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A Curious Collection of Visitors: Travels to Early Modern Cabinets of Curiosity and Museums in England, 1660-1800

Description: The idea of curiosity has evolved over time and is a major building-block in the foundation and expansion of museums and their precursors, cabinets of curiosity. These proto-museums began in Italy and spread throughout Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Cabinets of curiosity and museums transformed as visitors traveled to burgeoning collections across the Continent and England. Individuals visited curiosities for a variety of reasons. Some treated outings to collections as social events in which they could see others in their social circles and perhaps rise in social status if seen by the correct people. Others were merely curious and hoped to see rare, astonishing, monstrous, and beautiful objects. Scholars of the era often desired to discover new items and ideas, and discuss scientific and philosophical matters. The British Isles are removed from the main body of Europe, but still play a major role in the history of collecting. A number of private collectors and the eventual foundation of the British Museum contributed seminally to the ever-increasing realm of curiosities and historic, cultural, and scientific artifacts. The collectors and collections of Oxford and London and its surrounding areas, drew a diverse population of visitors to their doors. Individuals, both foreign and local, female and male, visitors and collectors in Early Modern England chose to actively participate in the formation of a collecting culture by gathering, visiting, discussing, writing about, and publishing on collections.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Puyear, Lauren K.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Remembering the Forgotten D-day: the Amphibious Landing at Collado Beach During the Mexican War

Description: The current historiography of the Mexican War does not give due credit to the significance of the landing at Collado Beach. No one source addresses all aspects of the landing, nor have any included an analysis of the logistical side of the operation. This thesis presents a comprehensive analysis of the operation from conception to execution in an attempt to fill the gap in the historiography. Additionally, the lessons learned and lessons forgotten from this landing are addressed as to how this landing shaped American military doctrine regarding joint operations and amphibious operations. The conclusion drawn from the historical sources supports the argument that this operation had a significant impact on the American military. The influence of this operation shows itself throughout American military history, including the establishment of amphibious doctrine by the Unites States Marine Corps and during World War II.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Menking, Christopher N.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Capital Ships, Commerce, and Coalition: British Strategy in the Mediterranean Theater, 1793

Description: In 1793, Great Britain embarked on a war against Revolutionary France to reestablish a balance of power in Europe. Traditional assessments among historians consider British war planning at the ministerial level during the First Coalition to be incompetent and haphazard. This work reassesses decision making of the leading strategists in the British Cabinet in the development of a theater in the Mediterranean by examining political, diplomatic, and military influences. William Pitt the Younger and his controlling ministers pursued a conservative strategy in the Mediterranean, reliant on Allies in the region to contain French armies and ideas inside the Alps and the Pyrenees. Dependent on British naval power, the Cabinet sought to weaken the French war effort by targeting trade in the region. Throughout the first half of 1793, the British government remained fixed on this conservative, traditional approach to France. However, with the fall of Toulon in August of 1793, decisions made by Admiral Samuel Hood in command of forces in the Mediterranean radicalized British policy towards the Revolution while undermining the construct of the Coalition. The inconsistencies in strategic thought political decisions created stagnation, wasting the opportunities gained by the Counter-revolutionary movements in southern France. As a result, reinvigorated French forces defeated Allied forces in detail in the fall of 1793.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Baker, William C.
Partner: UNT Libraries

A History of the Phenomenon of the Maras of El Salvador, 1971- 1992

Description: This thesis grounds its examination of the maras of El Salvador in the historical past (1971-1992) rather than the present, which constitutes a departure from current scholarship on the subject. This thesis revises our current understanding of the emergence and development of maras in El Salvador through the recovery, insertion and examination of key local events, conditions, and historical actors of the 1970s and 1980s. From signifying friendship and camaraderie prior to the late 1980s, the maras increasingly became the target of public concern and Salvadoran security forces over the course of the 1980. By the late 1980s the maras increasingly became associated with criminal activity in Salvadoran society and popular culture. To document these changed conditions, this thesis relies extensively on previously untapped and ignored primary sources: newspapers and oral history interviews.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Castillo, Vogel Vladimir
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Power of Perception: Women and Politics at the Early Georgian Court

