Theses (History)

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    Paternalism, Capitalism, and Political Suppression: Case Studies of Settler-Colonialism on the Grand River
    (2024-02-02) Wilcock, Cory; Cook, Peter
    The Haudenosaunee of the Grand River have received immense attention as objects of study by academics, but agents and systems of colonialism have been overlooked. As such, this thesis applies a settler colonial framework to the Grand River to examine how the interplay between individual settlers, corporations, and the colonial government unfolded. Because the end point of settler colonialism is acquiring Indigenous land, there are often similarities in the process across geographic and temporal boundaries. However, the goal of this thesis is to identify unaccounted structures and processes in order to demonstrate the distinct ways that settler colonialism developed on the Grand River. This is done through two case studies that take place during two different centuries in order to identify the through lines of how settler colonialism operated as both a structure and a process on the Grand River. This thesis focusses on the Grand River Navigation Company of the 1830s, the 1924 coup d’état at the Ohsweken Council House, and the conclusion briefly discusses the 2006 Kanonhstaton land dispute in order to thematically unite the cases. Over the course of three centuries settlers, corporations, and governments used paternalism, capitalism, and political suppression as tools to dispossess the Haudenosaunee.
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    Labour and Love: Working-Class Lesbians in Vancouver, 1970-1983
    (2024-01-04) Watson, Morgan; Lepp, Annalee; Marks, Lynne
    The experiences of working-class lesbians in Canada after 1969 have not been adequately addressed in historical scholarship. This thesis addresses that gap, using oral history interviews conducted with six working-class lesbians who lived in Vancouver during the 1970s and early 1980s. Situating the interviewees in relation to other working-class lesbians, within the leftist political movements, and within lesbian feminist community, reveals complex trends around class, politics, education, and culture. The cohort of interviewees were found to be removed from some elements of working-class culture; however, they also did not neatly fit into the mixed and middle-class feminist spaces they frequented. Upward mobility resulting from political engagement and education is posited as a reason why interviewees may have experienced a level of removal from working-class culture. Examining interviewees’ relationships to working-class lesbian culture and upward mobility begins the work of connecting the disparate bodies of scholarship that examine pre- and post-1970 lesbian history. Examining interviewees’ relationships to lesbian feminist community indicates the ongoing significance of their class backgrounds as well as the central role feminism played in their lives. By detailing the interviewees’ experiences of love and classism within the lesbian feminist community, this thesis begins the work of including working-class lesbian experiences into historical scholarship after 1969.
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    “Expansion is too Clean a Name for it.” Black Perspectives on American Imperial Expansion, 1898-1902
    (2023-10-10) Schneider, Rachel; Colby, Jason; Vibert, Elizabeth
    This thesis examines Black American perspectives on American imperial expansion during the Spanish-Cuban-American and Philippines-American Wars. Framed through a racial and gendered analysis, I use extensive archival material, newspaper coverage, and secondary analysis to frame and explore how this marginalized population reposed to the American acquisition of Guam, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Hawai’i between 1898-1902. As Cuba broke into open anti-colonial rebellion in the late nineteenth century, Black American newspapers focused on the struggles of Cuba's enslaved and oppressed peoples. Once the Spanish-Cuban-American war began, Black newspapers sought to establish the courage, patriotism, and strength of the nation’s Black soldiers through patriotic and cheerful news courage. Some Black newspapers argued that military service would fortify Black civil rights; others proclaimed that the nation had far greater troubles at home, rendering the US incapable of handling the challenges posed by imperial expansion. Letters written by Black soldiers shaped these narratives of bravery while describing how white American soldiers subjugated the coloured peoples of the lands the US occupied. Black soldiers humanized the colonized populations on the islands they occupied, reframing American expansion against the power of white oppression.
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    Between Past and Future: Charles de Gaulle's Geopolitical Foresight and Its Implications for Modern Diplomacy
    (2023-09-27) Fang, Francis; Alexander, R.S.
