Theses

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  •  Learning from experience: exposure to, attention to, discrimination of, and brain response to faces at 3, 6, and 9 months
    Learning from experience: exposure to, attention to, discrimination of, and brain response to faces at 3, 6, and 9 months
    Infants learn and develop immensely in the first year of life. They show substantial learning in their ability to use the information provided by faces. Faces are important stimuli in infants‘ world and infants reliably prefer faces over other visual stimuli (Fantz, 1963). While experience likely plays a role in infants‘ early face processing, little is known about how infants‘ natural exposure to faces shapes attention and learning. We use head-mounted infant-perspective cameras to capture infants‘ natural experience with faces. We also measured infants‘ attentional preference for, ability to discriminate between, and electrical brain response to familiar (i.e., female, own-race) and unfamiliar (i.e., male, other-race) face types. Infants‘ face experience was highly homogenous: their primary caregiver‘s face represents the 57% of infants‘ experience and was present in all locations and nearly all contexts. Infants‘ other caregiver represented only 11% of their face experience, but was also highly consistent across location and context. Infants showed greater visual attention to female faces of familiar race at 3 months, but not later. They showed no race preference at any age. At 3 months, infants discriminated all face types except for male own-race faces. At 6 months, infants discriminated all face types. At 9 months infants discriminated all face types except for male other-race faces. Electrical brain response only differentiated male from female faces at 6 months, not at 3 or 9 months; there was no effect of race at any age. This may be due to the immaturity of the early face processing system or differential processing being indexed at later attentional components. Infants‘ overall face exposure, mom face exposure, and attentional preference for female faces predicted female own-race face discrimination at 3 months, accounting for 62% of the variance. Exposure to male faces correlated with attention to male faces and attention to male faces predicted discrimination of male faces at 3 months, accounting for 11% of the variance. At 6 months dad face exposure predicted discrimination of male faces, accounting for 17% of the variance. Infants‘ early experience, particularly to caregivers‘ faces, tunes infants‘ attention to faces, which in turn predicts discrimination.
     Massive media: theories and practices of large-scale projections and public data visualizations
    Massive media: theories and practices of large-scale projections and public data visualizations
    This dissertation describes, historicizes, theorizes, and deploys “massive media,” an emerging subset of technical assemblages that include large outdoor projections, programmable architectural façades, and urban screens. Massive media are massive in their size and subsequent visibility, but are also an agglomeration of media in their expressive screen and cinema-like qualities and their associated audio, interactive, and network capabilities. This dissertation finds that massive media enable and necessitate the development of new practices of expanded cinema, public data visualization, and new media art and curation that blend the logics of urban space, monumentality, and the public sphere with the aesthetics and affordances of digital information and the moving image to support a more participatory public culture in which we identify and engage with collective presence, memory, and action through information, architecture, and the moving image. Through historical research, case studies, conversations with cultural producers, participant observation, and creation-as-research projects, large-scale public projections are shown to represent a new monumentality that can be better understood and evaluated using analytical tools from cinema studies, namely superimposition, montage, and apparatus/dispositif. Low-resolution LED façades, while sharing some of the functional and theoretical characteristics of projection, are shown to uniquely support an emerging practice of public data visualization and represent a more consistent embodiment of a hybrid and relational public sphere through a tighter coupling of information, architecture, and context. Programmable architectural façades, more than projections, embody the development of supermodernism in architecture where data-rich public spaces of identity, congregation, and contestation seek and find appropriate and consistent outlets in highly visible spatial assemblages of architecture and media. Finally, a curatorial approach to massive media is crucial in order to create suitable spaces and opportunities for the development of massive media as a legitimate art form. This requires the sustained provision of technical support and coordination as well as an ongoing negotiation with corporate, institutional, and civic owners and operators. While massive media exists primarily as a highly commercialized phenomenon, it can also be pressed into service, through coordinated curatorial and artistic efforts, to critique or co-opt commercialization, and to re-envision the role of urban media environments in shaping collective identity, historical consciousness, and public display culture.