Description: The early Georgian period illustrates how the familial dynamic at court affected women’s opportunity to exert political influence. The court represented an important venue that allowed women to declare a political affiliation and to participate in political issues that suited their interests. Appearances often at variance with reality allowed women to manipulate and test their political abilities in order to have the capability to exercise any possible power. Moreover, some women developed political alliances and relationships that supported their own interests. The family structure of the royal household affected how much influence women had. The perception of holding power permitted certain women to behave politically. This thesis will demonstrate that the distinction between appearances and reality becomes vital in assessing women at the early Georgian court by examining some women’s experiences at court during the reigns of the first two Georges. In some cases, the perceived power of a courtier had a real basis, and in other instances, it gave them an opportunity to assess the extent of their political power. Women’s political participation has been underestimated during the early Georgian period, while well-documented post-1760.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Stewart, Hailey A.
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Pre-professional Institution: Napoleon’s Marshalate and the Defeat of 1813

Description: Napoleon’s defeat in 1813 generates a number of explanations from historians regarding why he lost this epic campaign which ultimately resulted in France losing control over the German states. Scholars discussing the French marshalate of the Napoleonic era frequently assert that these generals could not win battles without the emperor present. Accustomed to assuming a subordinate role under Bonaparte’s direct supervision, these commanders faltered when deprived of the strong hand of the master. This thesis contributes to this historiographical argument by positing that the pre-professional nature of Napoleon’s marshalate precluded them from adapting to the evolving nature of warfare during the First French Empire. Emerging from non-military backgrounds and deriving their capabilities solely from practical experience, the marshals failed to succeed at endeavors outside of their capacity. An examination of the military administration of the Old Regime, the effects of the French Revolution on the French generalate, and the circumstances under which Bonaparte labored when creating the imperial marshalate demonstrates that issues systemic to the French high command contributed to French defeat in 1813. This thesis also provides evidence that Napoleon understood this problem and attempted to better prepare his marshals for independent command by instructing them in his way of war during the 1813 campaign.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Smith, Eric C.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Companion to the Gods, Friend to the Empire: the Experiences and Education of the Emperor Julian and How It Influenced His Reign 361-363 AD

Description: This thesis explores the life and reign of Julian the Apostate the man who ruled over the Roman Empire from A.D. 361-363. The study of Julian the Apostate’s reign has historically been eclipsed due to his clash with Christianity. After the murder of his family in 337 by his Christian cousin Constantius, Julian was sent into exile. These emotional experiences would impact his view of the Christian religion for the remainder of his life. Julian did have conflict with the Christians but his main goal in the end was the revival of ancient paganism and the restoration of the Empire back to her glory. The purpose of this study is to trace the education and experiences that Julian had undergone and the effects they it had on his reign. Julian was able to have both a Christian and pagan education that would have a lifelong influence on his reign. Julian’s career was a short but significant one. Julian restored the cities of the empire and made beneficial reforms to the legal, educational, political and religious institutions throughout the Empire. The pagan historians praised him for his public services to the empire while the Christians have focused on his apostasy and “persecution” of their faith. With his untimely death in Persia, Julian’s successor Jovian, reversed most of his previous reforms and as such left Julian as the last pagan emperor of the Roman Empire.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Lilly, Marshall
Partner: UNT Libraries

Weeding Out the Undesirables: the Red Scare in Texas Higher Education, 1936-1958

Description: When the national Democratic Party began to transform to progressive era politics because of the New Deal, conservative reactionaries turned against the social welfare programs and used red scare tactics to discredit liberal and progressive New Deal Democrat professors in higher education. This process continued during the Second World War, when the conservatives in Texas lumped fascism and communism in order to anchor support and fire and threaten professors and administrators for advocating or teaching “subversive doctrine.” In 1948 Texas joined other southern states and followed the Dixiecrat movement designed to return the Democratic Party to its original pro-business and segregationist philosophy. Conservatives who wanted to bolster their Cold Warrior status in Texas also played upon the fears of spreading communism during the Cold War, and passed several repressive laws intended to silence unruly students and entrap professors by claiming they advocated communist doctrine. The fight culminated during the Civil Rights movement, when conservatives in the state attributed subversive or communist behavior to civil rights organizations, and targeted higher education to protect segregated universities. In order to return the national Democratic Party to the pro-business, segregationist philosophy established at the early twentieth century, conservatives used redbaiting tactics to thwart the progressivism in the state’s higher education facilities.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Bynum, Katherine E.
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Century of Overproduction in American Agriculture

