Graduate Theses & Dissertations

Autobiographical Graphics
This thesis examines the work of queer women who author graphic autobiographical texts. Alison Bechdel, Sarah Leavitt, and Elizabeth Beier all employ the graphic medium to narrate their personal experiences with coming out, growing up, and navigating heteronormative spaces as lesbian or bisexual women. By studying the work of these three authors in tandem, this thesis functions to expand the archive of queer life by demonstrating that, even as queer life is made tangible in autobiographical writings, the ephemerality that marks the archives of queer life persists. Using feminist and queer theories, the study of abjection, archival studies, genre studies, and post-structuralist approaches to comics literatures, this thesis examines the body of the text, the body of the archive, and the bodies of the women that are contained within these structures to determine that queer women are creating a new tradition in graphic life writing. Author Keywords: archive, genre, graphic text, lesbian, queer, women
Robert Bringhurst and Polyphonic Poetry
Robert Bringhurst states that polyphonic art is a faithful, artistic reflection of the multiplicity of the world’s ecosystems. This ecocritical perspective recognizes that human art informs our understandings of the world, and therefore artists have a moral obligation towards that world. In Chapter One I argue that mimesis should be reclaimed as a useful literary category since all art, regardless of intentions, has an effect on both culture and the natural world. In Chapter Two I argue that by reconnecting publishing craft and philosophy, our books can serve to bring us more in tune with the structures of the natural world. I conclude in Chapter Three by asking how a counterpublic consciousness can be cultivated, and how Bringhurst’s mission of transforming culture might be fully realized. Altogether, this view of literature offers an antidote to Western culture’s destructive tendencies towards the natural world. Author Keywords: Bringhurst, ecocriticism, mimesis, poetry, polyphony, typography
Engaging the Unwritten Text
This study is an attempt to look at how orality plays a role in modern society to move people to action in a social engineering process. By examining the theories for the formation of publics as outlined by Jurgen Habermas and Michael Warner, I argue for the existence of an oral public and further show that it can be engineered with some of the tools provided. This theoretical foundation provides a pathway for a thorough examination of orality as a tool for social engineering and shows how the practices moved the people in the past. In this study, I posit that the oral traditions are still alive and well in modern times and still function as a tool for moving people to social action. To achieve this, orality makes use of popular culture. This study examines elements of popular culture with a view to unearthing the presence of oral modes and how they are still carrying on the same function of social engineering in a modern society. This study concludes by positioning orality as a relevant tool for social engineering in modern Nigerian society and affirms that it is still relevant in the areas of politics, literature and cultural productions with possibilities yet untapped in the area of digital technology. Author Keywords: Nigeria, Orality, Popular culture, Publics, Public Sphere, Social Engineering
Return to "The Child"
Despite - or perhaps because of - her popularity as a best-selling poet, the work of Mary Oliver has been minimized and marginalized within the academy. Nevertheless, Oliver's readership is an expansive and devout one made up of a wired yet insular North American public in search of reconnecting with the natural world. I propose that through Oliver's poetry readers access the affective, sensory responses to nature first encountered during childhood. This return to "the child" is deliberately used by various publics to share communal goals. Drawing from such frameworks as ecocritical and trauma theory, I explore environmental memory, ecstatic places, and the sensuousness of nature and language to consider ways in which diverse publics claim and use Oliver's work. I provide a close reading of selections of Oliver's poems to argue that her work's appeal speaks to a revived perception of the necessity of nature to the human spirit Author Keywords: Attentiveness, Childhood, Language, Mary Oliver, Nature Poetry, Senses
From Reading to Reality
This thesis explores post-millennial girl fiction, or young adult works published for girls since the turn of the millennium. Writing for girls has been traditionally placed beneath `more serious' literature, within a hierarchal model, while modern works enjoy an iconic status that is the product of cross-media popularity and a wide readership. Criticism has focused on post-millennial girl fiction being unwholesome, poorly written or anti-feminist, examination of the texts reveals personas which girls may use to explore, rebel against and critically examine societal expectations and fears about girlhood. To explore the publishing phenomenon surrounding current girls' fiction I use two sample series: Gossip Girl by Cecily Von Ziegesar and Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. Chapter One contrasts current girl's fiction with texts written about girlhood, followed with an analysis of the good-girl and bad-girl archetypes which are developed within the two groups of texts. I then consider the stylistic and structural elements presented within the fiction and the impact such elements may have on the girl public. In the conclusion, I consider the wider societal impacts of post-millennial girl fiction through social media, extended readership, cross-media influence and the responses of girl readers. Author Keywords: Feminist Criticism, girlhood, Gossip Girl series, public theory, Twilight series, young adult fiction

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