     Multidisciplinary constraints within a two-dimensional aerodynamic optimization method
    Multidisciplinary constraints within a two-dimensional aerodynamic optimization method
    This research demonstrates the importance of including multi-disciplinary constraints within a two-dimensional aerodynamic optimization method. These constraints increase the methods flexibility and versatility by providing the aerodynamic designer with the latitude to expand the design envelope. The additional constraints include a global minimum thickness, a maximum point thickness, an area, two curvature functions and a stowability constraint. The global minimum thickness constraint is used to prevent airfoil surface crossovers. The maximum point thickness and area constraint address airfoil structural requirements. The curvature function constraints deal with the airfoils manufacturability. Finally, the stowability constraints combines flap trajectory, including the flap mechanics, together with the final airfoil shape, to ensure high-lift stowability
     Retrieving histories: a case study of Cyril J. Brown’s family album
    Retrieving histories: a case study of Cyril J. Brown’s family album
    This thesis examines the visual construction of family in the previously unknown personal album of Cyril J. Brown in the Royal Ontario Museum’s South Asian photography collection. Beginning with retrieving the object’s personal history and tracing its links to the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), the crossover in photographic content between Brown’s personal album and the Kautz Family YMCA Archive at the University of Minnesota is examined. In doing so, I argue that family photography and institutional forms of image making are interconnected through the use of familial photographic tropes and pictorialist techniques which are common to both collections. Finally, concluding with a reflection on the significance of Brown’s album for the genre of family photography.
     Robust and fault tolerant control of modular and reconfigurable robots
    Robust and fault tolerant control of modular and reconfigurable robots
    Modular and reconfigurable robot has been one of the main areas of robotics research in recent years due to its wide range of applications, especially in aerospace sector. Dynamic control of manipulators can be performed using joint torque sensing with little information of the link dynamics. From the modular robot perspective, this advantage offered by the torque sensor can be taken to enhance the modularity of the control system. Known modular robots though boast novel and diverse mechanical design on joint modules in one way or another, they still require the whole robot dynamic model for motion control, and modularity offered in the mechanical side does not offer any advantage in the control design. In this work, a modular distributed control technique is formulated for modular and reconfigurable robots that can instantly adapt to robot reconfigurations. Under this control methodology, a modular and reconfigurable robot is stabilized joint by joint, and modules can be added or removed without the need of re-tuning the controller. Model uncertainties associated with load and links are compensated by the use of joint torque sensors. Other model uncertainties at each joint module are compensated by a decomposition based robust controller for each module. The proposed distributed control technique offers a ‘modular’ approach, featuring a unique joint-by-joint control synthesis of the joint modules. Fault tolerance and fault detection are formulated as a decentralized control problem for modular and reconfigurable robots in this thesis work. The modularity of the system is exploited to derive a strategy dependent only on a single joint module, while eliminating the need for the motion states of other joint modules. While the traditional fault tolerant and detection schemes are suitable for robots with the whole dynamic model, this proposed technique is ideal for modular and reconfigurable robots because of its modular nature. The proposed methods have been investigated with simulations and experimentally tested using a 3-DOF modular and reconfigurable robot.
     Selective memory: an analysis of albums compiled at the return of the 1904 Younghusband mission into Tibet
    Selective memory: an analysis of albums compiled at the return of the 1904 Younghusband mission into Tibet
    Focusing on a collection of albums at the Archive of Modern Conflict related to the Younghusband Mission in Tibet (1903-1904), this thesis explores the the analysis of personal albums and their contribution to the history of the Mission. The first chapter, a literature survey, outlines the existing textual histories of the invasion, highlighting the absence of photographic analysis in the works, while also highlighting Tibet’s absence from contemporary criticisms of colonial photography. The second chapter is an overview of the visual conventions ascribed to Tibetans in British India’s photography prior to the Younghusband Mission, and the third chapter provides provenance information and detailed descriptions of the AMC’s albums. Finally, the fourth chapter discusses the objects, revealing their contribution to the perpetuation of Tibetan tropes, implicit visual documentation of British superiority, and the development of constructed narratives favouring the British colonizers. Each analysis acts as an example of how photographs should be used to articulate the colonial history of not only the Younghusband Mission, but of Tibet’s greater history with the West.
     Short chain fatty acids modulate flagella expression in enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli
    Short chain fatty acids modulate flagella expression in enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli
    During passage through the human gastrointestinal tract, enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) encounters numerous stresses. EHEC utilizes various strategies to combat and survive these host assaults and possibly employs them as cues about the local microenvironment to enhance infection. This investigation looks at how exposure to changing concentrations of short chain fatty acid mixtures (SCFA) associated with passage through the human small (SI) and large intestines (LI) affects EHEC flagella expression and motility. In addition, the study also examines several two component systems for their involvement with SCFA-induced flagella regulation. The results indicate that SCFA mixture typical of SI may cue increased EHEC flagellar expression and function while SCFA mixture typical of LI, the site of EHEC colonization, may promote diminished flagella expression and function. Overall, this study contributes to our knowledge on how EHEC sense and respond to host environmental signals in a way that may promote to infection.
