Alumni Dissertations and Theses

 
 

Alumni Dissertations and Theses

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  • Pittsburgh's Response to Deindustrialization: Renaissance, Renewal and Recovery, 1946-1999

    Author:
    Mariel Isaacson
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    History
    Advisor:
    Thomas Kessner
    Abstract:

    Pittsburgh was able to gradually ease its transition into a post-industrial economy in the second half of the twentieth century because of an elite-driven planning movement known as the Pittsburgh Renaissance. The Renaissance first addressed the physical failings of the city and sought state legislation that would support further urban redevelopment immediately following World War II. While the physical improvements were underway, Renaissance organizers began working with the University of Pittsburgh to upgrade Pitt's educational and recreational facilities so that it would become an engine for the city's future economic growth. City support for improved facilities, especially those pertaining to the growing medical center and scientific research programs, laid the foundation for the city's post-industrial economy. Evolving plans for a new municipal amphitheater also began in the mid-1940s, but merged with the federal urban renewal program in the mid-1950s. The intention was to turn Pittsburgh into a business tourism destination that would highlight the city's cultural assets with an adjacent Center for the Arts, but the finished facility failed to meet the expectations planners set for it and constituted a transformative experience for the Renaissance movement. When Renaissance planning resumed in the late 1970s, it returned without centralized control, but it shared the goals of promoting Downtown Pittsburgh as a business center, diversifying the city's economy away from steel, and emphasizing the city's cultural institutions. As Renaissance continued through the next two decades, these core values continued to motivate projects and link it to past accomplishments solidifying the importance of planning to the city's operations. By responding to the threat of capital flight in the 1940s, the Renaissance created a movement that could outlast any individual participants, suspend and resume operations as needed, and adapt to meet different crises that emerged over time.

  • The United States National Student Association: Democracy, Activism, and the Idea of the Student, 1947-1978

    Author:
    J. Johnston
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    History
    Advisor:
    Gerald Markowitz
    Abstract:

    The United States National Student Association (USNSA, or simply NSA), America's dominant national union of students from 1947 to 1978, was the locus of an extraordinary variety of student organizing over the course of its 31-year history. A confederation of student governments, NSA claimed an active membership of hundreds of colleges and universities, trained and informed tens of thousands of student leaders, and served as both a resource and a foil to the other student organizations of its era. NSA's annual meeting, the National Student Congress, drew participation from a broad cross-section of American campuses. It was an incubator of theories and strategies of student empowerment that shaped the university, and a site of debate, consciousness-raising, information exchange, and organizing work. NSA maintained significant relationships with a wide variety of other student activist groups, including Students for a Democratic Society, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Young Americans for Freedom, and the National Student Lobby, the last of which it merged with in 1978 to create the United States Student Association. From the early 1950s to the mid-1960s, its top leadership was also engaged in a clandestine relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency. Through more than three decades NSA provided one of the few sources of long-term continuity in American student activism, and its persistent emphasis on the student's role in the university and the larger society enabled it to retain its campus focus, and its student base, as other student organizations drifted, often to their detriment. NSA grew from the premise that a student organization could be both activist and representative of the nation's students. This premise was the source of much of its strength. It was also, however, a source of great internal strain, and a drag on some of the Association's grander ambitions. While NSA's grounding in student government lent it a stability, longevity, and ideological diversity that is unparalleled among American student organizations, it also often fostered a timidity and a bureaucratic mindset that often constrained it from taking bold action at moments of upheaval and opportunity.

  • The United States National Student Association: Democracy, Activism, and the Idea of the Student, 1947-1978

    Author:
    J. Johnston
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    History
    Advisor:
    Gerald Markowitz
    Abstract:

    The United States National Student Association (USNSA, or simply NSA), America's dominant national union of students from 1947 to 1978, was the locus of an extraordinary variety of student organizing over the course of its 31-year history. A confederation of student governments, NSA claimed an active membership of hundreds of colleges and universities, trained and informed tens of thousands of student leaders, and served as both a resource and a foil to the other student organizations of its era. NSA's annual meeting, the National Student Congress, drew participation from a broad cross-section of American campuses. It was an incubator of theories and strategies of student empowerment that shaped the university, and a site of debate, consciousness-raising, information exchange, and organizing work. NSA maintained significant relationships with a wide variety of other student activist groups, including Students for a Democratic Society, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Young Americans for Freedom, and the National Student Lobby, the last of which it merged with in 1978 to create the United States Student Association. From the early 1950s to the mid-1960s, its top leadership was also engaged in a clandestine relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency. Through more than three decades NSA provided one of the few sources of long-term continuity in American student activism, and its persistent emphasis on the student's role in the university and the larger society enabled it to retain its campus focus, and its student base, as other student organizations drifted, often to their detriment. NSA grew from the premise that a student organization could be both activist and representative of the nation's students. This premise was the source of much of its strength. It was also, however, a source of great internal strain, and a drag on some of the Association's grander ambitions. While NSA's grounding in student government lent it a stability, longevity, and ideological diversity that is unparalleled among American student organizations, it also often fostered a timidity and a bureaucratic mindset that often constrained it from taking bold action at moments of upheaval and opportunity.

  • Homonoia in the Roman Empire

    Author:
    J. Kinlaw
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    History
    Advisor:
    joel allen
    Abstract:

    This study centers on the role of the idea of homonoia in the eastern Roman Empire between 50 and 170 CE. It focuses on six Greek-speaking authors, each of whom form one of the following chapters, which are arranged in rough chronological order. These authors and their emperors view reality through a lens of virtue and vice, and the ideal of "like-mindedness" has a vital, if little-discussed place in such a worldview. The socio-political value of homonoia was important enough to be personified and worshiped as deity. Nevertheless, there is no English monograph on the topic. This dissertation highlights the role of homonoia in authors traditionally labelled as either "pagan" or "Christian." Homonoia was essential in both these environments. It played an important role in the socio-political assemblies, on the one hand, as well as philosophical and religious dialogue, on the other.

  • Goals and Dreams: The Quest to Create Elite Youth Athletes in France, 1958-92

    Author:
    Lindsay Krasnoff
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    History
    Advisor:
    Evelyn Ackerman
    Abstract:

    France was one of the first countries to develop programs that integrated youth athletics with academics and medical supervision to produce elite athletes. Today the products of the French systems play for the best teams and leagues around the world. Many countries from Africa to Great Britain have implemented youth training structures based upon the French model. But it was not always this way. This study examines the origins, implementation, and evolution of French youth sports training programs from 1958 to 1992. The lenses of football and basketball are used to amplify how Anglo-American team sports were used by the French to reformulate French identity and influence. Yet, this work is about more than just athletics. It is the story of France during the last half of the twentieth century, how it grappled with and adjusted to the many transitions that defined the post-1945 era, and how it positioned itself in the new Cold War world. Sport, specifically at the youth level, was one of the ways in which the French tried to address and adapt to a variety of post-war changes. After 1973, sport was an antidote to the legacy of 1968: a way to reinforce authority and nationalism in an era of increasing globalization during which the youth tested the limits of the rules. Youth sports programs served to assimilate youth, especially immigrant youth, into French society. France used youth sports as an agent of modernization, to re-launch itself as a rejuvenated nation that relied upon rationalized athletic development to produce elite athletes, ideal citizens who would win international sporting events and titles. The youth sports programs were important ways for the French to regain their sense of honor and prestige domestically and abroad. At a time in which soft power was an important tool of diplomacy, such athletic successes helped to demonstrate a revived France in a way that Charles de Gaulle was unable to accomplish during the 1960s.

  • More than a Box: The Economic and Social Implications of an Innovation in Freight Transport, 1956-2000

    Author:
    Marc Levinson
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    History
    Advisor:
    Thomas Kessner
    Abstract:

    The shipping container is an underappreciated technological innovation of the second half of the twentieth century. After decades of failed experiments with various types of containers, the modern intermodal container came into use in the United States in 1956. Its initial economic consequences were felt most strongly in New York City, where the displacement of breakbulk shipping by container shipping through an entirely new port complex in New Jersey caused substantial job loss among longshoremen and contributed to the decline of manufacturing. Containerization came into international use across the North Atlantic in 1966, and was adopted in trans-Pacific trade following its successful use to supply U.S. troops in the Vietnam War. Containerization caused large shifts in port activity, as previously obscure ports, such as Oakland, California, and Felixstowe, England, displaced traditional maritime centers that lacked the space and transport connections to function efficiently as container ports, such as San Francisco and London. Starting in the late 1970s, regulatory changes, especially in the United States, permitted motor carriers, railroads, and ship lines to offer coordinated services based on confidential contracts covering rates and terms of service, leading to reductions in shippers' costs in return for volume guarantees that permitted carriers to make more efficient use of assets. These changes improved service reliability while making freight transport a less significant factor in firms' decision-making. The ability to ship goods in a single container from origin to destination, under a contract specifying equipment availability, delivery times, and rates, dramatically lowered the cost of shipping manufactured goods internationally. Manufacturers and retailers were then able to locate facilities and make sourcing arrangements in order to minimize other costs, such as labor and taxes. Containerization was a necessary but not sufficient condition for the subsequent shift of manufacturing activity from high-wage to low-wage countries and the creation of long-distance supply chains to assure the timely delivery of goods to market. These are important aspects of the phenomenon now termed "globalization," and would not have been possible without containerization.

  • Refugees and Resistance: International Activism for Grassroots Democracy and Human Rights in New York, Miami, and Haiti, 1957 to 1994

    Author:
    Carl Lindskoog
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    History
    Advisor:
    Joshua Freeman
    Abstract:

    This dissertation explores the evolution of political activism among Haitians in the United States from the formation of Haitian New York in the late 1950s to the return of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to Haiti in 1994. It traces the efforts of Haitian activists to build bridges connecting New York and Miami to the grassroots organizations in Haiti, finding a considerable degree of success in their efforts to construct a transnational movement that had a substantial impact both in Haiti and in the United States. Shedding additional light on the interconnected history of Haiti and the United States, this dissertation also adds to the growing historiography on immigrant activism and international campaigns for democracy and human rights. At the outset, politics in Haitian New York was splintered among competing factions, though by the early 1970s there began to form a somewhat unified anti-Duvalier opposition movement. The arrival of the Haitian "boat people" in South Florida in the early 1970s continued the evolution of Haitian politics in the United States, triggering a refugee crisis that drew the attention of the activists in New York and forcing a reconsideration of political vision and strategy that had previously been solely concerned with the overthrow of the Duvalier dictatorship. The grassroots resistance in Haiti and in the United States saw a slight opening with the arrival of President Jimmy Carter, but with Carter's successor, Ronald Reagan, came a wave of repression in Haiti and stringent new policies toward Haitian refugees. The uprisings of 1985 and 1986 that toppled the Duvalier dictatorship transformed Haitian politics at home and abroad, enabling an expanded and tightened network of activism connecting New York, Miami, and Haiti, which grew from 1987 to 1989. The years 1990 and 1991 were the pinnacle moment for the linked popular movements in New York, Miami, and Haiti, though Haitian activists were soon forced to pour their energy into the overlapping campaigns aimed at reversing the coup against Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and defending the new wave of refugees that the coup produced.

  • Learning to be modern: American Missionary Colleges in Beirut and Kyoto 1860-1920

    Author:
    Aleksandra Majstorac-Kobiljski
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    History
    Advisor:
    Beth Baron
    Abstract:

    In 1874, ABCFM, the richest and one of the most conservative evangelical organizations in North America decided to open in Japan an English-language institution of higher learning with a largely liberal arts curriculum. This was a shift away from its policies against educational work that was not based solely on the Scriptures and done in the local language. This shift and therefore the genesis of Doshisha English School (today Doshisha University) in Kyoto, was in large part the result of the successful establishment a decade earlier of the Syrian Protestant College in Beirut. In the early 1860s, a group of renegade ABCFM missionaries, under the pressure from nascent Arab and expanding Jesuit schools, challenged a long-standing policy of their missionary board policy on secular education and ask for support in establishing a college, as opposed to a seminary. Their rebellion was successful, the Boston elders relaxed their policies, and in 1866 a college opened its doors in Beirut. Its successful establishment made a Christian college an acceptable use of missionary resources and a model that soon found fertile ground in Japan. This thesis charts the connected history of the Syrian Protestant College (today the American University of Beirut) and Doshisha English School in Kyoto (today, Doshisha University) and analyzes them as sites that catalyzed the debates on religion and science and shaped the discourse on education, progress, and development both in their locales and in the United States.Besides being supported by the same missionary organization, the Beirut and Kyoto colleges were connected by a common benefactor - William E. Dodge, one of the richest merchants in New England who played a key role on both continents. The two colleges also share a particular institutional framework based on the model of nineteenth-century American colleges - a non-sectarian Christian institution with a liberal arts curriculum - such as Amherst, from which both the founders of the Beirut and Kyoto colleges graduated. Finally, their common role in the modern history of the Middle East and Japan connected the two campuses as they quickly became, and remain to this day, important intellectual spaces in their respective regions.

