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- ItemA Battle for the Neighborhood: The 1917 Philadelphia Sugar Strike and Food Boycott(2023) Israel, Jessie; Friedman, Andrew, 1974-; Gerstein, LindaOn February 21, 1917, a group of 40 Eastern European housewives marched in protest down to the Franklin sugar refinery in South Philadelphia. Shouting, “We want food!” the women had come to join the picket line where their husbands and sons stood, on strike from the city’s three sugar refineries. Demanding a living wage and shorter hours, thousands of Polish and Lithuanian workers had walked out three weeks prior and joined the ranks of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), a radical socialist union. The spirit of protest soon rippled out into the surrounding neighborhood, when a group of working-class Jewish women announced the start of their own “strike”: a boycott on basic foodstuffs, whose prices had begun to rise since the beginning of World War I. For the following weeks, they rioted in the market streets of their immigrant neighborhood, toppling pushcarts, breaking shop windows, and pouring kerosene over boycotted foods. This thesis uses the 1917 South Philadelphia sugar strike and food boycott as a lens to understand the theories and techniques of urban immigrant organizing in World War I era Philadelphia. I argue that immigrant sugar strikers and food boycotters based their protest on a broad theory of labor which bridged every realm of life, in which both the domestic and industrial spheres afforded the laborer workplace rights. The protestors practiced a hybrid form of protest which was based in a place-based familiarity with the local geography of their neighborhood, ethnic social networks, and American socialist labor organizing traditions. Central to their community ties was food, which held importance in immigrant culture and the local economy, but also whose production (particularly in the case of sugar refining) was rooted in an extractive relationship between the refineries and their surrounding community. The strike and boycott represented a battle for control of the neighborhood, one combatant fighting for localized economic and social reproduction, and the other for international wartime and Progressive-era capitalist interests.
- ItemA Contradictory Subject: Reform, Resistance, and Holy Women in Early Modern Spain(2022) Scully, Kathleen; Graham, Lisa Jane, 1963-In 1517, Martin Luther, a German priest, nailed a document to the door of All Saints Church. This document, entitled Ninety-Five Theses, laid out corruption within the Catholic Church, and caused an immediate uproar across Europe. Luther and his fellow reformers suggested massive changes in the structure and practice of the clergy, leading to a schism from the Catholic Church known as the Protestant Reformation. In response, the Church instituted a variety of reforms of its own, referred to as the Counter-Reformation. The impacts of the Counter-Reformation were broad and far-reaching; this thesis deals primarily with their effects on holy women in sixteenth and seventeenth century Spain. In this era, holy women were subject to increasingly harsh regulations: their already limited ability to move throughout Spain was further restricted, and their ability to preach publicly curtailed. Prior to the Counter-Reformation, mystics and beatas, or laywomen who shared their holy visions, were tolerated, but in the late 1500s and early 1600s, these women were persecuted more intensely, and enclosure within a convent became the only respectable option for holy women. Even when safely enclosed, holy women were subject to surveillance by their confessors and fellow nuns. In addition to this external surveillance, they were encouraged to closely monitor their own internal thoughts for signs of sin. If a holy woman gained enough power to influence to threaten the male authority of the Catholic Church, she was reprimanded, and in serious cases, sent to the Inquisition. Holy women not only faced restrictions, but combated them. Their resistance becomes clear in multiple arenas: namely the convent, recogimiento (convent for penitent women), galera (women's prison), and vida (a nun's autobiography). In these arenas, holy women both conformed to patriarchal expectations and subverted them. I argue that while holy women participated in and at times initiated the discipline of women who broke gender norms, they also repeatedly demonstrated their impulse to care for other women. This thesis tracks these contradictory impulses to punish and protect through Inquisition records, artwork, and the correspondence and autobiographies of nuns themselves.