     Social justice and cultural holiday celebrations in the early childhood curriculum: perceptions of early childhood educators
    Social justice and cultural holiday celebrations in the early childhood curriculum: perceptions of early childhood educators
    This qualitative study focuses on the celebration of cultural holidays in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) settings. There is little Canadian literature exploring how Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) perceive cultural holidays, social justice, and multiculturalism. In- depth interviews were conducted with five ECEs representing a range of professional experience in the Greater Toronto Area. Thematic analysis of the data yielded three themes: belonging, curriculum approaches, and systemic barriers. Participants identified gaps in training and professional development and made recommendations for future work in this area. There is substantial literature support for the participants’ views on the importance of social justice, the need to support and respect families, and increased knowledge about cultural holidays. The study suggests that ECEs need additional knowledge and resources in order to successfully implement socially just cultural holidays.
     Social listening  Integrating Facebook into Business-to-Business (B2B) Communications
    Social listening Integrating Facebook into Business-to-Business (B2B) Communications
    This study builds on the motivation to integrate social media into corporate communications and attempts to understand analytically what works and does not work in terms of the corporate engagement of new communications technologies. The purpose of this study is to better understand the ways in which an organization integrates social media into their communication efforts with an emphasis on feedback within these settings. Of particular importance to this concept of feedback is not just how an organization speaks to their audience within a social media setting, but how they manage listening within the same context; how does audience/stakeholder response filter back through corporate channels when received through social media networks? The specific purpose of this MRP is to observe social listening, that is, how information and communication flows between social media and corporation, with an emphasis on message transmission, processing, and feedback and feed-forward processes through the theoretical lens of autopoiesis, a micro-theory within the larger communications theory of cybernetics. Facebook, in particular, is understood as an autopoietic system. This investigation was undertaken in the form of a case study involving the corporate Facebook page of EMC Corporation, a Fortune200 company. All observation for this study occurred on the Internet and data was collected by taking screenshots of EMC’s official Facebook page. These screenshots were analyzed through the lens of autopoiesis and by using methods from discourse analysis.
     Speechwriters : performing politics in documentary
    Speechwriters : performing politics in documentary
    What role do speechwriters play in Canadian Federal politics? How do they affect the political process? In what ways do they influence how we imagine and articulate ideas? How much of the words spoken in parliament are those of the politician and how much are those of the speechwriter? Speechwriters is a short documentary film that explores the above questions with humour, criticism, and sincerity. This paper explores these topic by discussing notions of performativity in both the political arena and the documentary film tradition.
     Still birth : soundwalking Garrison Creek.
    Still birth : soundwalking Garrison Creek.
    "My project is about nature in the body and in the individuated imaginary, nature in the soundscape, sound in nature and the nature of sound. When contrasted to culture, I use Astuti's definition of nature as that aspect over which humans have no control (1998, 2001). My audio-piece is about how we locate ourselves through activation -- an activation very literal in soundwalking, which is mobile and receptive, and the creation of an accompanying soundscape which is a statement of personal engagement and, I hope, a communication event."--Page 2.
     Strategies and scripts: an investigation of masculine identity and casual sex
    Strategies and scripts: an investigation of masculine identity and casual sex
    This study analyzed men’s lifestyle websites within the Pick-Up Artist (PUA) community. Employing a feminist post-structural framework, this analysis investigates how heterosexual masculinity is constructed online and aims to examine how sexual activity with multiple women is positioned as valuable to men. Four interpretive repertoires emerged: uncovering the natural —mental and physical work were required to access an authentic, natural maleness; militarization — men were rallied to defend male privilege; feminine commodities for building masculinity — women’s bodies were situated as commodities used to demonstrate achievement of masculinity; and pressured pursuit — men were urged to be the directors of sex and to overcome the obstacle of female consent. PUA authors disavowed the importance of women, though sex from women operated as a central requisite for convincingly achieving masculinity. Key tenets of neoliberalism were regularly present, where male readers were urged to decide to improve and cultivate their outward appearance, behaviours, and subjectivity.