    Charles de Gaulle's foreign policy, intricately woven with the concepts of national sovereignty, European unity, and balance of power, stands as a seminal study in the realm of international relations. This thesis delves into de Gaulle's geopolitical vision, where he sought European cooperation as a counterweight to superpower dominance, criticized U.S. military interventions such as the war in Vietnam, and aspired for an East-West détente to promote international peace. With the 21st-century’s shifting geopolitical dynamics, this research draws parallels between his political realism and current global affairs, underscoring the enduring relevance of his vision. In an era marked by rising multipolarity, the reassertion of nation-states, and collective global challenges, de Gaulle's legacy sheds light on how to foster prudent strategic thinking as the world navigates through uncertain times. Through a detailed exploration of his diplomacy and its resonance in today's global landscape, this thesis aims to provide a rich understanding of the intersections between past foreign policy strategies and contemporary geopolitical trends.
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    Mission to Modernize Higher Education in China: Lincoln Zhang and West China Union University, 1890-1955
    (2023-09-13) Zhou, Kefen; Blue, Gregory; Marks, Lynne Sorrel
    This biographical case study examines the life and career of a prominent Chinese Christian, Lincoln Zhang, from late Qing times to the early 1950s. It documents his determination and actions to secularize, indigenize, and sinicize a Chinese Christian higher-educational institution and thereby contribute to the nation’s modernization. It contributes to the broader argument that it was Chinese Christian educators, not solely Christian missionaries, who played the decisive role in the creation of modern Christian institutions of higher learning in China in the early 20th century. The efforts of such Chinese Christians brought about the transformation in Christian colleges from prioritizing religious teaching to promoting wide-ranging academic learning, from accepting foreign domination to promoting Chinese ascendancy in decision-making and teaching, and from simply applying Western methods to reinterpreting Chinese culture and history in terms of world civilization. Applying a historiography that stresses agency, this study explores Lincoln Zhang’s intentions and actions to illustrate the motivations behind his educational initiatives. Through the lens of cross-cultural studies, it demonstrates that cultural encounters between China and the West in the first half of the 20th century resulted not only in conflicts but also in cultural stimulation and infusion, even in a rapidly changing society caught up in a vortex of international tensions. The dissertation investigates one particular Chinese intellectual’s efforts and contribution to China’s educational modernization in a way, which illuminates the political and cultural conditions of his times.
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    Epistolary Networks: Information, News and Practical Knowledge in the Correspondence of the Poppel Lobkowitz Sisters from Early Seventeenth-Century Central Europe
    (2023-09-01) Surján, Zsófia; McKenzie, Andrea Katherine
    The dissertation focuses on written communication and information exchange among close-kin elite noblewomen in the early seventeenth-century Habsburg Monarchy, using the extensive and previously unexplored bilingual (German and Czech) letter collection of the Poppel Lobkowitz sisters: Katharina Kurzbach (c.1570–1637), Maria Magdalena Trčzka (c.1570–1633), Sabina Solms (1584–1623) and Eva Poppel Lobkowitz Countess of Batthyány (c.1590–1640). This thesis painstakingly reconstructs what we can know of the lives of these sisters and conducts a paleographic close reading of their letters. It explores the practical aspects of letter delivery, the formal features of letter writing, and the written transmission of political news, secret messages, and practical medical knowledge in the early modern period. This study demonstrates that the complexities of the social, personal, and communicative dynamics among high-ranking female relatives can only be comprehended when one considers the interplay between the epistolary content, its material presentation on the page and the societal realities of the letter writers. The letters demonstrate how social and emotional disparities between the sisters both influenced the content and material formats of their ongoing written conversations and the degree of agency they could exercise. This thesis argues that the personalities, choices, and subsequent failures and successes of the sisters’ husbands largely determined the opportunities, limitations, and range of actions the Poppel Lobkowitz women could undertake on behalf of their families. While literacy granted these women the ability to communicate their experiences and daily pursuits through writing, their personal autonomy and agency was limited by the constraints imposed by the hierarchical structures and prevailing values of early modern society.
