Although the wars waged by Classic Maya kings were carefully documented in stone by ancient Maya scribes, little is known about the internal battles fought on the political field. Maya inscriptions present the court as a body unified behind its king, however there is reason to believe that courtiers under the king possessed their own aspirations, and competed with one another for power and security. During the Late Classic a flourish of new elite residential construction at royal centers and the appearance of new sub-royal titles on public monuments signaled that a burgeoning noble class gained influence in Maya courts. This second tier of elites existed in an exclusive political system primed for competition over power and resources. Hints in the ancient textual record suggest that factions within Maya courts contended with one another to improve their positions. This dissertation seeks to establish the competition within the aristocracy of a Classic Maya polity, and what methods the secondary elite pursued to jockey for power.Unfortunately, the dearth of non-royal elites in art and texts at most Classic Maya sites poses a methodological challenge: how does one study the internal dynamics of Maya courts without explicit historical references? I hope to address this question by analyzing the Late Classic aristocracy of El Zotz, using archaeological evidence to compare the practices of different lineage groups at the site. I focus on three residential complexes built outside the royal palace of El Zotz during the Late Classic, each with elite characteristics. My research seeks to answer two questions: (1) which of the newly constructed Late Classic residential groups around El Zotz housed non-royal elites? And (2) what strategies did the non-royal elites at El Zotz pursue to gain power within the political system? With these questions I identify the politically influential parties in the court of El Zotz beyond the royal family, and the tactics that they used to compete for dominance inside the government structure at the site.
The nineteenth century brought significant cultural changes for the United States. In addition to changing religious ideals, shifting gender roles, and educational reform, perspectives on disability began to transform. Particularly within Presbyterian circles, Deafness was a target for rehabilitation. The founding of the Connecticut Asylum for the Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons provided a new opportunity for wealthy, white d/Deaf people to learn the then newly created American Sign Language. Some of the first students enrolled included Sophia Fowler and Eliza Boardman, two women who received formal education and fulfilled the roles expected of women during their lifetime by becoming wives and mothers. Previously, disabled women were prevented from doing any of this. This project relies on methodologies associated with biography, critical disability studies, and gender history to use the lived and documented experiences of Fowler and Boardman as case studies for how cultural and social shifts related to disability and gender allowed space for d/Deaf women to challenge gender roles and perspectives on disability in the nineteenth century US.
This MA thesis traces how “ethnic Koreans” in northeastern China (chaoxianzu) reshaped their perception(s) of “ethnicity” over the course of the great political and social upheavals from Manchukuo to the People’s Republic of China. By looking into less-explored memoirs and oral histories, this research is interested in dissecting the interrelations between memory-formation and ethnic imagination. Chapter 1 lays the theoretical groundwork for my memory-centered approach, through which I historicize the ethnic Koreans’ conceptualization(s) of “ethnicity” as a process, rather than a self-evident precondition. Chapter 2 reveals the ethnic Koreans’ ambiguous and fluid sense of ethnicity under Manchukuo’s ideology of minzu xiehe (concordia of ethnos). Chapter 3 examines the cultural construction of “Korean ethnicity” advocated by the Chinese Communist Party during the Chinese civil war. Chapter 4 investigates the contestations between the Party-state’s revolutionary narrative and the bottom-up ethnic discourse in the early socialist era. This thesis argues that memory comes to be a mediator reifying the fluid, contingent, and sometimes-contested process of ethnic imagination in between the boundaries of nation-states.
This dissertation examines how the Centralverein deutscher Staatsb�rger j�dischen Glaubens and the Volksverein f�r das katholische Deutschland utilized decentralization into the local and regional spheres to participate in German society, shape public and political discourse, and strengthen their respective community’s sense of belonging and identity. Drawing on the Centralverein and Volksverein’s administrative records held in archives in England and Germany, this dissertation assesses how their networks of local and regional branches operated and how power and responsibility shifted between the center and the periphery during the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, and Nazi Germany. In decentering away from their respective central office to focus on the local and regional branches, this dissertation argues that local and regional branches were the main sites in which religious minority groups constructed and reinforced their influence, whether political or social. Whether through providing legal or political defense or holding assemblies and lectures, religious minority associations worked to unite their members and create a unified front for political and social action on their own behalf. In promoting a positive connection to Jewishness while also defending Germanness, the Centralverein’s local and regional branches created tailored spaces in which Centralverein members could develop and affirm a synthesized German-Jewish identity while also asserting their civic belonging in the local, regional, and national spheres. Through both a comparative and integrated institutional history of the Centralverein and Volksverein’s decentralization, this dissertation provides a more detailed understanding of social and political relations between minority and majority communities during the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, and Nazi Germany. A comparative perspective allows for examining how minority religious associations responded and adapted to changes at the state level and navigated shifting means of self-assertion and political expression. In examining how German-Jewish and German-Catholic associations implemented decentralization and accommodated regionalization, this study decenters the examination of belonging, the pluralities of civic, regional, and religious identities and what it meant to represent religious minority interests in the German public sphere in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
This doctoral dissertation is a comprehensive study on a novel method based on unitary synaptic weights to construct intrinsically stable neural systems. By eliminating the need to normalize neural activations, unitary neural networks deliver faster inference speeds and smaller model sizes while maintaining competitive accuracies for image recognition. In addition, unitary networks are drastically more robust against adversarial attacks in natural language processing systems because unitary weights are resilient to small input perturbations. The last portion focuses on a small demo that implements unitary neural nets in quantum computing. With the comprehensive performance evaluation in classical machine learning, the rigorous framework in mathematics, and the exploration of quantum computing, this dissertation establishes a solid foundation for unitary neural networks in the future of deep learning.
