Theses - History
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- ItemEmbargoContemporary History and Its Publics in Italy, 1640-1740Beduschi, Guido G; Beduschi, Guido G. [0000-0001-9255-3857]This dissertation investigates the writing of contemporary history in Italy and the emergence of a reading public during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. In accordance with humanist conventions, sixteenth- and seventeenth-century historians were often retired statesmen, who addressed their histories to an aristocratic audience and did not intend them for an immediate and wide circulation. During the seventeenth century, however, the periodical press enabled an unprecedented dissemination of news in Europe. Together, print and manuscript media informed emerging audiences about current and recent affairs, contributing to a sense of ‘information overload’. Encouraged by the growing public created by these periodicals, some Italian writers broke with the humanist tradition by publishing their books of contemporary history. These histories were specifically addressed to the general public and contributed to a rising political debate. By examining their work, this study aims to shed light on the dissemination of political information in Italy and Europe during the period between 1640 and 1740, and the public’s understanding of both their recent past and present time. During this one-hundred-year period, the Italian peninsula was one of Europe’s principal theatres of war. The War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714) is of particular significance as, by ending 150 years of Spanish hegemony over Italy, it became a source of uncertainty about the future of the Italian States. This uncertainty, together with the complexity of Italian politics, generated a demand for political information about Italy throughout Europe. The dissertation is divided into five chapters, arranged in broadly chronological order. The first two consider the dissemination of the news in seventeenth-century Italy and, through an analysis of the work of Vittorio Siri (1608-1685), the influence of periodicals on historical writing. Chapter III explores the work of Francesco Maria Ottieri (1665-1742), addressing themes such as the authority of historians of contemporary Europe and their publics. Chapter IV considers the question of sources for the writing of contemporary history in a European context, by connecting the work of Ottieri to the ideas and work of François-Marie Arouet, ‘Voltaire’ (1694-1778), in France, and Henry St John (1678-1751), 1st Viscount Bolingbroke in England. Finally, Chapter V investigates Scipione Maffei’s (1675-1755) combined use of knowledge concerning ancient and contemporary history, and his work’s political import and influence into the nineteenth century. Cumulatively, these five chapters seek to elucidate the impact of the public on Italian historical writing between 1640 and 1740, adding a new perspective to the histories of communication, scholarship, and historiography.
- ItemEmbargoRubens, van Dyck, and women's dress in Genoese portraiture, 1606-1627Howie, AnaThis PhD examines elite feminine dress in the Republic of Genoa and the politics of display in portraits by Flemish painters Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) and Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641). This thesis combines art and dress history to demonstrate how Genoese women harnessed clothes and images to negotiate their social worlds. I argue that opulent dress and exquisite portraiture afforded these women agency in a milieu defined by its visual and material literacy, and within a fashion system shaped by the political, cultural, and economic consequences of globalism. As key agents in Spain’s imperial machine, Genoa’s nobles managed the expansion of imperial dominion and the movement of goods and peoples. They participated in a global idiom of luxury, which cannot be understood without Genoa’s role in the histories of colonisation and slavery. Looking more closely at modes of representation within the portraits, I explore the valences of light and shade as they materialise in the dressed bodies of female sitters and their attendants. Charged with aesthetic, scientific, and racial meanings, the play of light in Rubens’s and van Dyck’s paintings is mobilised to mould sitters’ pictorial identities. I also broaden understandings of display to encompass noblewomen’s engagement with elite spaces. This thesis uses the backgrounds of Genoese portraits to investigate the ways in which Genoa’s noblewomen engaged with affective materials and social spaces within villa gardens. This thesis thus stitches together the material and sensory qualities of material culture with embodied gender performances and practices of early modern knowledge making. Engaging with contexts underexplored by existing iconographical and compositional studies of Rubens’s and van Dyck’s portraiture, this thesis brings a critical reading of dress, materiality, and space into dialogue with recent histories of the early modern gendered body, artistic and scientific thought, empire, and global commodities. As such, this thesis is a timely interdisciplinary intervention into wider conversations about identity construction, and material and visual cultures in the global past.