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    Trials and Clemency Cases of Abortionists in Germany, 1926-1932
    (2023-08-31) St Arnaud, Katherine; Saunders, Thomas
    The falling birth rate and rising estimates of illegal abortions during the Weimar Republic fueled fears about the decline of the German people. The movement to abolish Paragraph 218, the section of the penal code criminalizing abortion, was broadly based and transcended class. There is ample research on the movement to abolish Paragraph 218. However, little attention has been paid to the perspectives of the justice system and how clemency decisions were made. The first part of this study assesses the judiciary's stance on whether to pardon abortionists in six clemency cases from Berlin. These cases suggest that clemency decisions were based on the convicts' social class, whether the outcome of the abortion resulted in death, and the popular opinion in the media of the abortion case. There is also evidence that while doctors and lay abortionists competed for patients, they also collaborated to provide abortion care to women. The second part of this study assesses the criminal case of Else Kienle, the sex reformer and woman doctor, in the conservative town of Stuttgart. Kienle’s published writings from during and after her imprisonment on abortion charges provide a unique opportunity to understand the perspective of an abortionist on trial. Additionally, while Kienle is generally accurately represented in the historiography, I emphasize that she drew on Communist arguments in her writings on abortion. Furthermore, I argue that while Kienle fits the characterization of maternalist feminist in some respects, her views also diverge from that set of values and beliefs.
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    A Movable Closet: Constructions of Femininity Among Twentieth Century Transfeminine Periodical Communities
    (2023-08-17) Pihlak, Chris; Cleves, Rachel
    I examine conceptions of ‘proper’ femininity across North American and South African English-speaking transfeminine networks from the 1960s through the 1990s via a range of transfeminine periodicals. I first demonstrate the liminal nature of many members’ transfemininity and how the prevalence of an affluent and otherwise normative positionality informed a subcultural idealized construct of (trans)femininity. This model of transfemininity was both heteronormatively desexualized and distanced from homosexuality. The process of erasure of alternative articulations of transfemininity from this desexualized ideal, I term transfeminine normatization. This process played out at the level of idealized comportment and aesthetics, as sartorial and etiquette advice largely matched this subcultural ideal that was further congruent to white, heteronormative, whorephobic, middle-class, and gender normative societal valuations of ideal femininity. Finally, such norms were readily internalized by members through the affective power of transfeminine social spaces, given members’ former isolation and ignorance on knowledge of transfemininity in general.
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    Russo-Persian Relations and Russian Imperialism in Qajar Iran 1800-1906
    (2023-08-09) Goudazri, Baktash; Yekelchyk, Serhy
    Inspired by the approaches developed in the new fields of “Borderland Studies,” “Entangled History,” and the revisionist approaches to the study of imperialism, this thesis provides a fresh analysis of Russo-Persian relations and Russian imperialism in Qajar Iran from 1800 to 1906. This thesis pays particular attention to the Russo-Persian cross-border social, cultural, economic, and military interactions and the interconnectedness of the two neighbouring polities. This study demonstrates the great extent of these interactions and the significant role that they played in developing Russia’s imperialist policies in Qajar Iran. The cases of the Persian Cossack Brigade, the Russian Loan and Discount Bank of Iran, Russian deserters to Qajar Iran, Russo-Persian cooperation in subjugating the Turkmen, and the large Persian communities in the Russian Empire demonstrate how Russia developed and expanded its imperialist policies in Qajar Iran by building upon pre-existing social, cultural, and economic structures. Deserted soldiers, private businessmen, bankers, Persian labour migrants, students, and noble families were all significant players shaping Russo-Persian relations, and Russian imperialism in Qajar Iran. This thesis demonstrates how St. Petersburg’s imperial expansion in Qajar Iran was a complex and contradictory process accomplished mostly through Russo-Persian social, economic, cultural, and military interactions. Moreover, by examining the mentioned case studies, this work casts light on the significance of Russo-Persian interconnectedness for the understanding of the two neighbours’ histories.
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    (De)constructing nation and race along the Canadian Pacific Railway: First Nations and Chinese migrants in the colonial project
    (2023-05-31) Petrie, Emilee; Cook, Peter
    Much has been written on the history of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), but rarely are conversations regarding the experiences of First Nations and Chinese immigrants on the railway brought together. This thesis will analyze how First Nations and Chinese people in Western Canada experienced the construction of the railway and how, as racialized peoples, they were excluded from the original national mythology centered on the completion of a transcontinental railway. The seemingly benign symbol of a railway representing the nation continues the violence of naturalizing colonial, capitalist structures in the national landscape. A closer look at this history reveals the dispossession of Indigenous peoples, the destruction of their ways of life and incorporation of the capitalist economy—all processes that continues today. The history of the railway also reveals the place of Chinese immigrants as a distinct, racialized labour force in late-nineteenth-century Canada that reinforced and that was informed by the racial and economic interests of the national subject at an important time in the development of the nation and its national myths. Drawing on the insights of Manu Karuka’s Empire’s Tracks, this analysis situates the CPR as a tool of colonial, capitalist, countersovereignty.
