History - Doctoral Theses

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    Presenting the future: the Irish Social Credit movement 1932-1941
    (University College Cork, 2023) Warren, Gordon; McCarthy, Andrew; University College Cork
    This dissertation examines the monetary reform proposals tendered by the Irish Social Credit movement in the 1930s and early 1940s. The phenomenon of monetary reform constitutes an understudied aspect of Irish economic history and in focusing on the monetary reform proposals of the Financial Freedom Federation (latterly the Irish Social Credit Party, henceforth FFF/ISCP) I contend that, notwithstanding the fact that professional economists tended to give Social Credit a wide berth, aspects of the FFF/ISCP programme for reform were more forward looking than the literature gives them credit for being and are, therefore, worthy of revaluation. By monetary reform I mean alternative proposals for issuing money and financing the economy than the conventional debt-based model. Social Credit, an economic doctrine developed in the Interwar years by an obscure British engineer, Clifford Hugh Douglas, in collaboration with feted British intellectual, Alfred Richard Orage, became the preeminent monetary reform theory in circulation in Britain and Ireland after the 1929 crash when the world experienced an acute and prolonged economic depression. The Irish Social Credit movement, which numbered Maud Gonne MacBride amongst its foremost campaigners, has received scant to no attention in the literature to date. Indeed, save for a short and impressionistic treatment of the movement in Ray Douglas’ 2009 work Architects of the Resurrection, the literature is silent on this phenomenon. The objective of the monetary innovations proffered by the Irish Social Credit movement was the removal of money creation from the hands of the banking system and making it a sovereign prerogative (democracy in a substantive sense). Although not especially numerous, the movement succeeded in attracting large crowds to their rallies and in alerting the general public to the possibility of alternate methods of stimulating the economy. Herein, I detail the forward-looking aspects of the FFF/ISCP’s monetary reform proposals arguing that the FFF/ISCP was significantly ahead of future economic developments in advocating a nascent form of basic income in the form of the National Dividend and in identifying a democratic deficit in permitting democratically unaccountable institutions a near monopoly on the supply of credit. All too often, we are apt to dismiss proposals for social and economic reform that emanate from traditions we might label as ‘suspect’ or ‘other’ not comprehending the assumptions that underpin them. This dissertation will elucidate some of the assumptions underpinning the FFF/ISCP proposals in the hope that it will be of value in assisting us in assessing the viability of the proposals for economic and monetary reform propounded by this hitherto substantially neglected entity.
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    Gender and the US military in the Korean War era, 1950-1953
    (University College Cork, 2023) Crunden, Rebecca; Fitzgerald, David; Ryan, David
    This thesis argues that the US military’s conduct, both at home and abroad, throughout the Korean War era (1950-1953) not only propagated but exacerbated harmful stereotypes surrounding gender roles and sexuality that became crucial elements of US military culture in the early years of the Cold War. Where women’s roles transitioned from auxiliary roles with the military to volunteer roles in the military during WWII, the Korean War allowed for a reframing of the sex-gender dynamic between the military and society once more by redefining the idea of a soldier to include women, which could only be done by restricting servicewomen’s roles to femininised ‘pink collar’ work. The military subsequently framed its recruitment methods through a gendered lens such as having servicewomen host fashion shows and by disseminating propaganda that painted a rosy, feminine view of servicewomen’s duty to assure parents that their daughters were not going to be ‘camp followers’ or ‘mannish lesbians’ but were instead learning skills that would ultimately benefit them in a domestic setting. Fears of communist infiltration worsened the adherence to these stereotypes, however, and those who did not conform to traditional, heteronormative gender roles came to be viewed as a threat to national security. Consequently, US officials pushed back against women contributing to the war effort in ways deemed ‘unfeminine’ and sought to remove or bar them from the war effort altogether. Juxtaposed against this drive to ensure the safety and femininity of ‘good’ American women, Korean women who encountered US soldiers in the warzone faced a form of racialised stereotyping which echoed historical US narratives of Japanese and Chinese women, one that placed Korean women in the unfortunate position of sexual exploitation. The slanderous accusations made against servicewomen during WWII that suggested they were there to service soldiers sexually thus became a lived reality for Korean women. By providing the first intersectional, primary-source based examination of the Korean War era’s women, both at home and in the warzone, this thesis reveals how negative gendered stereotypes in the US set the stage not only for the often-overlooked female experience of the conflict, but for the war effort as a whole. This thesis further explores several interrelated themes such as femininity, sexuality and gender, and concludes that the US military’s engagement with these themes contributed to an inherently gendered war effort that at once overemphasised the military’s need to ensure American women’s experience was safe and femininised and held no hints of sexuality, whilst tolerating a sexually exploitive situation for civilian Korean women in the theatre of war. Ultimately, in the US military’s first war against communism, the American government and military learned how to weaponise gender, too.