- ItemOpen AccessConor Cruise O'Brien, public intellectuals, and politics in twentieth-century IrelandHanley, HughThis thesis is a study on the ‘public intellectual’ in mid-twentieth century Ireland, where the figure of the intellectual in politics was routinely maligned or altogether rejected by a broad cross-section of civil society for being insufficiently deferential to societal norms and out of touch with the ‘real world’. It focuses on a major case study, Conor Cruise O’Brien (1917-2008), who, at the peak of his powers, achieved and maintained a remarkably high public profile. His books had a wide readership, his lectures drew sizeable audiences, and his public performances were widely covered in the Irish and international media. Based on the empirical analysis provided by a wide range of printed and manuscript sources, and by employing concepts and methods drawn from sociology and literary criticism, this thesis analyses Cruise O’Brien’s self-making as an intellectual, the construction of his public persona, what he had to say about society, and the media through which he intervened in public debate. The main argument is that his ‘positioning’ as a ‘courageous’ figure helped to provide him with opportunities to intervene in public affairs and establish a significant reputation not only in Ireland, but also in Great Britain and the United States. In Ireland, Cruise O’Brien turned himself into the standard bearer of liberalism at a time when the country was on the cusp of deep social and cultural changes. This thesis revises existing accounts of his life and work, substituting a more historically grounded interpretation of his rise to public intellectual status, his ideas about historical objectivity and politics, his thinking about the role of intellectuals in public debate, the relationship between aesthetics and political action, and his use of the rhetoric of disease to construct an image of public intellectuals as doctors to the body politic. The pattern of his activity showed his determination to perform the role of the public intellectual. By opting for passionate engagement with contemporary political events, such as the Cold War and the Northern Irish Troubles, as opposed to the safety of the so-called ‘ivory tower’, Cruise O’Brien consistently earned the label ‘courageous’, feeding into his own self-positioning and supplementing his ‘brand’.
- ItemEmbargoObjects, emotions, and the household in Renaissance Prague, c.1570-1620Parker, AnnaIn recent years, scholars have increasingly recognised that thinking and feeling are not abstract or immaterial processes, but take place through bodies, objects, and the physical environment. This thesis is a contribution to this literature. It examines emotions and the lifecycle in Renaissance Prague – a vibrant, intriguing, and often-overlooked city that had housed Europe’s first Reformation only a century before. In Prague, as elsewhere in Europe, the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were a period in which the emergence of consumerism transformed the fabric of domestic life and filled homes with stuff. My thesis focuses on objects that were acquired or abandoned by families during the life cycle stages of birth, courtship, marriage, and death – all transitions where individuals either united or separated. It draws on psychology and psychoanalytic theory to illuminate the early modern domestic world, paying attention to the everyday joys and pains of attachment to others as much as the broader cultural, social, and political structures that shaped the nature of relationships. Using criminal court records, probate inventories, and surviving objects from museums, I construct narratives that imagine the emotional experiences of Prague’s inhabitants and seek to flesh out the early modern psyche. In the process, this thesis presents a new interpretation of Prague’s history, showing how the emotions of the urban community drove and determined the Renaissance and the Reformations.
- ItemOpen AccessUrban Planning in Strasbourg and Sarajevo, 1848-1918Heckmann-Umhau, PhilippThe emergence of the modern city is one of the most defining phenomena of the modern world. In the second half of the nineteenth century, Europe’s urban centres underwent profound planned transformations. Among their most striking examples are capital cities such as Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Brussels, Rome, Madrid, and Budapest. We know a lot, consequently, about urban planning in the centres of political power. We know much less, by contrast, about urban planning in geographical and political peripheries. This thesis explores how urban planning unfolded in Strasbourg and Sarajevo, two cities that were at once peripheral to, and politically dependent on, their respective imperial capitals. From the 1870s, both cities were conquered, occupied, and, eventually, annexed by a central European empire. They became capitals of their respective regions, subject first to military, and, later, imperial administration. The two cities’ imperial predicament crucially shaped their physical development. But with time, the influence of empire diminished. This thesis shows that lateral networks of bourgeois citizens, local politicians, architects and planners had an increasing impact on the development of Strasbourg and Sarajevo. Their influence soon eclipsed the initial dominance of military and imperial hierarchies. By the eve of the First World War, the two cities had become active parts in an international planning discourse, a discourse that transcended regional and imperial boundaries and that connected Strasbourg and Sarajevo more closely to each other, and to other European cities, than at any previous point in their history.