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    The Soviet Connection: Russian Orientalism’s Long March 1800-1930
    (2023-05-24) Hayes, Mateos Glen; Yekelchyk, Serhy
    Although Edward Said's 'Orientalism' has been widely acknowledged for providing a necessary critical lens for the analysis of Orientalism in Western Europe and North America, whether post-colonial ideas neatly translate to the Russian example is still a question that provokes some uncertainty. This is largely due to the supposedly different ways in which Russian Orientalism evolved, namely that it never became a central component of Russian colonial policy in quite the same way that Western academic Orientalism did. The goal of this thesis, therefore, is to prove that post-colonial modes of analysis do have utility in the Russian context, and that this becomes clear once we make the historical connections between Imperial Russia’s Orientalism and its Soviet successor more explicit. This is not to say that Russian Orientalism produces the exact same results as its Western counterpart, but rather to demonstrate that we are nonetheless left with a system that bears many of the same traits. As such, this thesis will consider Russian Orientalism as one continuum of discourses and literature that begins in the 1800s and continues into the final days of the USSR, with a special focus on the years between 1890 and 1930. As a brief addendum, this thesis also draws historical connections between these developments and the contemporary geopolitical situation of the post-Soviet space.
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    Russian Colonialism in the North Caucasus: The Chechen Case
    (2023-05-01) Drolet-Duguay, Mathieu; Yekelchyk, Serhy
    This thesis examines the long-standing colonial relationship between Russia and the Northern Caucasus, more specifically in Chechnya. Arching back to Imperial Russia, this thesis seeks to connect the Russo-Chechen conflicts marking the end of the Soviet period and the inauguration of the new Russian Federation with a long standing legacy of colonial violence. In parallel, this thesis discusses the changing role of Islam in the Chechen anti-colonial struggle and in the current arrangement between the Kremlin and Ramzan Kadyrov, who now ruthlessly protects Russia’s interests in Chechnya.
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    “We know where we are” the role of place in indigenous historiography by Haudenosaunee and Northwest Métis Historians
    (2023-05-01) Osborne, Carla A.; O’Bonsawin, Christine; Cook, Peter
    Indigenous peoples in the Americas applied many means of encoding and passing down their histories prior to the arrival of Europeans, combining oral and material-based methods. They have maintained their own histories, including these original methods despite the violent disruptions imposed by settler colonialism. Furthermore, Indigenous peoples have adopted European-style methods alongside their own, both to share their histories with newcomers, and to help overcome the impacts of colonialism. The earliest written and published Indigenous histories for these purposes may be misunderstood as works of mythology, memoir, or outright fiction if presented separately from their context in Indigenous intellectual and historiographic tradition. To counter such misunderstandings and read these works in a respectful and accurate way, it is necessary to replace them in context and apply concepts from Indigenous critical and decolonial theory. This dissertation examines the changes in Indigenous historiography since the arrival of Europeans in two steps. First, it presents an overview of pre-invasion Indigenous historiographic methods and of recent Indigenous intellectual tradition. Then it presents two case studies of historical monographs by Northwest Métis and Haudenosaunee writers and knowledge keepers published between 1825 and 2018. Each case study applies concepts from Indigenous critical theory and decolonial theory to support reading the monographs according to the epistemologies and narrative genres of the Indigenous nation. The case studies illustrate how the Haudenosaunee and Northwest Métis written histories connect to pre-invasion, place-based records, and the ways that these historians have adopted and adapted Euro-style methods to new languages and media.