Description: American agriculture in the twentieth century underwent immense transformations. The triumphs in agriculture are emblematic of post-war American progress and expansion but do not accurately depict the evolution of American agriculture throughout an entire century of agricultural depression and economic failure. Some characteristics of this evolution are unprecedented efficiency in terms of output per capita, rapid industrialization and mechanization, the gradual slip of agriculture's portion of GNP, and an exodus of millions of farmers from agriculture leading to fewer and larger farms. The purpose of this thesis is to provide an environmental history and political ecology of overproduction, which has lead to constant surpluses, federal price and subsidy intervention, and environmental concerns about sustainability and food safety. This project explores the political economy of output maximization during these years, roughly from WWI through the present, studying various environmental, economic, and social effects of overproduction and output maximization. The complex eco system of modern agriculture is heavily impacted by the political and economic systems in which it is intrinsically embedded, obfuscating hopes of food and agricultural reforms on many different levels. Overproduction and surplus are central to modern agriculture and to the food that has fueled American bodies for decades. Studying overproduction, or operating at rapidly expanding levels of output maximization, will provide a unique lens through which to look at the profound impact that the previous century of technological advance and farm legislation has had on agriculture in America.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Ruffing, Jason L.
Partner: UNT Libraries

George S. Patton Jr. and the Lost Cause Legacy

Description: Historians have done their duty in commemorating an individual who was, as Sidney Hook’s Hero in History would describe, an “event making-man.” A myriad of works focused on understanding the martial effort behind George S. Patton Jr. from his ancestral lineage rooted in military tradition to his triumph during the Second World War. What is yet to be understood about Patton, however, is the role that the Civil War played in his transformation into one of America’s iconic generals. For Patton, the Lost Cause legacy, one that idealized the image of the Confederate soldier in terms of personal honor, courage, and duty, became the seed for his preoccupation for glory.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Rodriguez, Ismael
Partner: UNT Libraries

Cultural Exchange: the Role of Stanislavsky and the Moscow Art Theatre’s 1923 and 1924 American Tours

Description: The following is a historical analysis on the Moscow Art Theatre’s (MAT) tours to the United States in 1923 and 1924, and the developments and changes that occurred in Russian and American theatre cultures as a result of those visits. Konstantin Stanislavsky, the MAT’s co-founder and director, developed the System as a new tool used to help train actors—it provided techniques employed to develop their craft and get into character. This would drastically change modern acting in Russia, the United States and throughout the world. The MAT’s first (January 2, 1923 – June 7, 1923) and second (November 23, 1923 – May 24, 1924) tours provided a vehicle for the transmission of the System. In addition, the tour itself impacted the culture of the countries involved. Thus far, the implications of the 1923 and 1924 tours have been ignored by the historians, and have mostly been briefly discussed by the theatre professionals. This thesis fills the gap in historical knowledge.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Brooks, Cassandra M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Cowboys, “Queers,” and Community: the AIDS Crisis in Houston and Dallas, 1981-1996

Description: This thesis examines the response to the AIDS crisis in Houston and Dallas, two cities in Texas with the most established gay communities highest number of AIDS incidences. Devoting particular attention to the struggles of the Texas’ gay men, this work analyzes the roadblocks to equal and compassionate care for AIDS, including access to affordable treatment, medical insurance, and the closure of the nation’s first AIDS hospital. In addition, this thesis describes the ways in which the peculiar nature of AIDS as an illness transformed the public perception of sickness and infection. This work contributes to the growing study of gay and lesbian history by exploring the transformative effects of AIDS on the gay community in Texas, a location often forgotten within the context of the AIDS epidemic.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Bundschuh, Molly Ellen
Partner: UNT Libraries