Theses

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  • "Teaching the educator: studying the de:commodifying self".
    "Teaching the educator: studying the de:commodifying self".
    "To center this discussion, I want to be clear about my spiral of action, reflection, and reaction or in popular education terms, the dynamic relationship between theory and practice, or praxis. For many years I focused my academic and activist life around critiques of consumer culture and advertising. For me, this cultural matrix and its voice-piece tore at the fabric of what I considered loving, sustainable, democratic, and just social relations. Up until this year, I was articulate yet fractured in this critique and was able to use my Masters to look for new directions. I began to focus on how consumerism connects with local and global political struggles for human rights and also on the construction and privileges of my perspective. This examination included many readings, but also educational workshops in media and cultural literacy and several creative projects. The mixture of this reflection and action has helped reconnect my interest in consumer culture and advertising in ways I never could have imagined or learned second-hand. Rather than just thinking my way into new ways of living, I've tried to design a Project that encouraged me to start living my way into new ways of thinking. Rather than using popular education pedagogy to change the way I study advertising, it has changed me. This new knowledge helps me validate the possibility for personal development and the hope for social transformation."--Page 1.
    "The Cashtro Hop Project" Hip Hop music and an exploration of the construction of artistic self-identity
    "The Cashtro Hop Project" Hip Hop music and an exploration of the construction of artistic self-identity
    While Hip Hop culture has regularly been legitimized within academia as a social phenomenon worthy of scholarly attention (witness the growing number of studies and disciplines now taking Hip Hop as object for analysis), this is the first Hip Hop-themed project being completed within the academy. Indeed, academic and critical considerations of one's own Hip Hop-based musical production is a novel venture; this project, as a fusion of theory with practice, has thus been undertaken so as to occupy that gap. The paper's specific concern is with how (independent) Hip Hop recording artists work to construct their own selves and identity (as formed primarily through lyrical content); the aim here is to explore Hip Hop music and the construction of artistic self· presentation. I therefore went about the task of creating my own album - my own Hip Hop themed musical product - in order to place myself in the unique position to examine it critically as cultural artifact, as well as to write commentary and (self-)analyses concerning various aspects of (my) identity formation. The ensuing outlined tripartite theoretical framework is to serve as a model through which other rappers/academics may think about, discuss, and analyze their own musical output, their own identities, their own selves.
    "This is for fighting, this is for fun":  popular Hollywood combat (war) films from the first Gulf war to the present (1990-2015)
    "This is for fighting, this is for fun": popular Hollywood combat (war) films from the first Gulf war to the present (1990-2015)
    Hollywood has been making war movies since it began making movies. Widely credited as the first ‘Blockbuster,’ and one of the first films to establish Hollywood narrative techniques and conventions, D.W. Griffith’s 1915 film, Birth of A Nation, is an epic melodrama about the American Civil War ending with a literal marriage of the North and the South in the form of a young white heterosexual couple, solidifying the connection between war, families, and nation-building that has become the framework of the genre; hetero-nuclear families are the basis of the nation and war is a threat to these families, but ultimately also a critical component of nation-building/strengthening. These ideologies persist in contemporary combat films. The First Gulf War and those in Iraq and Afghanistan have had a major impact on this genre and this project investigates the (sometimes radical) shifts in representations of gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, and nationality in popular Hollywood combat films made and released since the first Gulf War (1990) with a particular emphasis on more recent films (2005-2015) since these are the films which have received the least, if any, scholarly attention. Building on existing cultural, feminist, film, and postcolonial theory using a case study of selected popular Hollywood combat films and based primarily upon close textual analysis of the films themselves, this dissertation argues that these post-Cold War combat films are vital in creating and reinforcing cultural scripts about gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, nationality, and war. This analysis adds to the field by identifying key cycles in the genre and arguing that, in fact, the ideologies of these films whether intentionally or not, reinforce the idea of a white, American, male-headed household as the norm to be protected, removing ‘Others’ from the frame, and implying that war is somehow natural, unending, and/or unavoidable, thereby creating a self-fulfilling prophesy wherein the more it happens, the more we seek to represent it, to gain mastery over it, the more natural and unavoidable it seems, and the more it continues to happen and seem normal and on and on into perpetuity.
    "To see some few proofs of enormous wickedness": The Use of Photographs and Wood Engravings of Prisoners of War in Six American Civil War Publications, 1864-1865
    "To see some few proofs of enormous wickedness": The Use of Photographs and Wood Engravings of Prisoners of War in Six American Civil War Publications, 1864-1865
    This thesis addresses the use of a set of photographs of returned prisoners of war (POWs) published both as tipped-in albumen prints and as wood engravings in six different publications from 1864 and 1865, including three versions of Narrative of Privations and Sufferings of United States Officers and Soldiers while Prisoners of War in the Hands of the rebel Authorities, one pamphlet, and two magazine articles, The discussion focuses on the dissemination of these images by the United States Sanitary Commission, the ways in which the photographs were presented in the individual publications that contained them, the decisions that the engravers made in translating the photographs into wood engravings and the visual codes that informed the photographs and the related engravings. The illustrated essay situates these photographs and wood engravings within the political context of the American Civil War and the history of photography in the 1860s. The dissemination of photographic imagery via wood engravings before the widespread use of halftone reproductions, beginning in the 1880s, is presently under researched. The paper encourages consideration of wood engravings when examining the history of photographic reproduction during this transitional time period.