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    Japanese “Entrepreneur” on the Fraser River: Oikawa Jinsaburo and the Illegal Immigrants of the Suian Maru
    (2023-03-16) Sulz, David Kenneth Allan; Price, John
    Oikawa Jinsaburo, Japanese entrepreneur, re-located to Canada from 1896 to 1917 and engaged in business enterprises, utopian communities on the Fraser River (Sunbury, Lion Island, Don Island), and immigration ventures. This thesis introduces Oikawa through an English summary of Nitta Jiro’s historical novel, Mikkôsen Suian Maru, and presents historical evidence to verify, extend, and complicate this version. Substantial detail is added to the 1906 Suian Maru incident and the simplistic explanation of a deal to grant these illegal immigrants entry in exchange for a year of railway labour is problematised in the historical context of anti-Asian sentiment in British Columbia. A favourable (and unusual) confluence of several factors - the absence of pertinent immigration legislation, international obligations, official Japan’s attitudes towards emigration, the lack of public outrage, and influential personal connections - enabled Yoshie Saburo to negotiate entry on behalf of Oikawa and the Suian Maru passengers.
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    "Strategies of Resistance and Subversion": The Politics and Writing of Jane Rule, 1960s-1980s
    (2023-01-04) Hughes, Christine; Lepp, Annalee E.; Marks, Lynne Sorrel
    Jane Rule was a lesbian novelist and political commentator, whose debut novel Desert of the Heart represented one of the earliest lesbian romances in North America. The process of publishing both Desert of the Heart and her first work of long-form non-fiction Lesbian Images reveals that Rule saw herself as a Canadian lesbian public figure with a responsibility to her community. Her work for the gay liberationist publication The Body Politic also showed her commitment to gay liberation movements. Despite this literary and political presence, Rule’s life and work have been relatively absent from scholarship on the history of Canadian lesbian and gay communities. This thesis examines Rule’s life and writing as the subject of historical, rather than literary inquiry, in order to locate Rule’s politics within their historical context. Using both archival and oral history sources, this thesis offers a close reading of how Rule’s work engaged with both lesbian feminism and gay liberation, revealing the heterogenous nature of her political perspectives. I argue that Rule’s life and politics offer historians a window into the nuances and complexities of lesbian feminism and gay liberation, as well as insight into her relationship to these movements.
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    Qallunology of an Arctic Whaling Encounter: An Inuk’s Transatlantic Voyage, 1839 to 1840
    (2022-09-28) Pearce, Anne-Marie; Cook, Peter
    This thesis borrows the analytical framework of Qallunology to examine a nineteenth-century Arctic whaling encounter between Scottish whalers and an Inuk geographer: Inulluapik. This thesis analyzes the narrative, written by Scottish surgeon Alexander M’Donald, of Inulluapik’s transatlantic journey to Aberdeen, Scotland and Tinnujivik (Cumberland Sound) from 1839 to 1840. I show how Inulluapik’s experience in Aberdeen in 1839, as recorded by M’Donald, provides insight into early Victorian worldviews and perceptions, which I call M’Donald’s Qallunaat-dom and Qallunaat-ness. By conducting a Qallunology of M’Donald’s description of the historical episode, I examine his early Victorian Qallunaat-dom, which compared Inuit from the eastern Arctic to Scots in Aberdeen through his binary understanding of whaling, gender, and spirituality. M’Donald’s interpretation of Inulluapik’s experience demonstrated his contrasting views of Inuit and non-Inuit cultures, which intersected with early Victorian ideas of civilization, intelligence, behaviour, appearance, respectability, female domesticity and marital purity, and Indigenous authenticity. In contrast, Inulluapik demonstrated fluid resistance to M’Donald’s early Victorian binaries of subsistence versus commercial whaling, rural versus urban, primitive versus advanced, and uncivilized versus civilized, and Indigenous versus non-Indigenous.