- Item“A Female Band Despising Nature’s Law”: Contesting the Subversive Early Legacy of Mary Wollstonecraft(2013) Bailinson, Emily; Saler, Bethel; Graham, Lisa Jane, 1963-This thesis aims to recreate the sphere of public discourse surrounding the life of Mary Wollstonecraft and her legacy in order to understand the limitations faced by women in constructing their gendered subjectivity in Britain in the 1790s and how this individual agency could have subversive repercussions. In A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Wollstonecraft counterpoised the dominant construction of womanhood as sentimental domesticity with an unsexed (and simultaneously masculine) form of subjectivity grounded in reasoned virtue. Through both her style and the disembodied nature of writing, Wollstonecraft unsexed herself while admitting the challenges women face in overcoming the dominant sexed model of subjectivity. Upon Wollstonecraft’s early death in 1798, her husband, William Godwin, wrote a memoir of her exemplary life. This memoir defended Wollstonecraft’s legacy against perceived calumny, casting Wollstonecraft in strictly gendered terms. While he admitted she had masculine attributes, he also attempted to silence her critics by depicting her as a properly feminine sentimental mother. Subsequent reviews of Godwin’s Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman constructed their own mini-biographies of Wollstonecraft’s life. Conservative journals attacked Wollstonecraft for her fanciful and licentious Jacobin philosophy and sexual impropriety. They saw Wollstonecraft’s life as a didactic example; critics used the tragedy of Wollstonecraft’s torturous affair with Gilbert Imlay and early death to demonstrate the dangers inherent in overthrowing convention—especially the conventions of sexual propriety. While critics suggested ways of constraining the “wanton philosopher,” supporters attempted to redeem Wollstonecraft as a woman too advanced for her time. By holding Wollstonecraft’s legacy up to the standards of female propriety, her critics sought to contain the subversive implications of her example for other women. Ultimately, Godwin and his reviewers limited Wollstonecraft’s ability to write herself out of her gender. Though Wollstonecraft lost her ability to construct an ungendered image of herself, her prominence gave Wollstonecraft’s legacy the power to deconstruct conventional standards of femininity and foment revolution through her counterexample. Thus, Wollstonecraft’s life became a site for debate about the conventional model of femininity in the 1790s, embodying the threat of revolution.
- ItemA Fleeting Heimat, Yet an Enduring Impact: A Spatial and Legal Analysis of the Lasting Effects of Germany's KiautschouI Bay Leased Territory(2023) Voit, Lucas; Duan, Ruodi; Hayton, DarinThis thesis analyzes the lasting structural impacts of the German colonization of Qingdao on both Qingdao’s built environment and the legal structures in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC). The German colonization of Qingdao, which took place from 1898 to 1914, allowed for an exceptional transfer of German urban planning ideals, aesthetics, and legal philosophy to China. This thesis investigates the ways that this colonization influenced the development of Qingdao and the creation of a Chinese civil code. Through an analysis of written historical records from both China and Germany, visual evidence, and legal codes, this thesis explores how this colony came to be, how it functioned to transfer ideas, and how these values continue to be preserved. The thesis concludes that German colonization had a significant impact on the built environment of Qingdao, with lasting effects on the structural foundations of the city's architecture, urban planning, culture, and economy. Furthermore, it concludes that this period of colonization led to concrete impacts on the first Chinese Civil Code and continues to define the mechanics and contents of modern codes within the PRC and the ROC. Moreover, it argues that the German influence on China's civil codes has been underappreciated in the context of the historical scholarship of German colonialism and China’s legal system and warrants further study. This research sheds light on the complex interplay between colonialism, the built environment, and law, and highlights the need for a more nuanced understanding of how colonial legacies continue to shape modern China.
- ItemA Historical Analysis of the Films of Andrei Tarkovsky in Relation to the Post-Thaw Soviet Moment(2017) Helbock, Gus; Gerstein, Linda; Krippner, JamesDuring the latter half of the twentieth century, Andrei Tarkovsky received arguably more critical admiration for his films than any Soviet director. During his filmmaking career, the Soviet Union experienced a tumultuous socio-cultural, as well as political, moment. After the death of Stalin, the Khrushchev Thaw of the late 1950s and early 1960s allowed for significantly more freedom of expression. It was at this time that Tarkovsky’s career began. However, through the 1960s and 1970s, a reactionary period in Soviet politics led to a return of stringent censorship, making Tarkovsky’s filmmaking process difficult. In the early 1980s, Tarkovsky emigrated to Western Europe, where he completed his final two films before his death in 1986. Due to his contentious relationship with the Soviet state, this thesis will attempt to analyze Tarkovsky and assess his relationship to the Russian intelligentsia and the dissident movements of the late twentieth century, as well as his relationship with spirituality and religion. In order to contextualize Tarkovsky’s place in Russian cultural history, this project will first examine the history of the Russian intelligentsia from the early nineteenth century. Next, it will examine Tarkovsky’s early life, film school career, and various influences on his approach to filmmaking. His filmography proper, consisting of seven completed feature films (five in the USSR, two in Western Europe), will then be analyzed for their relationship to the Russian intelligentsia. His theoretical writings, diaries, and interviews will be used as supplementary materials in order to gain further access to his personal opinions and artistic philosophy.
