Theses

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  • Writing intellectual disability:  glimpses into precarious processes or re/making a cultural phenomenon
    Writing intellectual disability: glimpses into precarious processes or re/making a cultural phenomenon
    We make each other mean through precarious processes of engagement. This dissertation posits intellectual disability as a modernist subject category characterized by un-belonging and a presumed lack of normative expression. The author takes a hesitant, interpretive, and phenomenological approach to confronting the question of what it means to re/make intellectual disability as presence and process rather than as problem. The researcher engages with intellectual disability by introducing expressive writing as method under a feminist post structuralist framework of exploratory, relational ethics. In doing so, this project introduces the concepts of wonderment and triple-labelling to the fields of cultural studies and critical disability studies. This work advocates for a reorientation toward meaning-making and research-based engagement with intellectual disability as cultural, contextual, and relational phenomenon that remains unsettled as it situates researchers at a perceived limit of knowledge. This dissertation privileges process over resolution. The writing launches from an affect-laden epistemology of wonderment, and thus struggles to resolve its own ethical and methodological uncertainty as it attempts to center intellectual disability without (completely)privileging normative ways of un/knowing. This approach allows that the body is implicated in uncertain discursive processes that re-construct and circulate meanings about the body, the self,and the Other. Then, relying on Foucault’s conceptions of power and knowledge and Snyder and Mitchell's cultural location of disability framework, the study describes Western cultural memory: processes of mind/body splitting and subject-category building traceable through esoteric pre-modernity, eugenic modernity, and the post-identity politics of Davis’s dismodernity. A discussion of research ethics follows, which challenges rational methodological conceptions of intellectual disability that rely on preconceived notions of vulnerability. Before describing expressive writing as a primary research method, the author also makes a case for engaging with triple-labeled people (those labeled disabled, vulnerable, and incompetent) by writing in-relation-to, privileging silence and absence over “giving voice,” engaging in unfamiliarity and untranslatability, and attending to “the space between” the self and the Other.This writing uses reflexive vignettes and critical analysis to lead readers toward the researcher’s final phenomenological reflections on experiences with triple-labeled people writing in a Toronto day program.
    Xstreamulator: a rich media webcasting application for lectures and events
    Xstreamulator: a rich media webcasting application for lectures and events
    Xstreamulator is a .NET based web casting application that utilizes the Microsoft Windows Media Server to broadcast classroom lectures and events. Uniquely, the application supports the synchronized delivery of captured bitmap content (slides), which are displayed in an ASPIHTML based cross-browser viewing environment. At present, Xstreamulator supports bitmap slide capturing from PowerPoint presentations, computer desktops, images, web pages and external VGA sources. Additional capture capabilities are currently in development. Although Xstreamulator has been used extensively for live webcasting, it can also be employed to record webcasts for distribution through ondemand delivery or removable media. In contrast to commercial solutions, Xstreamulator's live webcasting functionality is not constrained to traditional academic settings (i.e., classrooms). Indeed, many instructors at Ryerson University have successfully employed Xstreamulator to web cast lectures from their office or home. In addition, Xstreamulator has been employed effectively in the delivery of events, lectures, symposiums and conferences. Xstreamulator has from the outset been designed to operate reliably in diverse hardware environments. For example, the application can be installed on personal computers, classroom presentation systems, or portable encoding "stations". Thus, by leveraging the existing computer infrastructure at Ryerson University, it has been possible to circumvent the acquisition of costly commercial web casting systems. Xstreamulator's comprehensive content delivery approach and hardware neutrality has addressed the entire range of webcast requirements within the University environment in very cost effective and scalable manner. Xstreamulator's development process has been driven by the philosophy of participatory design (PD). Students, faculty and staff at Ryerson University have generously donated their time to test Xstreamulator prototypes, and have contributed significantly to the evolution of the application's user interface and functionality. Therefore, the Xstreamulator project demonstrates the significant advantages of implementing participatory design goals in the development of rich media webcasting solutions. Indeed, while the technological achievements of the project are noteworthy, they could have only been achieved in an environment that fostered collaboration at all levels. The development of an in-house web casting solution requires a commitment of development personnel and technical resources. However, the cost of providing these inhouse resources will be offset by reduced webcasting costs over the long-term. Additionally, applications like Xstreamulator can be rapidly employed to generate webcasting revenue from university events (e.g., conferences). In summary, as the use of Xstreamulator at Ryerson University has eliminated a dependence on commercial solutions, it has been possible to re-assign these cost savings to the design of some of the most powerful event webcasting systems in North America.
