Theses

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  • “Feeling” in Modern Dance Print Media: Loïe Fuller, Isadora Duncan, Maud Allan
    “Feeling” in Modern Dance Print Media: Loïe Fuller, Isadora Duncan, Maud Allan
    Between 1890 and 1920, modern dancers such as Isadora Duncan, Loïe Fuller, and Maud Allan presented a new performative aesthetic in dance. Breaking from the narrative storytelling that dominated nineteenth-century vaudeville and ballet, these dancers advanced non-narrative movement, thereby encouraging a new aesthetic engagement from the audience, namely, one that was rooted in notions of corporeal sensation rather than narrative telos or (melo)dramatic pathos. These new responses, this dissertation argues, are reflected in the new tactics for writing the dancing body, which at once render problematic the putative objectivity of journalistic criticism and reveal the limits of traditional dance criticism’s focus on intricate technique and plot line. This dissertation pursues its argument by studying over 300 print reviews of dances performed by Fuller, Duncan, and Allan between 1890 and 1920 culled from North-American archives and representing a spectrum of print media—from mainstream national media, such as The New York Times, to regional newspapers, to more specialized theatre magazines—to reveal compelling insight into hermeneutic entanglements of language and movement. Informed by the work of recent performance studies (e.g. Phelan; Schneider; Taylor), this dissertation approaches this body of dance reviews from an inverse perspective from that represented by traditional dance history scholarship. That is, instead of reading reviews as documentation in order to understand these dances, the study explores how reviewers perform criticism, thus framing our understanding of modern dance in specific ways. This dissertation engages with the correlation between media and performance as either documentary or performative, arguing that writing performance offers promises for both types of engagement with the live event. Collectively, these reviews reveal that dance criticism involved a metacritical reflection on the significance of the critical writing act itself, and advanced a style of synesthetic metaphor to describe novel kinesthetic experiences of spectatorship. Ultimately, the new tactics to modern dance criticism not only revealed a crisis in articulation but prompted a performative style of writing dance criticism that went in tandem with the development of the dance review genre itself, whose placement in popular print media was mounting to become a regular feature by the 1930s.
    “Good” Evidence: A Critical Lens on Representations of Development and the Developing World
    “Good” Evidence: A Critical Lens on Representations of Development and the Developing World
    The ethics of conventional representations of the developing world in charity fundraising and photojournalism have been increasingly questioned. Van Leeuwen‘s (2000) social semiotic model of analysis of visual racism, applied to a famine image, reveals strategies for symbolically representing otherness that perpetuate a naturalized "Western rescuer/developing world victim" narrative. Respondent interviews demonstrate that such "poverty porn" produces viewer apathy, while an alternative representation depicting self-determination evokes a charitable response. Elliott‘s (2003) ethical framework is used to judge the harm of conventional representations. The results, while tentative, suggest worth in expanding the study in light of implications for represented persons, the viewer, and Canadian society. In the meantime, image producers and distributors must become visually literate to avoid using harmful images.
    “Hey Cabbie! Where are you From?” An Examination of Everyday Racism in Toronto’s Taxi Industry
    “Hey Cabbie! Where are you From?” An Examination of Everyday Racism in Toronto’s Taxi Industry
    Using an anti-racist Marxist lens, issues of social exclusion and settlement are broadly highlighted taking into account racism in an industry that is most commonly noted for its ease of entry for immigrant professionals. This study attempts to build on previous studies of Toronto’s taxi industry (Hathiyani, 2006; Abraham, Sundar, & Whitmore, 2008) to focus specifically on racism. This research paper examines the extent to which ‘everyday racism’ is both a by-product of and a critical ingredient in perpetuating structural racism, using Toronto’s taxi industry as a case study. Drawing on interviews from 18 fulltime taxi drivers who identified as racialized groups and were born outside of Canada, it describes the familiar tensions associated with experiencing and responding to instances of racism in a precarious industry. In the absence of an association, anti-discrimination or workplace rights to protect the driver against racial abuse and harassment, drivers are forced to negotiate their responses on an individualized basis. Drivers linked everyday racism to both class position and structural racism within the industry. These findings strongly demonstrated inadequate policies to protect drivers from everyday racism in the workplace as a result of both structural racism and a neo-liberal climate. This warrants further inquiry as Toronto’s taxi industry is a major employer of racialized, immigrant men.