- ItemA Hunger to Survive: The Holocaust and The Jewish Food Journey(2023) Heller, Jared Charles Oliver; Krippner, James||Ullman, SharonThis senior thesis explores the significance of Jewish food in the survival of Jews during the Holocaust. The study examines how food played a crucial role in preserving cultural and religious identity, motivating those in camps and ghettos to survive, providing sustenance and nourishment, and enabling communal bonding and resistance. Using a variety of primary sources, including survivor testimonies, diaries, and cookbooks, this thesis analyzes the ways in which Jewish food practices and food memory were adapted and utilized in the ghettos and concentration camps in order to preserve the pre-war Jewish food culture. The thesis begins by providing an overview of the role of food in Jewish culture and religion, discussing the significance of kashrut (kosher), Shabbat, Passover, and other food-related rituals. The thesis argues that these practices provided a sense of identity, continuity, and community among Jews, even in the face of Nazi persecution. The study also considers how food-related rituals and memories continued to shape Jewish identity and culture in the post-Holocaust era. The story of Jewish food during the Holocaust is a testament to the human capacity for resilience and resistance in the face of unimaginable adversity. This thesis highlights the importance of cultural traditions and rituals in preserving identity and community in times of crisis by providing a comprehensive analysis of the importance of Jewish food in the survival of Jews during the Holocaust. Overall, this thesis argues that the preservation of Jewish foodways was an essential aspect of Jewish resilience and resistance by drawing out a shared cultural and religious identity, while enabling communal bonding and resistance during one of the darkest periods of human history.
- ItemA Level Playing Field: Black and Jewish Athletes and the 1936 Olympics(1999) Gottfried, Oliver
- Item‘A Little Irish Cailín in an Ould Plaid Shawl’: The “Colleen” Archetype and the Construction of Irishness(2023) Sweeney, Lillian; Graham, Lisa Jane, 1963-; Rosas, MarlenIn 1922, 26 counties of Ireland established the Irish Free State and ended their formal connection to the United Kingdom. They aimed to remake themselves into the true Irish country they had been before English colonization. But in such an Ireland that ostensibly rejected the colonizer, the “colleen” archetype, always a portrait of a young Irish woman, had already embedded colonial gender and class structures into Irishness. In the hands of nineteenth-century tourists, philanthropists, and nationalists, the Irish colleen was unfailingly traditional. Connected to nature and the land, “lithe as a mountain deer,” the colleen exemplified an earthy femininity, grounded by her bare feet, and adorned by her cloak or shawl. This thesis argues that, by deploying the colleen as a symbol of Irish femininity, Irish national culture reappropriated a colonial power structure. It took on the characteristics externally ascribed to it while proclaiming that it had moved past its colonization. This work traces the colleen’s path through travel books, visual and aural media, “Irish villages” at international exhibitions including the 1893 World Colombian Exposition in Chicago, and nationalist organizations like the Cumann na gClocaí. This thesis’ final section explores how actual Irish women’s desire to wear modern clothing changed the colleen in the post-Independence Free State. No longer a clear archetype, she became a vaguer model of chastity and modesty. Her cloak and shawl then disappeared into the archive, to be made into historical icons of the nation.
- Item"A Magnificent Desolation" : How the Media Shaped the Space Race 1957 to 1969(2010) Ross, Casey C.; Friedman, Andrew, 1974-My thesis examines the media's influence on and reflections of American space policy in the context of Cold War competition with the Soviet Union. Faced with the challenge of maintaining its global position after World War II in a newly atomic world, the United States placed increasing emphasis on space exploration and technology as a means of achieving military, political, and ideological dominance. Over the course of the 12 years between Sputnik's launch in 1957 and the successful Apollo 11 mission to the moon in 1969, the rhetoric of the Space Race went through three distinct phases. The first, discussed in section one of this paper, emphasized the technological and military threat posed by the Soviet Union. The second, discussed in section two of this paper, emphasized the political and ideological threat posed by the Soviet Union. And the third, discussed in the third section of this paper, emphasized the American spirit of ingenuity and determination. The examination of these phases of media rhetoric reveals the defining characteristics of the American space program, as well as the nuances that exist in the relationships between the press, the populace, and the makers of politics and public opinion in the United States of America.