    Yield stress of concentrated wheat straw suspensions
    Yield stress of concentrated wheat straw suspensions
    The yield stress of concentrated wheat straw suspensions was measured by a vane with a Bohlin rheometer. Wheat straw fibers were made by grinding (wet and dry) wheat straw and separated into four sizes by sieving (8, 12, 20, and 40 mesh). The yield stress was found to increase with concentration as well as with the size of the wheat straw fibers. The yield stress data fitted to power law equation proposed by Kerekes et al. (1985) for pulp fibers. It was found that only 40 mesh size wheat straw fibers agreed with the relation. Effect of stress ramp rate was studied on 5% (20 mesh) w/v, wheat straw suspension. It was observed that stress ramp rate had an effect on measured yield stress value. No yield stress was observed in the suspension of 5% (40 mesh) w/v, due to sedimentation of wheat straw fibers. For effective utilization and mixing of enzymes with wheat straw fibers during hydrolysis, knowledge of yield stress of suspension was important.
    Yo Cuento* Latin American Immigrant Children Tell Their Stories
    Yo Cuento* Latin American Immigrant Children Tell Their Stories
    Despite considerable interest in studying immigrant children in Canada, few studies include immigrant children as study participants. This study involved 10 children born in Latin American who have lived in Canada for five years or less. These children were between the ages of nine and 11 - five boys and five girls. Five children were from Colombia, two from Venezuela, one from Mexico, one from Bolivia and one from Ecuador. I conducted individual research sessions where children and I drew, wrote and conversed. Children drew the most significant events in their migration process and wrote short narratives. The main findings from this study include the impact of grandmother/grandchild separation on immigrant children, children’s multiple transitions across countries and within Canada, children’s worries due to language barriers, and the value children place on peer cultural brokering. The paper concludes with recommendations and a reminder of the importance of conducting research with children. Key words: Immigrant children, Latin America, loss, residential mobility, cultural brokering., *Yo cuento is Spanish for I narrate/I matter
    You're not welcome here:  examining the intersections of migration and neoliberal immigration policy in Canada
    You're not welcome here: examining the intersections of migration and neoliberal immigration policy in Canada
    This analysis examines the intersections of migration and neoliberal immigration policy in Canada through a political economy lens. It looks particularly at the increasing phenomenon of human smuggling and it asks how the emergence of neoliberalism has shaped Canadian immigration policy and how has this impacted working peoples’ lives and forced them to become migrants. Canada increasingly treats migrants with suspicion and seeks to prevent the less “profitable” ones from entering. Today’s policies are the result of a historical process of entrenching a North-South divide as some sort of unavoidable truth, and the fruits of the global North as requiring protection from “needy” and “lazy” poor in the global South. It is this paradigm which the following analysis seeks to problematize and deconstruct by examining the historical roots of the North-South divide.
    Young children’s trust in the false testimony of ingroup versus outgroup speakers.
    Young children’s trust in the false testimony of ingroup versus outgroup speakers.
    The present research explores whether young children display different levels of trust in the testimony of speakers from their own social group (ingroups) versus another social group (outgroups). Three- and 4-year-old children watched through a window as an adult hid a toy in one of three containers. The adult then told the child that she had put the toy in a container different from the one where it was actually hidden (i.e., false testimony). At the end the child was asked to retrieve the toy. The adult was either a Caucasian, native English speaker ingroup) or an Asian English speaker with a noticeable foreign accent (outgroup). Four-year-old children were credulous to the false testimony of the ingroup speaker, despite their firsthand observations, but were skeptical and relied on their own observations when the false testimony was provided by the outgroup speaker. In contrast, 3-year-old children remained credulous to the false testimony of both speakers. These findings were discussed in relation to children’s early preferences for ingroup members and the developmental shift in skepticism displayed by 4-year-old, but not 3-year-old children. This research will make a unique contribution to our understanding of how young children selectively learn from other people and why they remain credulous to some speakers, but not to others.
    You’ve got mail: an analysis of direct mail and direct email fundraising letters
    You’ve got mail: an analysis of direct mail and direct email fundraising letters
    In recent years, online fundraising (e-philanthropy) has grown to become a critical component of charitable fundraising in the Western world. The rapid development and proliferation of e-philanthropy means the need to critically investigate digital spaces as distinct communicative entities has now become necessary. Research in the field has revealed that digital documents differ from their hardcopy equivalents in terms of how they are consumed, since readers’ expectations vary when reading online vs. offline documents. The following research paper explores the direct mail fundraising letters and email appeal campaigns of three non-profit organizations operating in Toronto, Canada. Using Karen A. Schriver’s model for Document Design and Vijay Bhatia and Thomas A. Upton’s seven-move discourse structure for the direct mail letter genre, the goal of this MRP is to compare and contrast the traditional direct mail letter to its digital counterpart in order to identify the differences between the written rhetorical and visual document design strategy applied to each medium. A comparison between the printed and digital formats of the direct mail letters will hopefully provide a better understanding of how the traditional direct mail fundraising letter should be tailored for successful online consumption.