- ItemOpen AccessHumanitarianism, Reform, and the Natural Rights Atlantic, 1815-1867Black, GriffinThis dissertation examines transnational reform networks in the Atlantic World—specifically between the United States and Great Britain—between the War of 1812 and the passage of the Second Reform Act in Britain in 1867. This period saw the rise of a transnational humanitarian tradition built atop the successful campaign to end the British slave trade in the second half of the eighteenth century. A new transatlantic reform system, constructed around feedback loops of persons and print, was coming into being. In the six decades leading to the American Civil War, Britons and Americans constructed a multifaceted transatlantic network of reform communication that exerted a novel transnational pressure politics. A multitude of reform movements—including abolitionism, women’s rights, temperance, and Universal Peace—interwove in this Anglo-American reform pathway. This dialogue was rooted in and sustained by a spectrum of natural rights beliefs filtered through a prism of reformist Christian convictions. Four principles were paramount: the equality of all people, the inherent worth of the individual as a divinely-created being, the necessary freedom to develop and further oneself, and the unity of the human race. Espousals of these truths were the transatlantic fuel of this reformist revolution. Binding these various humanitarian beliefs together was a foundational commitment to the transcendent value of the human being, a value that had to be defended from the harmful tendencies of earthly governments and societies. This was the birth of a Natural Rights Atlantic, a geo-moral space defined by transnational appeals to human connection and individual liberation in which the ideas and activities of humanitarian reformers from different movements intermingled.
- ItemEmbargoRabindranath Tagore and the Subject of Political FreedomChoudhuri, SalmoliMy dissertation reconstructs Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), modern India's foremost poet-philosopher and the first non-European recipient of the Nobel Prize, as a political thinker. Shirking simple binaries such as East and West, empire and nation, or poetry and politics, the objective is to recover the critical and creative ideas of an original thinker who was shaped by the complicated impulses of his times. Departing from the liberal and anticolonial frames of reading him, I take as my entry point Tagore's strident critique of nationalism not only in relation to denunciation of mechanical organization of political life but also to posit front and centre his felt urgency to reimagine the modern subject. The purpose of my dissertation is not to search for politics in Tagore but to consider how he rethought and remade the premises and presuppositions that constitute the definition of the political itself. Since colonization barred representational politics, literature, philosophy, religion, and education – subjects that are central in Tagore’s corpus – emerged as sites for political thinking. My dissertation conceptually interprets the ideas of sovereignty, freedom, law and universality that Tagore reappraised through these fields. Above all, I show how Tagore far from embodying the individualism of the heroic artist reimagined art and creation as the basis of modern subjectivity. Not an anti-colonialist figure in any easy sense of the expression, decolonization to Tagore also meant thwarting the familiar route of nationalism. In an interesting reversal, Tagore read in the colonial enterprise the dissolution of the imperial logic and the ensuing primacy of the nation which he defined as a corporatist entity bullishly pursuing political and commercial ends with no care for individual and social differences among its constituents. Liberation from British rule while replicating its nationalist biases would have meant very little. Tagore therefore proposed a theory of freedom that exceeded the negative impetus of emancipation from oppression. It was premised on creation as the positive basis of action and involved a collective dimension of living together with differences. Tagore’s key experiment in this regard was the establishment of a school and a university that animated freedom both in the making of the individual self and a collective subjectivity.
- ItemOpen AccessA Social and Economic History of Darzis (Muslim Tailors) in Calcutta, c. 1890-1967Chowdhury, HumairaThis thesis brings together two bodies of scholarship, the first on immobility, and the second on artisan capitalism. Darzis (Muslim tailors) and Dawoodi Bohra merchants who stayed on in Calcutta between 1890 and 1967, are at the heart of this study. They are shown to be resilient survivors rather than passive victims of ghettoisation and state control. Without undermining the real predicament of immobility – entrenched poverty, physical frailty, obligations of care-work, communal intimidation and everyday indignity – this thesis demonstrates how some Muslim tailors thrived in constrained contexts. This thesis examines their strategies of survival and negotiation through what I describe as ‘immobility capital’, a cluster of assets which consist of: (a) locational incentives and ‘mythic resources’; (b) a knowledge of material culture and consumption practices; (c) the ‘property of skill’; (d) a mastery of small technologies, such as Singer sewing machines; and (e) patronage networks, such as with Dawoodi Bohra merchant-outfitters and family firms. Not every tailor had every asset. For instance, a tailor with a skill did not necessarily have a patron, but adapted the skill in response to changing market demands for particular commodities. Together these artisan communities were able to transform their assets into sufficient ‘immobility capital’ to stay on, and sometimes flourish, in independent India.