- ItemA Man of Taste in the Empire of Dulness: Theatre, Commerce, and the Imagination in Edmund Burke's The Reformer(2011) Harvester, DanielIn 1748, Edmund Burke, then still an undergraduate at Trinity College, Dublin, was the principal contributor to a short-lived and little-known periodical called The Reformer. The purpose of the paper was to muster public opinion against Thomas Sheridan, the manager of Dublin's largest theater, Smock Alley. Burke's friend Beaumont Brennan had written a play and Sheridan was hesitant about producing it. A total of thirteen weekly editions of The Reformer were published. In them, we get a glimpse of the young Burkean mind at work, writing for the public for the first time. Burke's talents are already evident; he expounds at length on the moral and artistic degradation of the times. The root of the city's ills lie in the commercial activity and mindset of the nobility and gentry, who by spurning their traditional role as patrons of the arts, have allowed the whims of the free market to set cultural standards. Burke castigates "the People" for their low Taste in theatre, he laments the rise of the merchant classes as the new arbiters of good Taste, and he calls on the nobility to retake control of cultural production through patronage of the arts. Along the way, he touches on several themes that will remain central to his career; the role of the aristocracy in society, the role of culture in preserving manners, and the importance of passion and imagination as guides of human action. His often vituperative attacks on contemporary failings in each of these realms combine to create a vision of modern commercial society as an "Empire of Dulness," a site as devoid of lofty ideals and virtuous behavior as it is of inspiring poetry and theatre. Contrary to popular belief, Burke had such a vision of society in 1748; if it receded in later years, it arose again, refined and revitalized, in Burke's attack on the French Revolution. Consequently, The Reformer may be a more important document in the history of Western political thought than has been previously assumed.
- ItemA Marriage of Convenience: Wedding Happiness and Social Utility in the Divorce Debates of pre-Revolutionary France(2007) Slaight, Jillian; Graham, Lisa Jane, 1963-; Augustyn, Joanna
- ItemA Monstrous Usurpation of Justice: Law and the Practice of Government in Ireland, 1914-1921(2007) Barry, Patrick; Kitroeff, Alexander
- ItemA new leaf for an old book : traditions of strategic thinking and the Sino-Indian War of 1962(2003) Ghosh, Arunabh; Smith, Paul J., 1947-A lot has been written about the Sino-Indian war of 1962 and Sino-Indian relations, with structural, anecdotal, geopolitical, etc. studies extant. But none has looked at possible differences in strategic cultures that could have arisen from vastly different historical experiences. This paper provides a comparative analysis of such potential differences by employing a historical optic in exploring the traditions of strategic thinking in India and China. More than forwarding a major theory itself, it advocates the need for further research in this area: it is a research note for a much larger undertaking.
- ItemA Recipe for Cannibal Pâté: Indigenous Peoples and Representation in 20th Century Brazilian Modernist Art(2023) Brinn, Juliana; Krippner, James; Rosas, MarlenIn 1922, a group of friends in São Paulo, Brazil, decided to organize the country’s first arts festival, which they called the Semana de Arte Moderna, celebrating modernism and lauding themselves as the creators of a new Brazilian art. This was an opportune moment for the elite artists of the festival, who hoped to construct a “true” and authentic Brazilianness, as the nation had recently been in the market for a new identity after experiencing a couple of major historical shifts, such as the abolition of slavery and the official declaration of the Brazilian republic. It was these artists of the Semana de Arte Moderna who proposed the idea of a diverse and heterogeneous Brazil, composed of European, Indigenous, and African racial and cultural influences. This construction of national identity would remain at the core of the art produced by elites for the duration of the decade. Among them was Tarsila do Amaral, the daughter of a wealthy coffee grower, whose journey led her toward developing the Anthropophagy movement. As the name would suggest, this movement was inspired by the image of the cannibal, more specifically, by Portuguese colonial descriptions of Indigenous people as consumers of human flesh. This thesis focuses on that concept of anthropophagy and its role in 20th century artistic representations of Indigenous people. It aims to fill the silences left by Brazilianist scholarship that has questioned essentialist modernist claims through a critical lens of Afro-Brazilian identity and representations of blackness in Brazil but has largely ignored analyzing the Indigenous question. The thesis begins with discussing various mediums of artistic representation in the 1920s, before addressing the Anthropophagy movement, explicating on the diverse forms of Indigenous representation during this period, and exploring their diverging and converging purposes. Next, the thesis delves deeper into Tarsila do Amaral’s anthropophagic phase, embodied by her three paintings: A Negra (1923), Abaporu (1928), and Antropofagia (1929). This section discusses the redefinition of cannibalism by the artist, and the appropriation of an Indigenous image as a form of resistance against the Europeanization of Brazil. The Anthropophagy movement believed it could find a true sense of “Brazilianness” by appropriating the Indigenous cannibal. Finally, the last two sections investigate the impact of the Anthropophagy movement on national identity for the rest of the century. A look into the art of Djanira reveals the legacy of Tarsila and how her anthropophagic phase changed art in Brazil. Then the Tropicalia movement acts as a more direct successor to the Anthropophagy movement, adopting its embrace of cultural mixing, and message of resistance, this time not directed at the European threat overseas, but the domestic threat of the military dictatorship. This thesis argues that modernist art in Brazil appropriated Indigeneity to redefine national identity in a way that did not include Indigenous people. It scrutinizes the contradictions of these visual representations, their subversion, and yet simultaneous reinscription of anti-Indigenous colonial ideology.
