addiction, as primarily affecting those of the upper class. Lifestyle was the key to diagnosis; luxurious living was thought to weaken the elite body rendering it vulnerable to excess sexual passions. Therefore, the hyper-sexual elite in pornographic texts reflected the contemporary cultural understandings of lifestyle and physiology. Author Keywords: Britain, culture, eighteenth century, nymphomania, pornography, sexuality
Underdevelopment in Eastern Bechuanaland
This thesis offers a comprehensive look at the changing roles of a colonial built railway in what is now eastern Botswana. It was built for the extraction of mineral wealth and migration of cheap African labour in Southern Africa but it later assumed a different role of shaping the modern Botswana state. The thesis deals with several other issues related to the railway in Bechuanaland including land alienation, the colonial disregard of the chiefs’ authority, racial discrimination and the economic underdevelopment of Bechuanaland. Since there were no other significant colonial developments at the time of independence, this thesis argues that the railway was the only important feature of the British colonisation of Bechuanaland. From early on, the railway attracted different cultures, identities and religions. It was also instrumental in the introduction of an indigenous capitalist class into Bechuanaland. Author Keywords: Bechuanaland, Botswana, colonisation, migration, railway, underdevelopment
Lives of Young Deliquents
The Royal Philanthropic Society (RPS) was the first institution in England to care for young offenders. While historians have demonstrated the legal importance of this institution, none have examined the experience of the youths it attempted to reform. The admission registers of the RPS reveal the importance of adults and peers in the experiences of the inmates of the institution, as both could be sources of conflict and support. Youths could express power over their own lives by resisting the authority of adults, but also by conforming to the rules of the RPS. Inmates could restrict the choices of their peers by working with the RPS, but also through peer pressure or violence. Networks of collaboration and youth culture could also exert a positive impact on peers. Because this thesis represents male youths as actors, it makes a significant addition to recent histories emphasizing the impact of the subaltern groups on eighteenth-century reform movements. Author Keywords: Conformity, Juvenile Delinquency, Penal Reform, Power Relationships, Royal Philanthropic Society, Youth Culutre
knight and his horse
This thesis examines the social impact of horses on French elites between 1150 and 1300. Using courtly literature, a veterinary treatise, manuscript illuminations, archeological studies, material artefacts, and account books, it explores the place of horses in elite society—practical and symbolic—and assesses the social costs of elite use and ownership of horses. While horses served practical functions for elites, their use and investment in horses clearly went far beyond practicality, since elites used horses recreationally and sought prestigious horses and highly decorated equipment. Their owners used horses in displays of power, status, and wealth, as well as in displays of conspicuous consumption and the performance of gender roles. The social display associated with horses was integrally tied to the ideology and performance of chivalry. This study examines the broader use of horses by elites to understand their place in the elite culture of the High Middle Ages. Author Keywords: Horses, Knighthood, Medieval France, Military History, Nobility, Social History
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

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