- ItemEmbargoThe occupational structure of the Yangtze Valley in the twentieth centuryDai, YingTwentieth-century China witnessed devastating wars, radical political revolutions, and, recently, very rapid economic development that lifted hundreds of millions from dire poverty. The economic development profile of this century of revolutions has not been described with consistent and reliable data, leaving open debates on China’s transition to modern economic development. My Ph.D. project identifies jiapu (Chinese lineage genealogies) as a novel, reliable, and consistent source which allows me to reconstruct the changing occupational structure of twentieth-century China. Jiapu record individual-level information of descent groups with a common ancestor together with biographies detailing the life course of some members. The value of this source for studies of historical demography has been recognised, but the occupational information has not been identified and exploited systematically. My Ph.D. project created, from scratch, the novel Yangtze Jiapu Dataset (YJD) with 208,130 occupational observations from 828 counties in the Yangtze Valley, where more than 40% of the national population lived. Comparisons with censuses suggest that the YJD broadly represent the regional population. My project marks the first use of jiapu data to quantitatively estimate the occupational structure of the Yangtze Valley from ca. 1920 to the 1982 census, the first census with reliable occupational data. These new estimates and census data suggest that a substantial shift of the labour force out of agriculture only occurred in the three decades from 1990 onwards with the primary sector share decreasing from 74.6% in 1990 to 19.1% in 2020, which is much later than other changes characteristic of modern economic development, such as the increase in per capita income and the emergence of modern factories with high productivity. The occupational structure series also suggest continuities in the increase in industrial employment across the divides of 1949 when the People’s Republic of China was established and 1978 when the ‘reform and opening-up’ started, which were regarded as political and economic turning points. Comparing the occupational structure and GDP structure data shows that neither the period 1950–1978 nor the period 1978–2020 witnessed the structural change that Kuznets observed in many earlier-developed countries, which he suggested was a concomitant of modern economic growth. The YJD also reveals patterns of by-employment and women’s work. Theories of the division of labour, proto-industrialisation, involution, industrious revolution, and economic resilience suggest that by-employment undergoes a continuous decline, or no substantial change, or a rise and then a decline in economic development, but these hypotheses have not been supported with longitudinal empirical data. The YJD, for the first time, provides direct evidence of the prevalence of by-employment over time, which suggests two surges of by-employment among men born between 1821 and 1990, reflecting influences of specialisation, structural change, and institutional changes relating to land and labour. My Ph.D. project also exploited the microdata of the farm household survey led by John Lossing Buck in the period 1929–1933, which suggests that the male by-employment pattern of the Yangtze Valley was similar to that of Yamanashi, Japan, in 1879, conforming to the Asian pattern proposed by Saito and Settsu, in which the majority of cases were of peasant farmers having subsidiary employment in industry, commerce or transport. The by-employment pattern of women in the Yangtze Valley is slightly different in that women devoted more of their working time to domestic industries than to agricultural production. The YJD documents the significant expansion in the diversity of women’s work from mostly agriculture and textiles to all occupational categories in the twentieth century, with an increase in the female-to-male ratio for most occupational groups. Data for 42,666 couples show that married women in different sectors and born in different periods had diverse experiences of engaging in the same occupation as their husbands, due to differences in the prevalence of family-based business, marital matching strategies, and political movements. My Ph.D. project also investigated the female labour force participation rate (FLFPR) by combining Buck’s survey 1929–1933, population registers in the 1940s, and censuses in the period 1982–2020. Strikingly diverging from the U-shaped profile found in the industrialisation of Britain and the US, the FLFPR in the Yangtze Valley followed an inverse U-shaped profile from the 1930s to 2020, showing the influences of collective institutions, education, and foot-binding. The geographical variations of the prevalence of foot-binding were not recorded completely in archives, but the ‘embodied’ nature of foot-binding suggests that foot-binding still impacted the participation in market production of women with bound feet in the 1980s. The 1982 FLFPR data, therefore, were used to estimate the geography of foot-binding in the 1930s. Future research that integrates the macro occupational structures, which this project illuminates, and the micro experiences of people’s working lives, as recorded in jiapu biographies which have yet to be exploited, will achieve a more comprehensive understanding of the economic and social development of twentieth-century China.
