Graduate Theses & Dissertations

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All Things Fusible
This dissertation presents the work of the American science fiction writer Neal Stephenson as a case study of mediations between literature and science by mobilizing its resonances with contemporary science studies and media theory. Tracing the historical and thematic trajectory of his consecutively published novels Snow Crash (1992), The Diamond Age; or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer (1995), Cryptonomicon (1999), Quicksilver: The Baroque Cycle I (2003), The Confusion: The Baroque Cycle II (2004), and The System of the World: The Baroque Cycle III (2004), it approaches Stephenson’s fiction as an archaeology of the deep history of science that leads from late twentieth-century cyberculture, to world-war-two cryptography, and the seventeenth-century rise of the Royal Society. Refracted through a parallel reading of Stephenson’s novels and the theoretical work of Michel Serres, Bruno Latour, Friedrich A. Kittler, Isabelle Stengers, Donna Haraway, and others, this dissertation offers a literary discussion of the relations among cybernetics, complexity theory, information theory, systems theory, Leibnizian metaphysics, and Newtonian alchemy. Recognizing these hybrid fields as central to contemporary dialogues between the natural sciences and the humanities, Stephenson’s work is shown to exhibit a consistent engagement with the feedback loops among physical, artistic, narratological, and epistemological processes of innovation and emergence. Through his portrayal of hackers, mathematicians, natural philosophers, alchemists, vagabonds, and couriers as permutations of trickster figures, this dissertation advances a generalized notion of boundary transgressions and media infrastructures to illustrate how newness emerges by way of the turbulent con-fusion of disciplines, genres, knowledge systems, historical linearities, and physical environments. Uninterested in rigid genre boundaries, Stephenson’s novels are explored through the links among artistic modes that range from cyberpunk, to hard science fiction, historiographic metafiction, the carnivalesque, and the baroque. In a metabolization of the work performed by science studies, Stephenson’s fiction foregrounds that scientific practice is always intimately entangled in narrative, politics, metaphor, myth, and the circulation of a multiplicity of human and nonhuman agents. As the first sustained analysis of this segment of Stephenson’s work, this dissertation offers a contribution to both science fiction studies and the wider field of literature and science. Author Keywords: Complexity Theory, Cyberpunk, Michel Serres, Neal Stephenson, Science Fiction, Science Studies
Alone in Power
The thesis uses three case studies of President Nixon’s foreign policy in South-east Asia to analyze presidential domestic-making. The theoretical concept of personality politics is used to analyze the Nixon administration and foreign policy. Nixon’s secretive nature combined with his mistrust of the press and bureaucracy to create an office structure that restricted the involvement and notification of others of his foreign policy. This thesis also takes into account the domestic climate that Nixon was operating within, including significant antiwar opposition, an adversarial media, and an ideologically opposed bureaucracy. Nixon’s foreign policy was ultimately the result of a perfect storm of factors. The president’s natural penchant for secrecy, along with his mistrust of the press and bureaucracy, combined with the American political environment that was in many instances ideologically set against him, also helped shape his foreign policy. Author Keywords: American Presidency, China, National Security Council, Richard Nixon, US Foreign Policy, 1969-1973, Vietnam War
Alpha and Omega
Game texts present unique and dynamic opportunities for lability: how readers can make choices while reading that alter the narrative's nature or outcome. Labile decisions are neither simply correct nor incorrect--the reader renders judgement to produce a desired outcome. When encountering labile challenges, players employ an interpretive strategy to resolve them. Many game texts tell stories. Games anticipate readers' interpretive strategies to orchestrate a desired result in labile narratives and manipulate players into inhabiting an identity in a variety of different ways. This thesis examines how Fallout 3 does so with periodically opposable intentions, mainly applying an inconsistent moral orthodoxy via the player character's father, but occasionally exhibiting the series' nihilistic philosophy that disdains American exceptionalism, undermining the orthodoxy. This isolates and breaks down the interpretive communities the player inhabits to play the game. Author Keywords: Exceptionalism, Identity, Lability, Morality, Narrative, Video Games
Altered Hippocampal Regulation of Immediate Early Genes after Pentylenetetrazol-Induced Seizures
Seizures induce long-term changes in gene expression in the hippocampus. Experimental evidence has demonstrated a significant effect of epileptic activity on the activity of neurons that participate in complex cognitive and behavioural processes. The present series of experiments involving kindling with subconvulsive doses of PTZ demonstrates a link between seizures and altered immediate early gene expression within the hippocampus and dentate gyrus. In addition, newborn hippocampal neurons were shown to have decreased induction of plasticity-related genes, suggesting deficits in activity-dependent recruitment. These findings may shed light on the mechanisms underlying epileptogenesis and epilepsy-related hippocampal dysfunction in human patients. Author Keywords: hippocampus, IEGs, kindling, neurogenesis, seizures