- ItemA Reluctant Imperialist: Justice Elias Finley Johnson and China's May 30th Movement(2012) Woerner, Zachary; Smith, Paul J., 1947-The May 30th Movement of 1925 is often cited as a watershed event that marked the ascent of Chinese Nationalism. On this day in Shanghai, China, British police opened fire on a large crowd of student protesters, killing eleven. Prior to this event, foreigners in China had enjoyed many privileges established by treaties, starting in 1842 with the Treaty of Nanjing. Concessions such as extraterritoriality were a constant source of resentment for Chinese Nationals. However, in the ensuing days, Shanghai and the rest of China reacted violently, jeopardizing the foreign position in China. The judicial inquiry into the May 30th Movement included three judges: American Justice Elias Finley Johnson, British Justice Henry Gollan, and Japanese Justice Kintaro Suga. The investigation was organized with the purpose of controlling the meaning of the May 30th Movement and maintaining foreign privilege in China. This thesis focuses on Johnson and his contrarian report, attempting to resolve the paradox of why Johnson, as an imperial agent in the Philippines, had delivered a report perceived to be against foreign concessions in China. Colonial administrators were often faced with the duality of having to compromise their ideology in the face of the realist demands of maintaining an empire. However, Johnson, when faced with the choice of ideology and the maintenance of foreign interests in China, stayed true to his principles of Wilsonian Democracy. In his report, Johnson presents a story of the May 30th Movement empathetic to the Chinese people. Analyzing the nature of the disturbance within a wider causal history, Johnson hoped to hold true to his principles of Wilsonian emphasis on the sanctity of international law and national self-determination. His opinion fell outside of the scope of the official history that was required of the judicial inquiry. As such, his report provoked a highly negative response from those whose interests were at stake in China. Johnson represents a rare case of an administrator who held to his individual precepts and acted contrary to the imperial prerogative of the judicial inquiry. Still, Johnson's report was limited in that it represented United States projections of hopes and fears onto the tumultuous events of the period. Although acting mostly as an instrument in US foreign policy, he also acted out of personal conviction. His view was the composite of a belief in China's ability to adequately work within Western legal conceptions (free of foreign supervision), and his decision to focus on a broader causal story to explain the nature of the May 30th Movement.
- ItemA Royal Disappointment: The Private Scandals of George IV, 1785–1820(2007) Kass, Joshua; Kitroeff, Alexander; Graham, Lisa Jane, 1963-The scandals of George IV demonstrate how events of the private sphere can become politicized and cast doubt on a leader’s moral qualifications. At a time when the political authority of the crown was waning, an expanding print media put pressure on royalty to embody emerging values of filial care and financial constraint. This thesis uses pamphlet literature and caricatures to examine how the exposure of George’s vices created a broader realm of civic participation. It examines his illicit marriage to a lowborn Catholic, the burden of his lavish expenses, his disrespect for his father, George III, and his neglectful relationship with his daughter, Princess Charlotte. Each of these reveal how the expansion of the political nation inspired claims for royal accountability and exposed leaders to popular standards of morality.