- ItemRestrictedLanguages, Translation, and Encounters in the Seventeenth-Century North Atlantic WorldXing, Weiao; Xing, Weiao [0000-0001-6692-954X]Early modern migrations to the New World and transatlantic travel presented new challenges and opportunities for translingual practices. Spotlighting encounters between Indigenous people and settlers from England and France, my thesis investigates how languages functioned and were perceived in the seventeenth-century North Atlantic world. From the perspective of cultural history, examining languages and translation enriches our comprehension of the colonial past by illuminating Indigenous voices and transatlantic networks of knowledge production. My thesis covers four regions along the eastern seaboard of North America. The first chapter focuses on encounters in the early years of colonial Virginia. I show how the quest for knowledge of Amerindian languages traversed the Atlantic and enabled both Indigenous and English interpreters to become intermediaries in the early colony. The ensuing chapter is concerned with French-Indigenous encounters in Acadia and Québec. Marc Lescarbot’s writings offer a case-study of how French authors approached Indigenous languages and cultures. Upon their arrival in New France, the Jesuits struggled to access Amerindian languages, and their duality as language students and religious teachers influenced later generations. The third chapter zooms in on mid-century New England, where institutions including Harvard College and local print encouraged translingual dynamics. Through his correspondence, I examine Robert Boyle, the well-known natural philosopher who in London remotely piloted translation and print in New England. The fourth chapter illuminates New France’s end-of-century encounters in the Huron nation and Louisiana. Through the writings of the Jesuit Pierre-Joseph-Marie Chaumonot, I scrutinise language learning methods and the circulation of linguistic knowledge among Francophone and Indigenous communities. During their explorations of Louisiana, French settlers encountered diverse Indigenous peoples and reflected upon translingual issues. Studying these four regions, I consider North American contact zones as a ‘languagescape’ showcasing diverse practices of language learning, oral and written translation, and manuscript and print culture that transformed the European view of the early modern world.
- ItemEmbargoRhinoceros, or Young Intellectuals and the Radical Right in Interwar RomaniaTeodorescu, Horia-GabrielThis thesis explores the right-wing political radicalisation of a generation of young intellectuals in interwar Romania. Using the cases of famous figures such as Mircea Eliade and Emil Cioran, as well as of lesser-known individuals such as Mihail Polihroniade, this work tells the story of one generation’s journey from the avant-garde of European culture to fascism. They came of age in a cultural environment which was saturated with reactionary ideas that pushed back against the liberal legacy of the 1848 revolutionaries. Their political radicalisation began in the lecture halls of Romanian universities, where charismatic professors preached exalted nationalism. The milieus and networks to which these intellectuals belonged facilitated political socialisation. Newspaper offices, in particular, were spaces for the production and dissemination of right-wing ideology, as well as for the creation of key mentorship relations. Through their foreign trips and studies abroad, fresh university graduates became acquainted with new political currents, including Italian Fascism and German National-Socialism. The ideological eclecticism of the Legion of the Archangel St. Michael, interwar Romania’s main fascist organisation, afforded space within the movement for individuals with distinct interests, backgrounds, and political temperaments. The Legion welcomed the social radicalism of Mihail Polihroniade, the nihilistic nationalism of Emil Cioran, as well as the egocentric mysticism of Mircea Eliade. Many of these intellectuals lived their fascism away from the violence of street battles, supporting the Legion’s cause through written and spoken propaganda. They bestowed prestige and legitimacy upon this fascist organisation, contributing to its short-lived political success in 1940-1941. The Second World War constituted the twilight of the fascist experiment and, for most of the main characters in this story, death, exile, or imprisonment ensued. Many of these intellectuals struggled to come to terms during the postwar period with the consequences of their political commitments, in particular the Holocaust. Though totalitarian temptations haunted much of Europe throughout the 20th century, the case of the young Romanian intellectuals and of their support for a radical right-wing movement is exceptional.
- ItemEmbargoCovering the World with the International Herald TribuneSchaefer, ChristopherThis dissertation provides an institutional history of the International Herald Tribune, the most prominent international newspaper from the 1960s until the 2000s, and a social history of the American journalists who produced it. As a publication that took advantage of telecommunications advances to print remotely beginning in the 1970s, it was a rare print newspaper to achieve international distribution before the internet era. The IHT drew on the resources of its two parent publications, the Washington Post and the New York Times, to produce a daily newspaper for a global elite readership at a time when those newspapers were transforming American journalism through their coverage of the Vietnam War, the Pentagon Papers, and Watergate. This dissertation provides a transnational account of American journalism as a constituent part of American market empire by tracing the evolutions that the IHT underwent from the end of Marshall Plan attempts to use it as a tool of American soft power, through technological and neoliberal transformations, up to the end of the Cold War and the digital revolution. It details the constellation of technological, political, social, and cultural forces that allowed the IHT’s distribution to expand from France to cover the entire world. It examines the implications of a global readership and follows key developments in American journalism and geopolitics from the decentered perspective of American journalists in Paris. Concluding with the digital transition, it shows that the IHT was incapable of transferring its print era success to a new paradigm because of its hybrid corporate structure, born out of a unique mid-century conjuncture of American media consolidation and Cold War geopolitics.