  • Learning to be modern: American Missionary Colleges in Beirut and Kyoto 1860-1920

    Author:
    Aleksandra Majstorac-Kobiljski
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    History
    Advisor:
    Beth Baron
    Abstract:

    In 1874, ABCFM, the richest and one of the most conservative evangelical organizations in North America decided to open in Japan an English-language institution of higher learning with a largely liberal arts curriculum. This was a shift away from its policies against educational work that was not based solely on the Scriptures and done in the local language. This shift and therefore the genesis of Doshisha English School (today Doshisha University) in Kyoto, was in large part the result of the successful establishment a decade earlier of the Syrian Protestant College in Beirut. In the early 1860s, a group of renegade ABCFM missionaries, under the pressure from nascent Arab and expanding Jesuit schools, challenged a long-standing policy of their missionary board policy on secular education and ask for support in establishing a college, as opposed to a seminary. Their rebellion was successful, the Boston elders relaxed their policies, and in 1866 a college opened its doors in Beirut. Its successful establishment made a Christian college an acceptable use of missionary resources and a model that soon found fertile ground in Japan. This thesis charts the connected history of the Syrian Protestant College (today the American University of Beirut) and Doshisha English School in Kyoto (today, Doshisha University) and analyzes them as sites that catalyzed the debates on religion and science and shaped the discourse on education, progress, and development both in their locales and in the United States.Besides being supported by the same missionary organization, the Beirut and Kyoto colleges were connected by a common benefactor - William E. Dodge, one of the richest merchants in New England who played a key role on both continents. The two colleges also share a particular institutional framework based on the model of nineteenth-century American colleges - a non-sectarian Christian institution with a liberal arts curriculum - such as Amherst, from which both the founders of the Beirut and Kyoto colleges graduated. Finally, their common role in the modern history of the Middle East and Japan connected the two campuses as they quickly became, and remain to this day, important intellectual spaces in their respective regions.

  • How Water Became Public in Progressive-Era New York, 1883-1917

    Author:
    Gwynneth Malin
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    History
    Advisor:
    Thomas Kessner
    Abstract:

    Four distinctive features of this historical period prompted the City of New York to undertake water management. First, the severe drought of 1881 forced the city to expedite construction of the New Croton Aqueduct in 1883. While the city was building the new aqueduct, the urban public began to spend their leisure time at the High Bridge, which monumentalized the Old Croton Aqueduct and raised awareness of public water. Second, the cholera scare of 1892 prompted the city to protect the Croton watershed from pollution. Third, the high-profile derailment of an intricate scheme of graft, in 1899, drove city officials to begin to eliminate private water companies and to increase vigilance about municipal corruption related to water. Fourth, the consolidation of Greater New York increased city and state power and improvements in municipal finance facilitated a new public water bureaucracy, which allowed the city to build, manage, and pay for its own water system, marked by the completion of the Catskills system in 1917. The management of water serves as an early example of government intervention in New York, which began before public schools, before the subway, and before government regulation of private gas and electric companies. Support for the idea of public water emerged as early as 1835 when the public voted in favor of building the city-run Croton water system, but public water was not on solid ground until much later. In fact, the idea of public water preceded the necessary infrastructure, bureaucracy, and finances required to make it possible. While no municipal operation is ever wholly public or private, between 1883 and 1917, the notion of public management of water triumphed in New York. It was during this long historical moment that city officials and New Yorkers began to think of, and to treat, water as a public resource. By providing a new synthesis of the cultural, economic, political, and social history of water in New York during this critical period, this study emphasizes the complexity and contingency in the story of how New York's water became public.