    “Let’s keep it about Kony, not Kony 2012”  Exploring the shifts in language around a user generated hashtag during the Kony 2012 movement
    “Let’s keep it about Kony, not Kony 2012” Exploring the shifts in language around a user generated hashtag during the Kony 2012 movement
    Social media has become more than a platform for social engagement and connectivity. Users have tapped into the power of social media‟s reach to connect with like-minded individuals around the world. Protests, revolutions and global movements are taking shape as a result of what the Internet affords us as users – immediate connectivity. This paper aims to explore Twitter as a platform for activist movements. Specifically, I look at the language used within the Kony 2012 movement and aim to understand how the language within tweets changed overtime by following a user-generated hashtag (#Kony2012). For this study, I analyzed 325 tweets from the Kony 2012 campaign. These tweets were collected from March 5th 2012 to March 17th 2012. My findings indicate that Twitter‟s hashtag function was always used in the three following ways: (1) Sharing Information, (2) Passive Calls to Action, (3) Strong Calls to Action. Overall, the tweets I studied surrounding #Kony2012 hashtag suggest that this movement was weak in mobilizing change but strong in raising awareness
    “Nannies strike back”: the representation of live-in caregivers and the Live-in Caregiver Program  in the mainstream and ethnic press
    “Nannies strike back”: the representation of live-in caregivers and the Live-in Caregiver Program in the mainstream and ethnic press
    Utilizing Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), this study examines the representation of live-in caregivers (LC) and the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP), between 2007 and 2013, in eleven mainstream Canadian newspapers (N=32) and five Filipino-Canadian newspapers (N=31). It contributes to the extant media analyses on the LCP by including the perspective of the ethnic press and, thus, the voices of LC, LC advocates, and members of the Filipino community. It also examines the recent hype surrounding the emergence of au pairing as a suitable caregiving option for Canadian families in light of the declining number of LC following the April 1, 2010 reforms to the LCP. This study concludes that the mainstream Canadian press portrayal of LC and their children is congruous with the “Problem Approach,” while that in the ethnic newspapers is congruous with the “Agency Approach” providing a space to both empower LC and resist negative mainstream portrayals.
    “Orgulhosamente Sós:” Recent Immigration to the Portuguese Republic
    “Orgulhosamente Sós:” Recent Immigration to the Portuguese Republic
    Immigration to the Portuguese Republic is a rather new phenomenon in a world where migratory patterns have become rather pedestrian. This paper analyzes the history of both Portuguese emigration and immigration to Portugal, and the role that international relations have played in both. It also demonstrates the social and governmental response to an increasing alien presence amongst the host society. It argues that racism is not an endemic issue in Portugal and that the host society, both its people and the government, have laboured to integrate newcomers into Portuguese society within a framework of Portugal's domestic needs, on the one hand, and her international commitments on the other.
    “Put It In Your Back Pocket”: Identity And Belonging Among Second Generation Racialized Canadians
    “Put It In Your Back Pocket”: Identity And Belonging Among Second Generation Racialized Canadians
    Through interviews with four second generation Canadians, this Major Research Paper explores identity and belonging among second generation children (aged 18-30) of racialized immigrants in Toronto, Canada. Primary research questions include: (i) How do these individuals describe their identity? (ii) Do they have a sense of belonging in Canada; why or why not? (iii) Do they experience discrimination based on their ethno-racial identity? (iv) How does this impact their self-identification as Canadian and sense of belonging? The findings show that second generation racialized Canadians appear to hold multiple identities, forming a hyphenated or hybridized identity in which racialized identity and language/accent figure prominently. They also appear to have situational identities, with their identities shifting depending on the following various situational factors: (i) their location (including the country, city, and environment they are in), (ii) the individuals they are surrounded by including who they are speaking to, and (iii) the goal(s) of the situation.