    "Viele herzliche grüsse" : with heartfelt greetings: translating and cataloguing a German WWI postcard album
    "Viele herzliche grüsse" : with heartfelt greetings: translating and cataloguing a German WWI postcard album
    Individual and Group Portraits Germany WWI is an album of postcards from the First World War that contains fifty-nine silver gelatin photographic postcards and two mechanically printed picture postcards. The album was compiled by an unidentified individual. Twenty-six of these postcards have handwritten correspondence, which are written by several authors but addressed to the same person. This thesis is an applied project that focuses on cataloguing the images in The Museum System (TMS), the George Eastman House collection database. The goal of this project is to make the album more accessible to researchers through cataloguing and digitization of the images, and translation of the correspondence. This paper provides contextual research about the First World War, photographic postcards, and German handwriting. The paper will also discuss the cataloguing methodology and includes an illustrated appendix with full catalogue records.
    "We Want Justice!”: Transnational Political Activism Among Second Generation Tamil Youth And Identity (Re) Construction Within Transnational Social Spaces
    "We Want Justice!”: Transnational Political Activism Among Second Generation Tamil Youth And Identity (Re) Construction Within Transnational Social Spaces
    Drawing on the experiences of the 2009 transnational political activism of second generation Tamil youth, this study explores transnationalism among the second generation in Canada and identity construction within transnational social spaces. It also engages in discussions on the importance of recognizing the existence of transnationalism as not just a phenomenon of the first generation. Based on a sample of nine second generation Tamil youths, findings suggest that the second generation is selective in its transnational practices, while expanded forms of transnationalism exists and fluctuates over the life course. Both Tamil and Canadian identities were found to be hybrid, fluid, shifting and situational, marked by a sense of belonging to both Canada and Sri Lanka. The second generation are thus situated between various and opposing ideas and information flows in which they are able to traverse and stimulate transnational engagement, when and if they wish to do so.
    "We do not live for material things:" indigenous culture and food security in Brazil, the case of the Cinta Vermelha-Jundiba village
    "We do not live for material things:" indigenous culture and food security in Brazil, the case of the Cinta Vermelha-Jundiba village
    This project is based on a qualitative analysis of the opinions of key actors involved in the construction of the indigenous village Cinta Vennelha-Jundiba (CVJ) in Brazil. The CVJ village represents a unique case in Brazil: for the first time in history, an indigenous group from different ethnic backgrounds got together and bought their own land. The research question that guided the analysis is in the context of the creation of the CVJ village: Does food play a role related to cultural reinvention and ethnic reconstruction? The purpose of this project is to explore how food has the communicative function of a bridging mechanism between the Pankararu and the Pataxo cultures in the CVJ village. The conclusions of the analysis show that the interaction between the CVJ's inhabitants is characterized by profound cultural reconstruction and ethnic reinvention, and food production and consumption are key factors in these processes.
    "Well, listen ... " : acoustic community on Toronto Island.
    "Well, listen ... " : acoustic community on Toronto Island.
    "Well, listen. .. "is a sound composition about the acoustic community of Toronto Island and Toronto Harbour. The project explores how people create and experience acoustic community, how perceptions of the soundscape are related to attitudes about nature and culture, and how power relationships are articulated through sound. The project is based in environmental cultural studies and in sound ecology, notably the work of Williams (1973), Schafer (1977), Westerkamp (2002) and Truax (1984), and concludes seven months of soundwalks, interviews, composition, editing and field research. Participants discussed the soundscape of Toronto Island, noise pollution in Toronto Harbour and the relationship between sound, community and ecology. These interviews were edited and re-assembled in a manner inspired by the contrapuntal voice compositions of Glenn Gould. Field recordings reflect the complex mix of natural, social, and industrial sounds that make up the soundscape of the harbour, and document the acts of sound walking and deep listening that are the core methods of soundscape research. The composition creates an imaginary aural space that integrates the voices and reflections of the Island's acoustic community with the contested soundscape of their island home. The project paper outlines the theory and methods that informed the sound composition, and further explores the political economy of noise pollution, especially in relation to the Docks nightclub dispute and to current research in sound ecology.
    "Why nobody told me and why it would have been impossible to do so until now" : an autoethnographic inquiry into teaching and learning towards social justice in early childhood teacher education
    "Why nobody told me and why it would have been impossible to do so until now" : an autoethnographic inquiry into teaching and learning towards social justice in early childhood teacher education
    In this paper, a personal narrative autoethnographic methodology is used to begin mapping a transformative learning journey towards teaching and learning for social justice in early childhood teacher education. In autoethnography, personal lived experience is the primary source of data. This inquiry explores two stories of personal transformative learning using a journey metaphor to structurally frame the inquiry. Through a process of writing as inquiry (Richardson, 2003) and emotional introspection (Ellis, 1991) and using a conceptual framework based on postmodern perspectives, this autoethnographic research paper reveals the steps toward critical consciousness (Freire, 2006) taken by the author/researcher-a student in early childhood teacher education-as she uses personal narratives of lived experience in early childhood teacher education as primary data to explore the implications of this transormative learning process to explore themes around teaching and learning towards social justice in early childhood teacher education programs.
    "You Have to Have Tough Skin": The Impact of Social Exclusion on Immigrant Mothers of Children with Disabilities
    "You Have to Have Tough Skin": The Impact of Social Exclusion on Immigrant Mothers of Children with Disabilities
    This exploratory research considers the way gender, racialized ethnicity, and disability, as markers of difference, contribute to the social exclusion experienced by immigrant mothers as primary caregivers of child(ren) with a disability. Interviews were held with eight immigrant mothers in the Greater Toronto Area exploring barriers to accessing informal, formal networks of support, and the resulting impact on their lives. The findings include a lack of ethno-specific and extended family support as well as a lack of accessible, transparent government, social service information, and service provision. Other issues concern language, equity and access to services, impact on personal health, caregiving for aging parents, and future concerns for their children’s short and long-term welfare. Recommendations are based on a social inclusion framework of principles, which are relevant to policy makers, service providers, educators, and members of society.