Abstract: In recent years, both recreation scholars and practitioners began calling for a sectoral return to municipal recreation’s historical roots as a public good (e.g., Mahaffey, 2011; ISRC & CPRA, 2015; Cureton and Frisby, 2011; Smale and Reid, 2002; Taylor and Frisby, 2010). Blaming neoliberal ideology for the current pay-per-use model, these calls for a more inclusive recreation system not only highlighted the negative impacts of a consumer-based recreation system, they suggested that the profession’s ‘business-like’ practices should be of concern because they are in direct opposition to the field’s historic mandate of ‘equal opportunity’ for access. A central assumption underlying these calls for the recreation profession to return to ‘its historical roots’ is that municipal recreation services, until late ‘80s and ‘90s, were available to all members of society. This narrative – of a more inclusive and equitable era in recreation’s past – is, however, a romanticized account of public recreation’s history. As I will argue throughout this dissertation, public recreation has always been, and continues to be, a location where racist, classist, sexist, homophobic, and ableist, outcomes are (re)produced. Using Foucauldian genealogy, I trace some of the conditions that have given rise to what I have labeled the recreation industrial complex. More specifically, I use a vast collection of formal and informal archival documents to demonstrate how our public recreation facilities (both past and present) are intricately linked to the white supremacist logics of Western exceptionalism, settler colonialism, ableism, racism, capitalism, and (hetero)patriarchy. I begin by analyzing three seemingly unrelated pieces of Canada’s past: Indigenous legislation, immigration policy and race science. I do so in an attempt to politicize the category ‘Canadian’ and demonstrate how it has been taken-for-granted in our traditional recreation histories. I then weave these seemingly unrelated pieces of Canadian history into a recreation context. More specifically, I analyze two distinct eras of recreation facility development – the social medicine era (1880s-1920s) and the social welfare era (1930s-1970s) – and provide examples of how recreation was both produced by, and reproduced technologies of white supremacy. Finally, I demonstrate how these historical discourses, practices, and policies have created the conditions for the a public recreation system that positions everyone except white, middle to upper class, heterosexual, cisgender, able-bodied boys and (younger) men as an excludable type (Titchtosky, 2003). By exposing the ways particular bodies came to be centered in a recreation context, the purpose of this work is to demonstrate how historical inclusions and exclusions (whether intentional or not) were in fact part of a broader biopolitical project intended to sustain white supremacy, with the goal of encouraging critical dialogues about what is inherently problematic, difficult, and dangerous in the discourses, practices, and policies that govern our contemporary public recreation systems.


Abstract: This dissertation explores early twentieth-century Palestine through the lens of bodies and material culture. While histories of modern Palestine often treat “Jews” and “Arabs” as naturally distinct categories, I examine how these categories were constructed as racialized, embodied, and opposing identities. At a time when Palestine witnessed major changes— including the transition from Ottoman to British rule, mass Zionist settlement, shifting labor patterns, and the rise of Palestinian nationalism—residents made sense of their identities by spreading ideas about whose bodies were like, or unlike, their own. This dissertation focuses on Sephardi and Mizrahi (Eastern) Jews, many of whom lived in Palestine prior to modern Zionist settlement, which offers a unique lens to explore the process of Arab-Jewish boundary-making. At the turn of the twentieth century, Mizrahi Jewish bodies were not always clearly marked as exclusively “Jewish” or “Arab.” Their clothing, accents, and cultural tastes were often indistinguishable from those of their Muslim and Christian neighbors in Palestine. However, the growing colonial-national conflict in the 1920s and 1930s forced Mizrahi Jews to confront their position vis-à-vis Zionism and Palestinian nationalism. They adopted several strategies in light of this new reality. Many abandoned “Arab” clothing and accents in order to assimilate into the Ashkenazi-dominated Jewish community (Yishuv). In doing so, they helped produce a visual and sonic Arab-Jewish division on the ground. Others challenged the emerging divide by refusing to change their bodies. They expressed pride in their cultural and linguistic heritage in the Islamic world. Yet others selectively employed their “Oriental” bodies as a way to assert Zionist belonging and nativeness in Palestine. This dissertation makes three broader contributions. First, using photographs, oral histories, material culture, and written sources, it illuminates how clothing, sounds, sexuality, and age become racialized in circumstances of colonial-national conflict. Second, while scholars often point to one “year zero” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the founding of a political movement, the outbreak of ethnic violence, or the publication of a specific document, I demonstrate that building a Jewish-Arab division demanded the constant policing of how individuals looked and sounded. Finally, the dissertation’s focus on Mizrahi Jews pushes scholars of settler colonialism to think beyond a local-versus-settler paradigm. Many Mizrahi Jews in Palestine were locals who also became part of a settler movement; they were, as I term them, “local settlers.” The story of this dissertation, then, is the story of how the locals became settlers.


Abstract: This dissertation is both a new historical synthesis of pioneer violence within and beyond the wars on Native people in the mid-nineteenth-century American Pacific Northwest, and a new history of how these wars—and broader tides of colonial violence—were remembered, commemorated, and forgotten. Violence against Native people was even more frequent and more accepted across pioneer spaces than has typically been argued—indeed, I contend that most of the wars and associated violence were part of a single broad-based war on Native people across the Northwest. Early generations of regional history writers deliberately distorted the historical record to paint pioneer volunteer soldiers as heroes. But disagreements about which acts were heroic accidentally preserved archives of atrocity, from the mouths and pens of pioneers themselves.I draw on numerous virtually unused archival sources from pioneer perpetrators to make a number of interventions into the history of the pioneer Northwest: reframing wars, uncovering acts of genocide, relating unrecognized instances of lynching and sexual violence, and unmasking murderers along with the people and politicians who supported and joined them, at the time and since. Proving the untruths deliberately propagated by pioneers and their historians weighs on the balance of historical narratives about key events. Stripped of the veneer of deceit added for posterity, pioneer memories often mirror Indigenous histories of the same events—with the differences crafted through the efforts of generations of history writers, who preferred gauzy tales to hard truths. By delving into the work and specific mechanics of erasure and nostalgia, I demonstrate both deliberate intent behind the cover-ups and the failures of those who attempted them. This should not only reshape the history of colonialism and genocide in the Pacific Northwest, but suggest useful methodological and theoretical interventions in the history of American colonialism specifically and settler colonialism broadly. This dissertation affirms the existence of the structures of oppression that support colonial projects, but recognizes the fissures and cracks in those structures that Indigenous activists and their allies were able to use—sometimes in acts of difficult compromise—in their ongoing struggles for life, rights, and sovereignty.











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