- Item"A Theater of Perpetual War": Administrative Anxiety and Knowledge Production in Colonial Suriname, 1749-1762(2014) Jacobs, Alex; Saler, Bethel; Graham, Lisa Jane, 1963-Fought intermittently between 1749 and 1762, the First Saramaka War was a primal moment in the history of Maroon relations with the Dutch colonial Surinamese state. The war was part of the violent history between Suriname's Maroon communities–-formed by slave refugees in the bush–-and its governmental authorities. During the war, the relationship between colonists, slaves, and Maroons was defined by a condition of fear and contingency. In this thesis, I argue that colonists created and indexed information specific to the condition of the colony as a means of combating both the Maroon threat and its attendant anxieties. For colonists, the impulse to create and disseminate such information intensified over the course of the First Saramaka War and was compounded by a concern that the information they cataloged was either untrue or of unreliable origin. In response, colonists-–both planters and administrators-–deployed literary, diplomatic, and clandestine methods of knowledge production in an attempt to secure their hold on the colony. These methods of knowledge production proved unsuccessful in the conduct of war, though they were also used to reinforce the political and economic foundations of the colonial state. Colonists ultimately suffered defeat in the First Saramaka War and recognized full Saramaka independence in 1762. I argue that their defeat was the result of living in a colony whose conditions proved resistant to European attempts at "knowing": where maps, ordinances, poems, plays, secret codes, and treaties were insufficient means of understanding the threat posed by slaves and Maroons to the stability of colonial Suriname.
- ItemA Turf of Their Own: The Experiments and Contradictions of 1960s Utopianism(2011) Ivy-Taylor, David; Krippner, JamesAfter WWII, the world had to adjust to new technologies, new scientific concepts, new political realities, and new social standards. While America was economically wealthy after the war, it still had to deal with extremely difficult social and cultural challenges. Due to these new aspects of life, there were increasing differences in both the interests and values of children and their parents, what we have learned to call the "generation gap". The "generational gap" between the youth culture and their parents meant a polarizing society, each hating and completely misunderstanding the other. This eventually resulted in a highly political youth culture that was laterally opposed to the government. Through isolation, the counterculture began to develop new philosophies and new ways of thinking, and a huge part of that philosophy was the pursuit of a "Good Society", a utopian dream for world peace. This element of counterculture society can be seen in the real world in events like the Woodstock Music Festival, in which over half a million people gathered together in common pursuit of this utopian dream. However, through the construction of this utopia, the counterculture set their expectations too high, and were dramatically shocked when the concert at Altamont only four months later ended in total disaster. In this way, we can see how 1960s utopianism-—which defined the decade--ultimately doomed itself to failure.
- ItemA woman's nature : attitudes and identities of the bird hat debate at the turn of the 20th Century(2002) Birdsall, AmeliaAt the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, a group of American women engaged in debate and action against the killing of birds for hats, resulting in one of the first widespread environmental movements in this country and the birth of the Audubon Society. Through an examination of the women's magazine Harper's Bazar, this thesis explores why women wore bird hats, why they decided not to wear bird hats, and the outcomes of their actions. In the steps that women took to end the slaughter of birds, and in the arguments they proposed to support these steps women sought to balance the values of beauty and aesthetics with those of nature and morality. In this issue women exploited the tenets of the domestic sphere in order to create an emotional connection to the natural world and work for environmental protection.
- ItemAfraid of Commitment: Gamal Abdel Nasser's Ephemeral Political Ideology - a New Definition of Nasserism(2012) Friddell, Bo; Graham, Lisa Jane, 1963-; Kitroeff, AlexanderGamal Abdel Nasser played an integral role in Middle East politics in the 1950s and 1960s. He led a military coup against the incumbent King, and then successfully converted his political capital into a national revolution. The transition of power occurred without major complications because of the socio-political conditions in Egypt at the time and because of Nasser's particular style of rule. Without a steadying, autocratic leader, Egypt likely would have fallen under the direction of a foreign power. Nasser used decisive action to stabilize Egypt's internal politics and prevent foreign agents from agitating Egypt's domestic stability. From this stability, he projected power at the regional level and remained independent from the major foreign powers that attempted to control Egypt. Egypt's geopolitical importance guaranteed its relevance in international politics. Foreign powers competed for the chance to control Egypt — a nation ideally situated to project power throughout the Middle East and North Africa. However, each contending superpower grew frustrated with Nasser because his rule relied on personal judgment, making Egypt's policies unpredictable and inconsistent. Nasser realized the value of his freedom to act and utilized this ability to retain Egyptian sovereignty. Scholars attempted to define Nasser's political ideology, but his policies were so ephemeral that they needed to create a new ideology — Nasserism — just to describe the man's political tendencies. I argue that Nasser was not ideological in the 20th century sense of the word, but that he harbored specific core concepts that framed his decisions. These concepts allowed him to select the best course of action without being hindered by ideological constraints. His political history — including his actions in times of crisis, his use of charismatic authority, his manipulation of nationalist sentiments, and his construction of a new Egyptian cultural identity — illustrates his flexibility and willingness to change tracks as long as his core concepts remained intact.