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    ‘Clear-Hold-(Re)Build’: an examination of the Irish Civil War
    (University College Cork, 2022-11-26) Prendergast, Gareth; Fitzgerald, David; Borgonovo, John
    What was achieved by the Free State during the Irish Civil War was remarkable. Within a period of less than a year they raised and equipped a standing National Army of nearly 60,000 soldiers, defeating an insurgency by the anti-Treaty elements of the IRA. Using the counterinsurgency framework of Clear-Hold-Build, and concentrating on the Civil War actions of the National Army in Cork, I will explain how the Free State managed to attain this remarkable achievement. Outnumbered at the start of the fighting, the Free State overcame the IRA insurgency by utilising a number of key concepts that included the combination of kinetic clearance operations and ‘Good Governance’ stability actions. Ultimately the disintegration of the anti-Treaty IRA occurred because of their inability to gain outright public support and the ability of the Free State to undermine their cause. The Free State also employed a superior force generation strategy using local forces living amongst the population. When these advantages were combined with enhanced Information Operations and the use of superior counterinsurgency tactics, they ultimately brought victory for the National Army.
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    'Its inhabitants are a reading people': from Cork city bookshops and voluntary libraries to the Cork Public Library, c.1792–1920
    (University College Cork, 2022) Lantry, Margaret; O'Halloran, Clare; Roszman, Jay; University College Cork; Higher Education Authority
    This thesis investigates the local reading culture of Cork city over the long nineteenth century, focusing on bookshops, libraries and reading rooms. It considers the question of the affordability of reading material and the ways it was accessed by the city’s population. It begins by looking at the city’s bookshops and book auctions and, by analysing booksellers’ catalogues, establishes what was available to purchase. The high cost of books and journals put these beyond the means of most of the city’s population. Borrowing from voluntary libraries was cheaper, which was reflected in the high, if fluctuating numbers of such libraries throughout the course of the century. The thesis establishes that this patchy provision was due to funding difficulties in what was a very small market of readers who could afford the borrowing fees. It was also because access to such libraries was stratified along class and sectarian lines. For the first time, a full picture is provided of the scale and range of voluntary libraries and reading rooms established over the long nineteenth century in Cork, including commercial circulating libraries, subscription or institutional libraries, as well as some standalone reading rooms; extant catalogues have been used to assess the range and changing nature of their holdings. An important milestone in Irish library history is the passing of the Public Libraries Act in 1855, although it was to be almost four decades before the Cork Public Library opened. This delay, which was not unique to Cork, is fully investigated in this thesis as are the reasons why eventually it was decided to open the public library. Although no archive survives relating to the pre-1920 public library, fortunately the printed annual reports do and excavating these provides a wealth of data from which to ascertain the services and reading material supplied to the people as well as how much use was made of the Cork Public Library. The advent of this facility resulted in an information store that was open to all, of any religion, class, gender or economic background. Furthermore, research shows that the Cork Public Library responded to the changing demands of the society in which it was embedded. During the nineteenth century increased educational provision enabled citizens to expand their economic prospects but, as this thesis highlights, the Irish public library in particular played an, up to now, under-investigated role in the self-improvement and autonomous development of citizens. This study principally aims to demonstrate the value of focusing on libraries and reading rooms in general so as to draw attention to their key role in providing intellectual stimulation and an educational resource for people over and above that which the state was prepared to furnish for much of the long nineteenth century.
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    'Clear - Hold - (Re)Build': an examination of the Irish Civil War
    (University College Cork, 2022-12-02) Prendergast, Gareth; Fitzgerald, David; Borgonovo, John
    What was achieved by the Free State during the Irish Civil War was remarkable. Within a period of less than a year they raised and equipped a standing National Army of nearly 60,000 soldiers, defeating an insurgency by the anti-Treaty elements of the IRA. Using the counterinsurgency framework of Clear-Hold-Build, and concentrating on the Civil War actions of the National Army in Cork, I will explain how the Free State managed to attain this remarkable achievement. Outnumbered at the start of the fighting, the Free State overcame the IRA insurgency by utilising a number of key concepts that included the combination of kinetic clearance operations and ‘Good Governance’ stability actions. Ultimately the disintegration of the anti-Treaty IRA occurred because of their inability to gain outright public support and the ability of the Free State to undermine their cause. The Free State also employed a superior force generation strategy using local forces living amongst the population. When these advantages were combined with enhanced Information Operations and the use of superior counterinsurgency tactics, they ultimately brought victory for the National Army.