American Acropolis, American Ruins
Since 1979, photographer and sociologist Camilo José Vergara has taken repeat photographs of American cities in decline, focusing on evolving landscapes of postindustrial decay. Vergara's images subscribe to an aesthetic of ruin while providing a record of America's crumbling ghettos rooted in social documentary concerns. Vergara's work diverges from the ahistorical tendencies of contemporary ruin porn photography: by challenging the photograph's temporal stasis Vergara bears witness to the ongoing reality of disenfranchisement, assembling an archive that takes up the Benjaminian task of doing history in images. Vergara's photographs challenge standard photojournalistic portrayals of violence, particularly the ways in which `violent' African American and Hispanic inner city populations have been erroneously cast as the cause of their own economic misfortune. The Invincible Cities website assists Vergara in drawing attention to forgotten places but also complicates his mandate to engage outside viewers by distancing them from the real-­world environments his photographs portray. Author Keywords: Camilo José Vergara, imagistic history, postindustrial decline, repeat photography, ruin porn, Walter Benjamin
An Application of Virgilio Enriquez's Indigenization Method on Filipino-Canadian Discourse
In Disturbing Invisibility (Coloma, McElhinny, Tungohan, Catungal, Davidson, 2012), the most comprehensive book on Filipino-Canadian studies to date, issues were identified in the afterword as to how Filipino-Canadian studies relates to indigenous identity. This thesis attempts to address this issue by applying Enriquez’s (1992) Indigenization Method onto Filipino-Canadian discourse. It attempts to do this by: exploring the colonial context and history in the Philippines and its effect on the formation of a Filipino indigenous identity; exploring Filipino indigenous thought as described by Enriquez (1992) in his seminal book From Colonial to Liberation Psychology; understanding Filipinos in Canada with the inclusion of literature from Filipino-American studies and the Filipino Indigenization movement; and how orienting Filipino-Canadian discourse with the indigenous concepts brought forward by Enriquez might look like, with emphasis on how Filipino-Canadian discourse could interact with Indigenous issues relating to Indigenous People in Canada today. It becomes clear that the Filipino Indigenization movement has reached grassroots Filipino organizations in Canada, and that uncritically ignoring their own Filipino indigenous roots would be denying themselves the unique cultural gifts that those roots provide. As being both Filipino and Canadian, Filipino-Canadians who seek to reclaim their indigenous roots would find that the indigenous concept of kapwa (“the self in the other”) would encourage an examination of issues pertaining to Indigenous People in Canada as commonalities exist in their experiences with colonization. Author Keywords: Canada, discourse, Filipino-Canadians, indigenization, indigenous, Philippines
An Application of the Sinc-Collocation Method in Oceanography
In this thesis, we explore the application of the Sinc-Collocation method to an oceanography model. The model of interest describes a wind-driven current with depth-dependent eddy viscosity and is formulated in two different systems; a complex-velocity system and a real-value coupled system. In general, the Sinc-based methods excel over other traditional numerical methods due to their exponentially decaying errors, rapid convergence and handling problems in the presence of singularities at end-points. In addition, the Sinc-Collocation approach that we utilize exploits first derivative interpolation, whose integration is less sensitive to numerical errors. We present several model problems to demonstrate the accuracy, and stability of the method. We compare the approximate solutions determined by the Sinc-Collocation technique with exact solutions and also with those obtained by the Sinc-Galerkin approach in earlier studies. Our findings indicate that the method we utilized outperforms those used in past studies. Author Keywords: Boundary Value Problems, Eddy Viscosity, Oceanography, Sinc Numerical Methods, Wind-Driven Currents
An Assessment of Spatial Trends in the Accumulation of Oil Sands Related Metals in the Clearwater River Valley and Temporal Trends in Six Northern Saskatchewan Lakes
The objective of this thesis was to assess current spatial trends and historic trends in the accumulation of trace metals related to the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR). The AOSR hosts some of the largest industrial developments in Canada, yet relatively little is known about the transport and fate of trace metal emissions from the region – particularly in the relatively remote areas to the east of the AOSR. Lichens are widely used as biomonitors and are employed in this thesis to assess the range of metals deposition within the Clearwater River and Athabasca River Valleys. Lake sediment cores can retain a historical record of the long-range transport and deposition of metals but can also respond to large regional metal emissions sources. This thesis used lake sediment cores to assess temporal trends in metals accumulation in six road accessible lakes in NW Saskatchewan that are likely to be used by local residents. Results show that metal concentrations (V, Co, Cu, Ni, Pb, Zn, Zr and Cd ) in lichen decline exponentially with distance from the AOSR and approach background levels within a few kilometers . Results from lake sediment cores show that there was no evidence that metal concentrations had increased due to industrial activities in the AOSR. Author Keywords: Air Emissions, Lakes, Lichens, Oil Sands, Saskatchewan, Trace Metals
