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The Art-Union and Photography, 1839-1854: The First Fifteen Years of Critical Engagement between Two Cultural Icons of Nineteenth-Century Britain

Description: This study analyzes how the Art-Union, a British journal interested only in the fine arts, approached photography between 1839 and 1854. It is informed by Karl Marx’s materialism-informed commodity fetishism, Gerry Beegan’s conception of knowingness, Benedict Anderson’s imagined community, and an art critical discourse that was defined by Roger de Piles and Joshua Reynolds. The individual chapters are each sites in which to examine these multiple theoretical approaches to the journal’s and photography’s association in separate, yet sometimes overlapping, periods. One particular focus of this study concerns the method through which the journal viewed photography—as an artistic or scientific enterprise. A second important focus of this study is the commodification of both the journal and photography in Britain. Also, it determines how the journal’s critical engagement with photography fits into the structure and development of a nineteenth-century British social collectivity focused on art and the photographic enterprise.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Boetcher, Derek Nicholas
Partner: UNT Libraries

Polemics in Medieval Sufi Biographies

Description: The eleventh and twelfth centuries represent a critical formative period for institutions and practices that characterized later Islam. Sufism also emerged during the same period as a distinct mode of piety that gained widespread acceptance in the aftermath of Mongol invasions in the thirteenth century. Using early Sufi biographies produced in Khorasan during that period, this study will argue that the early Sufis were not only preoccupied with locating their own tradition within the Islamic orthodoxy but also defining the contours of what constituted acceptable Islam. The sources used are predominantly Persian Sufi biographies composed in Khorasan which form the main body of historiography of Sufism.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Ghafoori, Ali
Partner: UNT Libraries

Looting and Restitution During World War II: a Comparison Between the Soviet Union Trophy Commission and the Western Allies Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Commission

Description: From the earliest civilizations, victorious armies would loot defeated cities or nations. the practice evolved into art theft as a symbol of power. Cultural superiority confirmed a country or empire’s regime. Throughout history, the Greeks and Romans cultivated, Napoleon Bonaparte refined, and Adolf Hitler perfected the practice of plunder. As the tides of Second World War began to shift in favor of the Allied Powers, special commissions, established to locate the Germans’ hoards of treasure, discovered Nazi art repositories filled with art objects looted from throughout Europe. the Soviet Union Trophy Commission and the Western Allies Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Commission competed to discover Nazi war loot. the two organizations not only approached the subject of plunder as a treasure hunt, but the ideology motivating both commissions made uncovering the depositories first, a priority. the Soviet trophy brigades’ mission was to dismantle all items of financial worth and ship them eastward to help rebuild a devastated Soviet economy. the Soviet Union wished for the re-compensation of cultural valuables destroyed by the Nazis’ purification practices regarding “inferior” Slavic art and architecture; however, the defeated German nation did not have the ability to reimburse the Soviet State. the trophy brigades implemented a process of restitution in kind to make physical reparations through the confiscation of Nazi war loot. the Western Allies disagreed with the Soviet Union’s policy. the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Commission endeavored to return artwork looted by the Germans to the rightful owners or surviving descendants. Historically, the Western perspective of the Soviet Union’s actions was that the trophy brigades looted the conquered German Reich; however, during the period of Glasnost and after the fall of the Soviet Union, personal memoirs and interviews of Soviet trophy brigade members and museum officials have become available, and the Soviet viewpoint ...
Date: May 2012
Creator: Zelman, Laura Holsomback
Partner: UNT Libraries

Child Rescue As Survival Resistance: Hidden Children in Nazi-occupied Western Europe

Description: The phenomenon of rescue organizations that devoted themselves specifically to hiding and saving Jewish children appeared throughout Nazi-occupied Western Europe (France, Belgium, and the Netherlands). Jewish and non-Jewish rescuers risked their lives to save thousands of children from extermination. This dissertation adds to the historiographical understanding of Holocaust resistance by analyzing the efforts of these child rescue organizations as a form of “survival resistance.” Researching the key aspects of traditional resistance (conscious intent, extensive organization, and effective turn-out) demonstrates that, while child rescue did not present armed resistance, it still was a form of active resistance against the Nazi Final Solution. By looking at rescuers’ testimonies and archival sources (from Yad Vashem, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Centre de documentation juive contemporaine, and Kazerne Dossin), this dissertation first outlines the extensive organization and intent of Jewish rescue groups, such as the Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants (OSE) and Comité de défense des Juifs (CDJ), in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The second part looks at rescue organization and intent by Catholic, Protestant, and humanitarian groups. The dissertation concludes by discussing the effectiveness of organized child rescue. In the end, the rescue groups saved thousands of children and proofs that Child rescue in Nazi-occupied Western Europe was a valid--not to mention heroic--form of survival resistance.
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Date: August 2012
Creator: Decoster, Charlotte Marie-Cecile Marguerite
Partner: UNT Libraries

Showing the Flag: War Cruiser Karlsruhe and Germandom Abroad

Description: In the early 1920s the Weimar Republic commissioned a series of new light cruisers of the Königsberg class and in July 1926, the keel of the later christened Karlsruhe was laid down. The 570 feet long and almost 50 feet wide ship was used as a training cruiser for future German naval officers. Between 1930 and 1936 the ship conducted in all five good-will tours around the world, two under the Weimar Republic and three under the Third Reich. These good-will tours or gute Willen Fahrten were an important first step in reconciling Germany to the rest of the world and were meant to improve international relations. The Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defense carefully orchestrated all stops of the vessels in conjunction with the respective embassies abroad. Final arrangements were made at least six-nine months before the scheduled visits and even small adjustments to the itinerary proved troublesome. Further, all visits were treated as “unofficial presentations.” The mission of the Karlsruhe was twofold: first to extend or renew relations with other nations, and second to foster notions of Heimat and the Germandom (Deutschtum) abroad. The dissertation is divided in two large parts; the individual training cruises with all the arrangements, the selection of the individual nations and ports, and explores the level of decision making amongst the various agencies, departments, and organizations involved. For the Weimar Republic, the ship represented modernity and a break with the past, and embodied at one and the same time, traditional German culture and the idea of progress. Since the cruiser continued its training abroad after 1933, a comparison between the “two Germanies” makes sense. The second part of the research will explore the notion of Heimat and the Germans living abroad and how the Karlsruhe acted as a symbolic link between the ...
Date: August 2013
Creator: De Santiago Ramos, Simone Carlota Cezanne
Partner: UNT Libraries