School of Historical and Philosophical Studies - Theses

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    “More than an engineering project”: How the Melbourne Underground Rail Loop shaped a modern city
    Gigacz, Patrick Peter ( 2022)
    From 1970 to 1983, the Melbourne Underground Rail Loop Authority (MURLA) oversaw the construction of three central city underground stations linked to Melbourne’s nineteenth-century suburban railway network. Melbourne’s City Loop was built in a global moment where the modernising potential of underground railway systems was promoted as a response to the challenges of economic instability and renewal of inner urban fabrics. In the Australian context, it was a significant financial and cultural investment in public transport, in a city dominated physically and socially by the private motor car, and during a period of considerable uncertainty about the future of inner urban spaces. Literatures of urban infrastructure in this period have focused primarily on political, economic and institutional narratives, with limited reference to social and cultural histories of technology and urban environment. This thesis argues that the City Loop was the product of a dialectic between the cultural significations of urban change and the physical transformation of urban spaces. It draws on the records of MURLA and popular media sources to examine how the Loop became a locus for discourses of modernity, through its advertising campaigns, the experiences and impacts of worker deaths, and finally in the physical spaces it contributed to the city of Melbourne. These findings contribute to the broader fields of Australian and international urban history by demonstrating how urban infrastructure is both influenced by and influences cultures of city life. The findings offer further opportunities for research into the role of underground railway projects in shaping twentieth century cities.
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    The Outer Circle Railway: Boroondara’s aspiration for a much-derided nineteenth-century railway
    Fearon, Paul Francis ( 2021)
    The Outer Circle Railway (OCR) was the last urban railway built in Melbourne in the nineteenth century. Historians subsequently described this ten-mile cross-radial railway as strange, notorious and a ‘white elephant’. This thesis corrects the largely negative characterisation of the OCR as a metaphor for government excess, political self-interest and the result of corrupt land boomers in the late 1880s. By examining the OCR's history forwards rather than in hindsight, this thesis argues that OCR was consistently supported and promoted by local communities, such as Boroondara, from the early 1870s. The thesis posits that the OCR was a logical aspiration given the economic incentives faced by Melbourne’s shires and their desire to influence the direction of economic development in their favour. This thesis describes the political and economic circumstances that led to an almost two-decade delay in the OCR's realisation, a delay ultimately fatal to the OCR’s viability with the onset of the catastrophic 1890s depression.
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    Paradoxical Representations of Vietnamese Women in Propaganda: The Communist Party of Vietnam and Conflicting Visions of Women During the Vietnam War (1955-1975)
    Ardley, Georgia ( 2021)
    This thesis examines the paradoxical representations of Vietnamese women produced by the Vietnamese Communist Party (CPV) between 1955-1975. Through analysis of the changing representations of women, it questions the Party's commitment to gender equality. Furthermore, it challenges the assumption in previous scholarship that the Vietnam War was a period of increased rights and revolutionary change, and instead suggests that Vietnamese women were circumscribed by the persistence of Confucianism in CPV propaganda.
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    Roman Slavery and Humanitarian Ideas
    Cronshaw, Benjamin ( 2020)
    The Thesis evaluates humanitarian ideas in the ancient world around Roman slavery, including from proponents of Stoicism and early Christianity. The Thesis examines Seneca and Epictetus as Stoics and John Chrysostom and Gregory of Nyssa as Christians. They are evaluated according to the principles of personhood, treatment and freedom to determine what extent they can be taken as humanitarian authors in the ancient context. They are also compared with each other to determine what lessons we can draw about slavery and humanitarianism in the ancient world.
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    Rust Belt rebellions: Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump, and the Democratic defectors of 1980 and 2016
    Sartori, Timothy ( 2020)
    This thesis offers a comparative analysis of the electoral campaigns of Ronald Reagan in the 1980 Presidential Election, and Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election. Specifically, it addresses the attempts made by both campaigns to win over traditionally-Democratic, blue-collar voters in the 'Rust Belt' states of the American Northeast and Midwest. In seeking to understand what factors upset historical trends, and caused Democratic voters in these industrial states to abandon their party in such large numbers and embrace the opposing candidate, it asks three key questions of each campaign: Was this an intentional strategy? What was the substance of the candidate's appeal to this constituency? What factors allowed it to resonate as intended?