- ItemEmbargoOnline and brick-and-mortar museums in Central and Eastern Europe (1989-present)Wojtych, Tadeusz; Wojtych, Tadeusz [0000-0002-2588-9112]Online museums experienced their renaissance during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Even before 2020, however, they occupied a prominent – yet under-researched – place on Central and Eastern Europe’s commemorative landscape. Historians and museologists have analysed brick-and-mortar museums, but they mostly avoided venturing into the online sphere. Researchers of the Internet, in turn, tended to stay away from historical museums. As a result, the existing scholarship only partially explains how narratives of the past are forged in Central and Eastern Europe. This gap in research is pressing especially now, as the online sphere is polarising, and the past is being mobilised by political actors and authoritarian regimes to further exclusionist policies. My PhD thesis seeks to fill this gap: I analyse historical museums based on websites and on mobile applications. How do online exhibitions represent the past differently than their brick-and-mortar counterparts? The project is founded on literature from four areas of research. The politics of history – the ways in which the past is used for present-day goals – has been studied by historians and political scientists, but most of their work has a national focus and omits museums. Museologists have engaged with the social and political contexts in which museums function, but they scarcely analyse online exhibitions. Social scientists studying the Internet, in turn, tend to study present-oriented phenomena, at the expense of history-related content (and, in particular, of museums). Finally, historians adopting the transnational perspective analyse the academic implications of their work, while often omitting its impact on and resonance in popular narratives about the past. I build on and further develop the research and methodologies from each of these fields. At the same time, my interdisciplinary project brings together these four areas of research, hitherto largely isolated from one another. Against this backdrop, I analyse six museums from Germany, Poland, and Russia. Each of my case studies has both online and brick-and-mortar components, and each commemorates twentieth-century events entangled in the history or collective memory of multiple nations and communities; in particular, all six museums engage with (forced) migrations. This is why my case studies have been described as (or accused of being) transnational. The first chapter of my thesis explores the case studies in detail and probes into the online-offline binary. The subsequent four chapters explore how online and offline exhibitions approach: (1) exhibits, (2) space and spatiality, (3) the museums’ activities beyond the exhibition, and (4) the people involved in commemoration. In the concluding chapter, I explore the methodological opportunities and challenges of researching online museums – a novel, yet pressing topic. Online museums, in line with ‘new museology’, tend to be more democratic than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Projects based on websites or on mobile apps allow for a multiplicity of historical narratives, engage with their host and target communities, and exercise self-criticism. The Internet helps curators to obtain and display various – often conflicting – exhibits, testimonies, and interpretations of the past. I argue, however, that online museums are more aligned with the principles of ‘new museology’ only in part thanks to the Internet’s inherently democratising potential. Often, online museums are simply newer or more malleable than brick-and-mortar ones. At the same time, digital technologies are used to constrain the visitors’ choices, to manipulate their emotions, and to impose certain interpretations of the past for political gain. The Internet, therefore, is not the democratising gamechanger that it promised to be in the 1990s. Instead, it provides new grounds for fighting old battles over history, memory, and identity.
- ItemEmbargoJohn F. Kennedy and the Summer of Peace, 1963Zenou, TheoIn August 1963, the United States and the Soviet Union signed the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. But that was only half the story: To be enacted, the Test Ban had to be ratified by the U.S. Senate. President Kennedy was pessimistic. He confided in aides that getting this “controversial treaty” through the Senate was “almost in the nature of a miracle.” And yet, two months later, the Test Ban was ratified by an overwhelming majority. So, what happened? This thesis gives the answers. It provides the first analytical narrative of the campaign for ratification Kennedy and his allies waged in the summer of 1963. It not only examines White House strategy and Senate proceedings, but also grassroots activism, thereby drawing attention to domestic imperatives in the enactment of the treaty. Ultimately, this thesis argues, Kennedy’s campaign achieved more than its legislative objective. It made peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union a popular position and engendered the Summer of Peace; a political atmosphere where many, be they hawks or doves, thought the Cold War was nearing its end. Kennedy, in turn, used the momentum of the Summer of Peace to engineer a rapprochement with the Soviet Union. The endgame: to end the Cold War. But Kennedy died in November 1963, just as he was making headway. By identifying a distinct moment in the Cold War—which lasted another three decades—when peace beckoned, this thesis emphasises the importance of contingency in history.