    Yugoslavian immigrant youth and the negotiation of their identity within the Canadian context : the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder
    Yugoslavian immigrant youth and the negotiation of their identity within the Canadian context : the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder
    Within the Canadian context, there has been limited literature on the topic of immigrant youth from war-torn countries and the negotiation of their identity upon arrival to Canada. Furthermore, there is even less literature pertaining to the experiences of a particular group, for instance, the youth from Former Yugoslavia (Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Montenegro, and Macedonia). Through individual interviews, this study explored how Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) influences identity development and whether PTSD can create barriers to integration within the Canadian society. Elements such as family and language proved to be the most influential in helping research subjects integrate into the receiving society. Contrary to previous literature, the results of this study showed that going through trauma may not prove to be the ultimate detrimental factor in life; rather it can prove to be a catalyst for positive change and growth.Keywords: Youth; immigrant; refugee; identity; Former Yugoslavia; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
    ZigBee standard implementation for a wireless temperature system
    ZigBee standard implementation for a wireless temperature system
    This project is concerned with the application of the ZigBee communication standard for implementing a temperature measurement system. Due to ZigBee's low-power and low data rate features, it is ideal for analog sensor systems. Digi's ZigBee devices called XBee are used in this project. The XBee devices meet all the ZigBee standard. The XBee device has the advantage of being programmed with API firmware (application programming interface). XBee's API provides fast and reliable communication between the remote stations and the base station. The remote station has three different modules: power supply, temperature sensor and XBee device. The power supply is designed to output 3.3V. The temperature sensor is designed so that the output stays within the XBee's maximum analog input voltage range of 0V to 1.2V. The XBee device is programmed as a router. The base station has three different modules: Arduino microcontroller, LCD display and XBee device. The Arduino is programmed to receive the analog readings from the XBee device and convert them into temperature readings The temperature readings are displayed on the LCD display. The XBee device is programmed as a coordinator. The design successfully worked for 3 remote stations and 1 base station.
    Zones of political power: cell phones and group formation in Kenya and the Philippines.
    Zones of political power: cell phones and group formation in Kenya and the Philippines.
    This thesis proposes a way to examine the form of connection between cell phone use and the formation of groups advocating political change and democratic reform in developing countries. It uses two political events - the People Power II demonstration in Manila, Philippines in 2001, and the national election in Kenya in 2002 - as case studies to test a framework, one that draws from articulation theory and actor-network theory, and is informed by a history of development communication. Cell phone technology has achieved a worldwide subscriber adoption rate like no other digital technology. People in so-called developing countries have been particularly fast adopters of cell phone technology, with Africa being the fastest growing market in the world since 2002, and the Philippines now the world's leader in the number of text messages sent each day. Popular media reports describe people's use of the cell phone as an instrument for the organization of potent political resistance in the digital age. This thesis strives to ground assumptions of the "power of texting" in a robust examination of the factors that lead to the formation of social groups that successfully and peacefully replace governments believed by popular opinion to be corrupt. The first part of the paper reviews the theoretical foundations used to triangulate an examination of the topic. The second part reviews details of the two case events, including socioeconomic and telecommunications conditions that may have contributed to the formation and organization of social groups and the political ideology conveyed during these events. The third part brings together various types of data - voting patterns, poverty, telecommunication policy, and cell phone network coverage - to expose possible correlations between those geographic areas in developing countries that are cell phone enabled and the potential political influence those with access to mobile handsets can exert. The thesis concludes by arguing that cell phone network coverage maps are useful tools in the study of social and cultural phenomenon for three reasons: cell phone networks are dedicated and singular, they track network penetration density in targeted regions with specific economic and demographic criteria, and they enable the tracking of network expansion over time, indicating emerging regions for wireless social communication and economic development. These maps may be read as zones of political power, enabling those with access to the technology to promote their political agenda, while those without access may be disadvantaged.
    [S.P.A.] sensory phenomenological architecture
    [S.P.A.] sensory phenomenological architecture
    Can phenomenological architecture be simply described as: Phenomenological Architecture = Phenomenology + Architecture? In the simplest terms, phenomenology is the interpretive study of human experience. Any object, event, situation or experience that a person can see, hear, tough, smell, taste, feel, intuit, know, understand, or live through is a legitimate subject or phenomenological investigation. Architecture is not only the physical form of the building we inhabit, but a place, memory and time in which we see, hear, touch, smell, taste, feel, intuit, know, understand and live. Therefore, architecture is a natural subject for phenomenological investigation. As individuals, we immerse ourselves in the spaces we inhabit and form our own individual and unique experiences. By immersing ourselves in the spaces we inhabit, we interact with the form, textures and smells of the building which we are in. Can an inert thing such as a building help support the development of human beings' experiences; therefore help with his or her understanding of the world that they are physically in? The concept of phenomenological architecture seeks to provide a balanced and holistic physical manifestation of explaining, describing and representing an architectural intention that places emphasis on the human experience. The human experience includes paying particular emphasis on some of the essentials which help develops an experience. Essentials such as bodily senses, memories, materiality and perception are examined. This therefore creates a focus by using architecture as a catalyst in creating human experiences. In conclusion, phenomenology added with architecture does not fully explain phenomenological architecture, but it is how architecture works and helps encourage phenomena and experiences which creates phenomenological architecture.