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    The Ghost of the Balkans: Defining and Deconstructing “Balkanism”
    (2022-09-23) Zec, Milan; Yekelchyk, Serhy
    Whenever the Balkans becomes a topic of conversation or of serious political and intellectual discussion, the narrative always moves towards the apocalyptic and genocidal collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Out of the bloody fighting, and through incessant reporting on the destruction and civilian tragedy, emerged a particular image which came to pervade all understandings of the region. This is the image of the Balkans as a land of irrational violent passions, through which romantic nationalism and “ancient ethnic hatreds” trumps all other modes of explanation, and within which no true semblance of Western civilization or modern democratic structures can flourish. In 1997 Maria Todorova’s Imagining the Balkans identified this understanding as the concept of Balkanism, but the phenomenon reaches far before the 1990s and persists to this day. What this thesis attempts to do is undertake a proper analysis of the ways in which Balkanism permeates how the Balkan region is thought about and studied. It will also seek to reinscribe agency to Balkan scholars who across the 20th century have dealt with the depictions and study of the Balkans, and who might provide an answer to the quagmire of Balkanism. The ultimate goal of this thesis is to situate the malignant and colonial role of the West in constructing and reinforcing stereotypical and essentialist understandings of the Balkans. By establishing and calling to attention the role of the West in this way, it becomes possible to dismantle and shatter Balkanism as a pernicious force. Furthermore it becomes possible to exorcize the Balkans of the ghosts which, through popular narratives and works like Robert Kaplan’s Balkan Ghosts, have come to embody and haunt the Balkan region as a whole.
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    Malaria and Colonial Development Projects in India 1927–1935
    (2022-09-21) Lessard, Kelsey; Vibert, Elizabeth
    The 1920s and 1930s were a period of rapid urban growth and intensive changes to rural Indian geography through the construction of irrigation project to increase agricultural output. The work of several key researchers at this time demonstrated that these projects could lead to an increase in malaria prevalence. However, this period was also the site of a complicated entanglement of environmentalist and bacteriological thinking, which sometimes resulted in a disconnect between the research and the fieldwork that impacted the quality of research and the message malaria researchers were trying to send to the British administration in India.
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    “When I resisted him, I didn’t know what he’s going to do to me”: Jewish resistance to sexualized violence in Nazi forced labour, concentration, and death camps
    (2022-09-09) Van Der Meer, Kästle; Semmens, Kristin
    Despite the recent rise in research concerning sexualized violence in the Holocaust, virtually no studies exist concerning the ways in which those who experienced sexualized violence in Nazi camps resisted such abuse. That so little has been written about this topic means that many questions are left unanswered: Who resisted such violence? How did they do so? What factors impacted one’s ability to resist? What punishments did prisoners experience if they resisted a camp authority figure? In an attempt to answer some of these questions, this study looks at Jewish experiences of sexualized violence by Nazis in forced labour camps, concentration camps, and death camps and investigates how such violence was resisted. An analysis of survivor testimony shows that sexualized violence was resisted vigorously and in a variety of ways, the result of prisoners utilizing both their agency and luck. This study demonstrates that resistance did not always end in death; it was possible to resist sexualized violence and survive. This is critical, because in the face of genocide, survival was the ultimate act of defiance. Indeed, survivors’ own testimonies seem to suggest that those who resisted often went unpunished for resisting, even while perpetrators themselves faced consequences. Yet, even if attempts at resistance were unsuccessful or resulted in one’s death, they challenged the power structure that the camp system relied on, exemplifying the importance of individual resistance in the survival strategies of prisoners.
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    Inuit, Tuberculosis, and Political Determinants of Health
    (2022-09-01) Mrozewski, Josephine Catherine; Bryden, Penny
    Tuberculosis is one of humanity's most ancient and deadly diseases. It is largely curable, but its long co-evolution with humans has given it distinctive characteristics that make it hard to control or eradicate. The persistence of tuberculosis is usually attributed to social determinants of health. Yet, history shows that political determinants are more fundamental to its epidemiology. While tuberculosis is indeed shaped by social factors, along with biomedical and sometimes geographic factors, its distinctiveness makes it an especially expensive disease. This in turn makes it political, as decisions are made on how or even whether to allocate resources to treat it. Political dynamics are clearly seen in the history of tuberculosis among Inuit in Canada. Inuit bear a burden of disease among the highest in the world. The burden has lasted for more than a century, but it has not been uniform. Political factors shaped the history into four periods, each with a distinctive manifestation of tuberculosis. The most clear illustration of underlying forces comes in the most anomalous period, starting in the late 1960s, which centred on a unique project in Frobisher Bay. Inuit were given leading-edge treatments locally, and disease rates dropped dramatically. Yet the project was quickly cancelled. The factors behind the project and its cancellation are examined through a cross-disciplinary approach, drawing on archival records, social science and scientific writing, and recent genomic studies. These demonstrate that political determinants of health are the "determinants of determinants" of tuberculosis.