- ItemEmbargoSocial Movements and Resistance to Neoliberalism in America, 1979-2000Saich, RichardNeoliberalism is a political creed defined by a belief in the power of markets to bring about a free and prosperous society. It is the dominant ideology of recent times, and one that has attracted growing interest from historians. This dissertation breaks new ground by examining neoliberalism “from below,” that is from the perspective of ordinary people who were affected by neoliberal policies and who chose, in one way or another, to resist them. It examines a range of social movements that organised in opposition to neoliberalism in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s, a period that has thus far received insufficient scholarly attention. It charts the emergence of a transnational network of movement actors, including labour unionists, feminists, environmentalists, indigenous activists, and others who were engaged in political campaigns within the United States and beyond its borders. Collectively, these movements highlighted the implications of neoliberal policies for rising national and global inequality, environmental degradation, and precarious employment. In telling this story, this dissertation brings together several strands of historical scholarship – political history, environmental history, and labour history – that have hitherto been treated as discrete objects of study. Three thematic threads are interwoven throughout the dissertation. The first is an emphasis on neoliberalism as ideology, a set of ideas, policy prescriptions, and practices grounded in a particular economic doctrine. The second is an analysis of neoliberalism as a distinct political economy, an assemblage of political and economic processes with distributional effects that advantaged some and disadvantaged others. It is argued that the study of social movements allows us to consider the interrelationship of these two dimensions of neoliberalism, together with their material consequences. The third thread is the argument that popular opposition to neoliberalism has so far been overlooked by historians because it was most energetic at the grassroots. The insulation of national policymaking elites from such dissent, obliges us to ask critical questions about the nature of American democracy in the late twentieth century.
- ItemEmbargoThe 'Civilizing Process' and the Politics of Conservative Womanhood in America, 1890-1930Quené, LauraThis dissertation examines the race, gender and sexual politics of conservative white women in the U.S. at the turn of the twentieth century, and explores how these women utilized the concept of the civilizing process to advocate for a more conservative society. Harking back to Victorian constructs, conservative women of this era sought to establish hierarchies of race, gender and morality, deeming these hierarchies central to the preservation of white women’s power in a changing society. Simultaneously, however, they agitated against patriarchal norms and sought to capitalize on the new opportunities available to women. By using the analytical framework of the ‘civilizing process,’ this thesis argues that conservative white women used the protean meanings of ‘civilization’ to coalesce these seemingly contradictory goals into one coherent social-political vision. It demonstrates that three conservative women of different geo-cultural regions with distinct minority populations each centered their political activism around four elements they regarded as central to civilized life: racial hierarchy, sexual restraint, traditional marriage, and suffrage for women. The three women at the heart of this thesis, Rebecca Felton, Alma White and Estelle Reel, each invoked the concept of the ‘civilizing process’ to affirm different claims to power. In doing so, this thesis argues, they constructed and disseminated a vision of civilization that conserved and enforced traditional hierarchies, yet called for white women’s involvement in the sociopolitical realm.
- ItemOpen AccessA Regional Framework for Historical Developments in the Caucasus, 1917-1921Slye, SarahThis thesis presents a regional framework for the political and military history of the Caucasus during the period of the Russian Revolution and Civil War. Based on journalistic materials, archival documents and contemporary publications in Russian, Georgian, French and English, this chronological study demonstrates that political, military and ideological leaders in the Caucasus 1917-1921 were operating in conscious awareness of their regional context and took it into consideration as they maneuvered through the challenges they faced in the international, all-Russian, national and local spheres. It does so mainly by proving that, despite their preoccupations with national or class concerns, these leaders repeatedly promoted or visited the idea of creating a shared political, administrative or security space for all the Caucasian nations, whether as a regional autonomy, a federation or a confederation. In 1917, the Caucasian leaders’ attention to the regional dimension is evidenced through an analysis of their debates, reflected in the press, about what sort of legal-political relationship the nations of the Caucasus ought to have with each other, a potential regional center and the all-Russian center, and about whether Russia should be reconstituted as a unitary or federal republic. The parameters of these debates had already been mapped in previous decades of discussion about whether the Caucasus ought to form a regional autonomy within a reformed Russian Empire or the Caucasian nations should create a regional federation, and whether this federation would be independent or part of a new Russian federation. As this thesis shows, in 1918 the “national-regional” question in the Caucasus was resolved through a spontaneous decentralization process when circumstances forced the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic, and, subsequently, the four national republics of the Caucasus, to proclaim independence. Then, between 1918 and 1921 the four Caucasian republics struggled, albeit rather feebly, to reconcile their conflicting interests and territorial claims with their need to cooperate to remain viable and survive as they each tried to obtain international recognition while under the threat of reabsorption into Russia, which was seen as a recentralizing force, whether White or Red.