This paper explores the conceptual framework for the body of work featured in the thesis exhibition, We Got Here Under False Pretenses. It explores how the structures of the neoliberal free market manipulate the superficial construction of value under the constructs of branding and advertising. Framed through an investigation of the history of pattern, the work is situated within the context of capitalist cultural production as a product that is both critical and complicit with the current value structure.
Transgender individuals worldwide are bound to the necessity of the provider’s letter—a letter from healthcare professional certifying the validity of their identity—for medical care and legal recognition. The use of the provider’s letter continues, despite decades of community pushback, a lack of any evidence of efficacy or positive effect of the requirement, and multiple literatures supporting its unethical and damaging impacts on the trans community. This project uses three approaches, in the form of three separate but thematically connected articles, to understand the letter and its current usage in the trans medical and legal world. The first article defines the providers letter and performs an integrated historical review of the letter and the bodies of literature that have engaged with it; bioethics, critical literatures of medicalization/pathologization, and legal scholarship. This review concludes that the letter, rather than being a supportive or helpful practice, is used to control trans bodies and performances of gendered subjectivity. Further, that the justification of the letter focuses on the specter of regret, which has not been supported by evidence to be a legitimate concern. The second article digs into the history of the letter as an object, revealing its origins as a part of the application for a transvestite certificate in early 20th century Germany. This article focuses on sexologist Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld as the creator of the modern understanding of the letter, and its use in the application for the transvestite certificate, a pragmatic solution to the problem of presumed transvestites disturbing the peace. Hirschfeld’s pupil, Dr. Harry Benjamin, brought the letter to the United States and served as the architect for early trans medicine in the mid 20th century, so its Germanic origins are deeply relevant to the modern practice. The final article focuses on an alternative approach to transgender medicine, first laying out the issues with the current medical model, then laying out an alternative model, the gender wellness model. This model rests on the idea that all people have an optimum level of gender wellness, and for some, reaching that optimum level may require intervention. While the letter is a complex object that resists simple categorization, understanding what it was created to do and how it functions practically in the legal and medical realm opens a variety of productive avenues for exploration.
In the history of American food legislation, the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 and its famous muckraking origins dominate the narrative. What is less known, is that the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 was ineffective and was soon replaced as a part of the New Deal by the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 (FDCA). The new law featured a novel update: instead of telling food manufacturers what not to do, the new law allowed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to stipulate what food manufacturers must do. This new power, known as the standard of identity provision, allowed the FDA to legally establish formulation and naming requirements to ensure that products matched purity expectations. Over the course of the 80-year history of the FDCA, the FDA has created more than 300 standards of identity for foods like bread, milk, and peanut butter.According to the FDCA, the food identity standards are intended to “promote honesty and fair dealing in the interest of consumers,” however the FDA’s limited educational campaigns about the food identity standards, opaque framing process, and preference for protecting Anglo-American foods have hampered consumers from understanding or engaging with the food identity standards. Government documents, periodicals, court cases, and consumer information reveal that food identity standards have more effectively represented state and industry interests through preferential access in proposing standards, participation in hearings and amending standards. Nevertheless, tracing the history of the food identity standards also demonstrates the presence of a long pure food movement. While existing scholarship on the pure food movement ends in 1906 or 1938, the history of the food identity standards links threads of post-1938 pure food activism among housewives, the counterculture, class actions and more to demonstrate a long pure foods movement that continues into the 21st century.
This dissertation examines the various responses of south Indians to the local and global transformations of the late eighteenth century, with the goal of opening up a new perspective on how the Indo-Muslim world actually experienced the revolutionary age. Drawing from hitherto untapped and overlooked primary sources written in Arabic, Persian, Tamil, French and English, this dissertation explores the political, ideological and religious shifts that occurred in three major cities of south India: Madras, Pondicherry and Mysore. It examines how the new economic, military and political challenges brought about by the presence of two competing European imperial powers, the British and the French, provoked locals to explore novel political ideas and ideologies, contest imperial authorities, search for new alliances and allegiances, and introduce new reform agendas in order to reorganize themselves and assure their social, political, and religious survival. The dissertation investigates these questions by analyzing the wide range of responses of Muslim rulers, local intellectuals, and social groups to the new regional dramatic shifts, and exploring their connections with the wider global revolutionary currents of the late eighteenth century. Two major global developments with a great impact on the regional transformation during the period are of particular interests to this dissertation. First, the dissertation explores neglected links between south Indian Muslim rulers, particularly Tipu Sultan of Mysore and Muhammad Wālājāh of Arcot, and Muslim revivalists of the Naqshbandi Mujaddidi order. Second, the dissertation seeks to trace the spread, impact and appropriation of French revolutionary language and symbols in Pondicherry, Madras, Mysore and Hyderabad, and explain how they became entangled with the transforming forces already at work on a local level, even as the British acted quickly to suppress them. Overall, the dissertation argues that during the 1780s and 1790s locals developed a new type of revolutionary consciousness principally driven by local circumstances and conditions but also shaped by the wider global revolutionary currents configured around the French Revolution. This revolutionary consciousness, the dissertation suggests, survived after the death of Tipu Sultan and provided a foundation for anti-British political activities and resistance in early nineteenth century.