Department of History Graduate Projects

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    Murphy, MacMurchy, and McClung: The Intersection of Eugenics and First-Wave Feminism
    (2022-09-10) Novoselac, Christina
    Feminists during the first wave made a significant contribution to Canadian society by promoting women’s equality. They worked towards better treatment for women through reforms that included the right to vote and dealt with societal issues such as drug abuse and alcoholism. However, there was a clear racial motivation underlying much of first-wave feminism. The prevalent racial ideology at the time was that only those with Anglo-Saxon ancestry were suitable candidates for Canada’s nation-building efforts. This made Canadian society an ideal setting for the adoption and spread of the ideas promoted by the eugenics movement. Whether or not first-wave feminists explicitly considered themselves eugenicists, they were nonetheless influenced by the movement to various degrees because of the eugenics’ prevalence and the racial climate of their day.
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    “The Flowers are Good, which I on thee Bestow:” Examining Aspects of Gender in Early Modern English Medical Texts
    (2021) Johnston, Katrina
    Access to medical knowledge was gendered in early modern England. Men were authorized to attend medical school and practice medicine by the Royal College of Physicians, whereas women were forced to rely on more informal methods of learning. This thesis examines both published and unpublished medical texts with the purpose of investigating the way in which gender affected one’s access to the medical marketplace. The first chapter of my cognate paper examines the publishing industry and focuses on the types of sources that were deemed acceptable for female publication, as well as the methods that women utilized to produce information within the confines of the strictures enacted by the Royal College of Physicians. The second and final chapter of the paper analyzes the collaborative nature of unpublished early modern English family recipe books, specifically the gendered responsibilities that are apparent in these records. These two in-depth studies will allow me to compare what we might call the ‘public’ domain of medicine, with ‘domestic’ recipe books, and thus enables me to distinguish between performative and more intimate gender roles.
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    The Legend of Captain Michael Grass: The Logic of Elimination and Loyalist Mythmaking in Upper Canada, 1783-1869
    (2021-08-25) Esford, Avery
    This essay explores the “Legend of Captain Michael Grass”, the origin story for the community of Kingston, Ontario, which christened Michael Grass as being the founder of the settlement in 1784 after leading Companies of Associated Loyalists from New York City to Cataraqui. The aim of this study is to denaturalise the mythologized “founding” of the community by testing the legend’s three main claims that; first, the Kingston region was barren and uninhabited prior to the arrival of the Loyalists; second, that the idea to settle at Cataraqui originated with Grass; and third, that Grass was the foremost leader in the settlement. In order to accomplish this, I conduct a comparative analysis between the representation of Grass in the legend and how the historical figure is preserved in the archival evidence. The results suggest that Michael Grass played a far more limited role in the Loyalist migration to Cataraqui in 1784 while the British colonial authorities arranged for nearly all aspects of the settlement project. Thus, the Legend of Michael Grass is a settler society fiction which justified the dispossession of the local Indigenous Mississauga and accounted for the sudden presence of settlers on the north shore of Lake Ontario.