    “Shall we put the heart in now?” A comparative analysis between creature features and their single reel abridgements
    “Shall we put the heart in now?” A comparative analysis between creature features and their single reel abridgements
    Single reel abridgements of commercial feature films are entering moving image archives because home movie collections that contain them are slowly increasing in archival representation. The abridged commercial films occupy a liminal space in between sustained preservation efforts that focus on studio films and the current interest paid to preserving home movies. As a result, the abridged films are being neglected. The films’ liminal status stems from a dearth of information regarding their relationship to the original films and a clear definition of what they are narratively and aesthetically. After analyzing fourteen abridged horror and science fiction films found in the Ryerson Moving Image collection and comparing them to their original counterparts this project finds that the abridged films are heavily altered in terms of narrative, characters, and causality, and should be treated as individual objects instead of derivative works, thus absolving their liminal status.
    “The many tinted woods”: building online teacher resources with photography collections
    “The many tinted woods”: building online teacher resources with photography collections
    This thesis aims to answer the question: how can photography collections be used as interpretative tools to build visual and media literacy skills through creative learning opportunities aligned with the Ontario education curriculum? The project has two components: an analytical paper and a teacher resource – created according to the Art Gallery of Ontario standard – to introduce teachers to teaching with photographs through interdisciplinary lessons in the visual culture of Canada from 1860 to the early 1900s. An analysis of the Ontario curriculum documents, identifying both limitations and benefits, and aims to support grade 7 and 8 teachers in the classroom are included. Using Canadian photographs from the AGO’s collection unites arts education and visual literacy with core academic subjects by prompting students, through a range of activities to engage with the subjects, aesthetic elements, history and materials of photographic media, and thus to interpret daily life at this time.
    “Tolerated” and non-status persons‟ access to mental health support services: a comparison between Toronto, Canada and Aachen, Germany
    “Tolerated” and non-status persons‟ access to mental health support services: a comparison between Toronto, Canada and Aachen, Germany
    Using the theoretical framework of Identity Formation, this Major Research Paper (MRP) aims to explore the Post-national rights of “tolerated” or undocumented persons in Toronto and Aachen, and their access to necessary mental health services. The assumption is that the experiences of these groups are both traumatic and unique, often creating emotional, mental and physical stress. These forms of stress require various forms of treatment, from formal mental health evaluations, to informal group counselling or bonding with persons of similar experiences. This work takes three service providers in each city, discusses the perspectives and services available, and offers an analysis as to whether they provide the suitable and necessary care for “tolerated” or non-status persons. I will argue that social exclusion in the form of contestant enmity is utilized to deny full access to support services. Recent legal and policy changes in both countries will be accounted for, and recommendations given as to how the service providers and actors at the municipal level can move forward to provide the necessary services.
    “Walk Like the Heroes”: The Performed Identity of Bruce Springsteen and the Relationship to Contemporary Popular Music Performance
    “Walk Like the Heroes”: The Performed Identity of Bruce Springsteen and the Relationship to Contemporary Popular Music Performance
    This thesis examines the trend of contemporary popular musicians referencing and being compared to Bruce Springsteen. To do so, the work analyzes the performed social identity of Springsteen and its relationship to popular music performance, particularly in terms of understanding and assessing the motivations behind comparisons with Brian Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem, a band frequently though to represent Sprinsteen's influence. Two case studies were conducted to examine the performed personas of both artists, informed by theories of the communication of meaning and identity. Springsteen is found to portray a traditionally American, White, working class male, representative of the idealized image of early American republican philosophy. Alternately, Fallon is found to perform a similar social identity without the significant evocation of this republicanism. Comparisons between these artists are theorized as emerging from their use of similar identity representations and indicators of meaning, particularly in their communication of authenticity.
    “You Go, Girl:” How Facebook and Instagram impacted the post-feminist construction of Electric Forest’s Women’s Program
    “You Go, Girl:” How Facebook and Instagram impacted the post-feminist construction of Electric Forest’s Women’s Program
    In February of 2016, Electric Forest — a four-day electronic music festival from June 23-26 in Rothbury, Michigan —announced a women’s only program called Her Forest. The initiative’s aim was to facilitate feelings of “connection, inspiration, and comfort” (Weiner, 2016) amongst the festival’s female guests. This MRP draws from past research on influence and postfeminism to consider how the Electric Forest brand, as well as its online followers, constructed and discussed Her Forest via Facebook and Instagram. A directed qualitative analysis was applied to 21 of Electric Forest’s Facebook and Instagram posts and 110 associated user comments. The analysis emphasized the powerful impact that social media applications have on the way in which corporate messages are expressed, received, reshaped, supported, and challenged.