An Emergent Model of the Return to Learn Process for Adolescents with Prolonged Concussion
Current literature on concussion management focuses primarily on the return to physical activity, while the return to learn process is less clearly understood. This knowledge gap is particularly problematic for adolescents, whose primary responsibility is academics. The present study sought to develop a more in-depth understanding of the return to learn process through the perspectives of adolescents who had sustained a concussion and their parents in in-person, semi-structured interviews. A substantive grounded theory of the return to learn process for adolescents that emerged from the data is provided. The basic model is consistent with many speculative, non-empirically based concussion management protocols, but extends these models by emphasizing the central role of parents in managing their child’s recovery process, highlighting the importance of role fulfillment within the concussion management network, and identifying the impact of the adolescent’s capacity and readiness for help-seeking. The results also highlight the vulnerability of concussed adolescents to losing their support structure as they move through key school transitions. Implications for educators, medical professionals, parents, and adolescents in the return to learn process are also discussed. Author Keywords: Adolescent, Concussion, Concussion Management, Multidisciplinary Management, Return to Learn, Return to School
An Emprirical Investigation into the Relationship Between Education and Health
Health literature has long noted a positive correlation between health and levels of education. Two competing theories have been advanced to explain this phenomenon: (1) education "causes" health by allowing individuals to process complex information and act on it; and, (2) education and health are merely correlated through some third underlying characteristic. Determining which of these two theories is correct is of importance to public policy. But that task is empirically difficult because, from the standard, static perspective, the theories are observationally equivalent. We exploit a way in which the two theories have different implications regarding the sort of behaviour we should observe over time. We use smoking as a measure of health behaviour and find that smoking rates between "high" and "low" educated individuals expand when information is hard to process, and then contract as it becomes more easily processable. This approach is then repeated using physical activity as a measure of health-related behaviour to address limitations of the smoking model. Our novel approach to estimating the differences in the behavioural responses to changes in the processability of health-related information, across education groups, provides strong evidence in support of the view that education and health are causally linked. Author Keywords: applied statistics, education, health economics, public health, public policy, smoking
An Ethical Analysis of Bell's Targeted Ad Prorgram
Online behavioural advertising (OBA) is an advertising technique which relies on collected customer information and online activity to serve people with more relevant ads. On November 16th, 2013, Bell Canada launched their first OBA program via Bell Mobility: the Bell Targeted Ads Program, or BTAP. My thesis provides an ethical analysis of BTAP and shows that Bell undermined and violated customer privacy, stifled customer autonomy, and harmed customer identity. Relevant moral problems include typification, a disrespecting of customer autonomy, and identity commodification. I show that BTAP was unethical by grounding my arguments within the moral framework of Information Ethics (IE). IE is an ethical system which focuses on the role of information in the ethical dilemmas. IE also justifies the self-constitutive theory of privacy (SCP) which argues that our information and privacy are entangled with our identities. This gives us strong reason to defend our privacy/identity within BTAP. After making several arguments which demonstrate that BTAP was unethical, I will then turn my attention to showing how it is possible to rectify and mitigate many of BTAP’s ethical problems by installing a two-stage opt-in (TSOI) which provides customers with a greater deal of autonomy, and the ability to remove themselves from BTAP. Author Keywords: Bell Canada, Ethics, Identity, Online Behavioural Advertising, Privacy, Targeted Advertising
An Evaluation of Wastewater Treatment by Ozonation for Reductions in Micropollutant Toxicity to Fish
Micropollutants are discharged into the aquatic environment with industrial and domestic wastewater and these compounds may cause toxic effects in aquatic organisms. In this study, the toxic effects to fish of micropollutants extracted from ozonated and nonozonated municipal wastewater effluent (MWWE) were measured in order to assess the effectiveness of ozonation in reducing toxicity. Juvenile rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) injected with extracts prepared from ozonated MWWE had significantly reduced induction of plasma vitellogenin (VTG), significantly reduced hepatic total glutathione (tGSH) levels and an elevated oxidized-to-total glutathione (GSSG-to-tGSH) ratio. Exposure of Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes) embryos to extracts prepared from both ozonated and non-ozonated MWWE resulted in elevated developmental toxicity in both treatment groups. These results indicate that wastewater treatment by ozonation reduces the estrogenicity of wastewater, but treatment may induce oxidative stress and embryonic developmental toxicity due to the production of toxic by-products. Author Keywords: Estrogenicity, Micropollutants, Oxidative stress, Ozonation, Toxic by-products, Wastewater

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