Theses

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  • "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.
    # Pillar of Defense: Using Social Media to Manage Impressions of Conflict: A Case Study of the November 2012 Israel-Hamas conflict
    # Pillar of Defense: Using Social Media to Manage Impressions of Conflict: A Case Study of the November 2012 Israel-Hamas conflict
    Threats to reputation can destroy a brand. Communicating effectively during a conflict can help to manage negative impressions that expose brands to reputation risk. This is important now more than ever as organizations—and nations—turn to Twitter to address various publics. The rigid 140-character structure of Twitter thus necessitates the creation of sound bites that act as productive texts to address multiple rhetorical objectives simultaneously. An examination of the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) Twitter account through sentiment and content analysis shows evidence that the Force took a significantly defensive approach to impression management of Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012. There is evidence that Israel sought to re-frame public impression of its military involvement from aggressor to defender in the armed conflict. Codes discovered in the analysis suggest that the IDF tried to justify force, avoid responsibility and establish legitimacy of its operations.
    #FollowUs: Brand connectivity and marketing techniques that attract millennials on Instagram
    #FollowUs: Brand connectivity and marketing techniques that attract millennials on Instagram
    The increasing digitization of contemporary media and culture -- particularly in the West -- is changing how companies market themselves to their target audiences. As the millennial generation increases its online presence and its use of mobile digital technologies, companies whose main consumers lie within this demographic are having to shift their marketing tactics to become more technologically- and mobile-friendly. The world of social media, in particular, has become the second (virtual) home for much of the millennial population. How they dress, where they go, and what they eat are all becoming increasingly impacted by the companies, brands, people, and trends they “follow” online. In this Major Research Project (MRP) I will focus on the ways companies are marketing to millennials by focusing on the ways two clothing brands favoured by millennials are marketing and branding themselves on Instagram. I demonstrate that while these companies’ brand values may be exceedingly different from one another, their social media/Instagram strategies are surprisingly similar. That is, I will argue that these two clothing brands follow a distinctly similar set of social media marketing techniques in order to bring the best shopping experience through the use of images and captions -- into the digital world and to their millennial audiences. In other words, by adhering to a sort of social media orthodoxy, these brands are able to create a stronger connection between themselves and their millennial generation of followers.