History Graduate Theses
The Exodus From Andover: Migration Case Studies, 1700-1750This thesis begins by examining the work of Philip Greven in his book Four Generations, which is about the early settlement of Andover, Massachusetts. In Four Generations, Greven argues that a land shortage forced the third and fourth generations to migrate away from the town and seek their fortunes in the wilderness. The focus of this thesis develops into a consideration of the settlement patterns and the prosperity of the third generation who chose to leave Andover, Massachusetts, those who struck out into the wilderness of Windham County, Connecticut. What happened to this pioneering migratory generation of the early 18th-century? Do the economic and social patterns found in Connecticut replicate patterns found in the original settlement patterns of early Massachusetts towns? And even more importantly, this thesis asks who were these migrants? These questions are answered by examining vital records in Massachusetts and Connecticut. In addition, deed and probate records in both states have been reviewed as well. From the information and evidence gleaned from these records, biographical sketches of five migrants and their families were created to help us understand the relative success or failure of their migratory experience.
The Burning Question: Early U.S. Radiology and X-Ray Burns, 1896-1904Early radiologists experienced occupational injuries that they called x-ray burns. Between 1896 and 1904, early U.S. radiologists debated the cause of these injuries. Using the American X-Ray Journal, I identify at least half a dozen competing theories. Notably, early U.S. radiologists seemed to resist the conclusion that their injuries were directly caused by exposure to x-rays. I argue that the early U.S. radiologists demonstrated vocational bias against concluding that the technology around which they were forging a new discipline was inherently dangerous. I also argue that this bias was left unchecked by a dearth of conclusive evidence that x-ray burns were directly caused by exposure to x-rays.
The Limits of Jawaharlal Nehru's Asian Internationalism and Sino-Indian Relations, 1949-1959This paper seeks to provide the genesis of the decline of Jawaharlal Nehru's friendly relations with China and of his foreign policy doctrine of Asian Internationalism by examining two key moments: the Panchsheel Treaty of 1954 and the Bandung Conference of 1955. Paradoxically, these international events sowed the seeds from which Nehru's non-aligned movement would arise. Nehru cast away his cherished vision of Asian solidarity, succumbing to the nationalistic currents of state building and the geopolitical trap of the Cold War.
From Paradise to Plantation: Environmental Change in 17th Century BarbadosThis paper examines the ways in which the environment of Barbados was altered after the founding of an English colony on the island in 1627. The rate and manner of change is addressed, as well as the ecology of the island before English colonization. Before English occupation, Barbados was primarily covered in thick tropical rainforest, and had no human population. Within several decades of settlement, the island was almost exclusively covered in sugar cane plantations, and supported a dense human population. The paper also looks at the consequences of environmental alteration. The change to a plantation ecology made many islanders wealthy and powerful, and made Barbados a major player in the world economy. But the changes made to the island ecosystem also impacted the health and mortality of the inhabitants, the economic growth of the colony, the prevalence of food shortages, and the heavy reliance on slave labor from Africa. Many of these consequences continued even after the 17th century, and some can be seen today.