- ItemEmbargoLove and Duty in the Political Thought of Edmund BurkeArmstrong, MadeleineThis is the first book-length study of the family in Edmund Burke’s political thought. It situates Burke’s ideas about the family within his broader interest in the civic importance of love and duty, which also encompassed love and duty toward friends, country, and mankind. Although the influence of what has been called the “family model” of Burke’s interpretation of the French Revolution has been acknowledged by cultural historians, the importance of the family to Burke has been underestimated by historians of political thought. In the existing scholarship, Burke is portrayed as a defender of the hierarchical, patriarchal family whose primary concern was to uphold the social order within the organisation of family life. This study reveals that Burke wished to defend the foundations of love and duty within the family in order to prevent the rise of tyranny. In his writings and speeches about empire and revolution, Burke identified the destruction of the family as one of the first warning signs of despotic power. Liberty depended, in his view, upon the strength and security of relationships within the family. By establishing the importance of the family to Burke, this study also draws attention to the importance of the family in the history of political thought.
- ItemEmbargoThe Transatlantic World of William Bloke Modisane, 1951-1986Njica, SiyabongaIn South African literary and intellectual history, critical perspectives on Bloke Modisane have largely centred on the singular achievement of his only published book Blame Me on History. While the book remains both a masterful memorial to the passage of a life and a unique contribution to the social history of black South Africans under apartheid, the narrative’s conclusion with the year 1959, its proscription in 1963, and the author’s appearance on the banned list of writers in 1966 has hindered scholars’ appreciation of Modisane’s intellectual and cultural production beyond the 1950s. It has also fragmented popular understandings of Modisane as many readers not only presume the book to be the only work he ever produced, but also assume to know the extent of his intellectual life and legacy. This dissertation traces Modisane’s intellectual and cultural development from his pre-exilic years in South Africa to the United Kingdom, East Africa, North America, Italy, the German Democratic Republic, and the Federal Republic of Germany. It argues that Modisane was a pioneering transatlantic intellectual figure who made an unrivalled, albeit underrated, intellectual and cultural contribution to South African creative arts, British radio broadcasting and theatre, East African literature and history, the American Civil Rights Movement, and the global anti-colonial and anti-apartheid struggles. Based on previously unexplored archives from South Africa, Germany, America, France, and the United Kingdom, this dissertation draws on the histories of black transnationalism, African and diasporic intellectual traditions, the black literary archive, history and performance cultures, and Commonwealth and cultural history. It situates Modisane in his rightful place as one of South Africa’s most prominent historical and intellectual figures of the twentieth century.
- ItemEmbargoAssociational Life, Print Culture and Political Thought in Najaf, 1905-c.1941Cooper-Davies, ChristopherThis thesis analyses Najafi intellectual and political activity in the first half of the twentieth century. One of the most important Shi’i religious and scholarly cities in the world, Najaf was transformed by the momentous political and social changes wrought by the demise of the Ottoman Empire and the formation of the Iraqi nation state. Despite increased interest in Iraqi intellectual and political life during this period, the Najafi Nahda remains a poorly understood phenomenon, especially in English language scholarship. This thesis addresses this shortfall by asking how Najafi public life was transformed by modern political and technological developments, as well as how its inhabitants responded to the seismic political, social and cultural challenges which accompanied imperial decline and quasi-colonial national integration. Drawing from journals and newspapers published in Najaf, other published material such as memoirs and pamphlets, as well as the British diplomatic and colonial archive, it explores Najafi ideas about social reform, constitutionalism, religious renewal, colonialism and nationalism. It pays special attention to the institutional settings for these debates, specifically the city’s majālis, its print culture and political parties. The principal argument of the thesis is that the full-scale transformation of the Najafi public sphere during this period created the political conditions for a number of locally produced ideologies and modernity projects, which had important implications for the development of anti-colonial nationalism, Islamism and, later still, leftist radicalism in Iraq. Recentring the political and intellectual history of Iraq on a peripheral city such as Najaf engenders a more holistic interpretation of Iraqi history in the twentieth century. It avoids some of the pitfalls of Baghdad-centred or elite/colonial-based histories, which tend to dismiss peripheral voices as non-nationalist, extremist or sectarian.