Graduate Theses & Dissertations

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
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
Stop Making Sense
ABSTRACT There is a growing number of juvenile novels and picture books that mean to educate the reader about synaesthesia. The synaesthete in these texts for young readers desires to be a social agent, yet sh/e also considers synaesthesia to be a healing power and a deeply personal psychedelic form of escapism; I argue that the synaesthete in these texts `uses' their synaesthesia to dissipate emotional trauma caused by pubescent uncertainty and social isolation. In this thesis, I propose that YA and Children's texts that feature synaesthesia generally reinforce the discursive constraints of normative perception, and they also promulgate the assumption that synaesthesia is an extraordinary form of cognition instead of a legitimate subject position. Author Keywords: Authenticity, Liminality, Repesentation, Synaesthesia, Synesthesia, Zizek
Punk as Public, Punks as Texts
This thesis is an attempt to explore the role that musical texts played in the development of a public by writing a work of fiction and then applying to it a critical exegesis. Part One, the literary text Some Of This Is True, (re-)creates and remembers punk in its iteration in Regina, Saskatchewan, in the late 1970s. Part two, the critical exegesis, examines how the theories of public formation outlined in Michael Warner's Publics and Counterpublics can partially explain the creation and behaviour of publics, but not entirely. Similarly Mikhail Bahktin's theory of carnival helps explain punk, but not entirely. Some gaps can be filled partly with theory borrowed from art history that reveals useful links between punk and Continental art movements; Michel Foucault's concept of heterotopia fills other gaps. Literature fills the rest. Author Keywords: Creative Writing, Heterotopia, Michael Warner, Michel Foucault, Mikhail Bakhtin, Punk & Punks
Battle of Maldon
The Battle of Maldon: A Medieval Screenplay History and Heroism in the Cinematic Adaptation of an Old English Poem The Battle of Maldon is an artistic representation of a historical event whose style lends itself to being adapted into a screenplay. This project examines how the poem presents a recent event in an epic heroic style, mixing history with legend, and how the heroism of the men in the poem is celebrated. These explorations lead to the creation of a screenplay which imitates the ways that the poet combines fact and fiction and situates the screenplay within the larger realm of medieval film. Author Keywords: Anglo-Saxon history, Byrhtnoth, film, heroism, Maldon, The Battle of Maldon
Songs We Share (and the Records We Steal)
This thesis explores the rhetoric of theft imposed on online music by comparing file sharing to shoplifting. Since the litigation between the music industry and Napster, file sharing has been perceived, both by the entertainment industry and by a music listening public, as a criminal act. However, file sharing has more in common with home taping and music archives than it does with music shoplifting. It differs from theft in terms of law, motivation and publicness. In reviewing three histories -- a history of petty theft, a history of policing online music, and a history of shoplifting narratives in popular music culture -- the implications for the cultural production of popular music and popular music identity become apparent. In the end, file sharing links itself more to parody and the concept of fairness than it does to youth rebellion and therefore is unsuitable for sustaining a traditional music industry and the values it has formed with its public. Author Keywords: copyright, cultural production, file sharing, mp3, popular music, shoplifting
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
"Learning to Be Mad, In a Dream"
The Beat Generation shaped, and was shaped by, the post-WWII containment culture that arose in 1950s America. This so-called cultural containment reflected the social, political, and economic factors that were unique to the post-WWII period and are often considered concurrent to post-war McCarthyism, which promoted a national ideology of exclusionism that was foremost opposed to the threat of Communism. I propose in my thesis that containment was a major influence in the rhetoric of resistance that is found within the most prominent works of the Generation. My thesis also looks at the how Beat literature shifted from the counterculture to the mainstream and the impact that celebrity had on the Generation. When the Beats achieved literary fame their counterculture represented the forefront of the New Left and was synonymous with succeeding protest cultures of the 1960s. Author Keywords: Beat Generation, Cold War, Containment Culture, McCarthyism, Postmodernism, Second Wave Feminism
Flesh Made Real
This thesis examines what the term "transgender narrative" represents at this particular time and location. I do this by examining various methods of transgender storytelling through different forms of media production, including autobiography, film, novels, and online platforms such as Tumblr and YouTube. In chapter one, I look at the production of novels and the value system by which they are judged ("gender capital") in transgender publics and counterpublics. In chapter two, I examine the history of the autobiography, along with the medical history closely associated with transgender identity and bodily transformation. The third chapter examines notions of violence and memorial behind the deaths of transgender people and the ways in which certain political revolutions are formed within a counterpublic. I deconstruct varying notions of identity, authorship, and cultural production and critically examine what it means to be transgender and what it means to tell stories about transgender people. I will conclude with how these stories are being shaped through social media to become more innovative and move away from the rigid value system of gender capital previously mentioned. Author Keywords: autobiography, gender, sex, social media, transgender, transsexual
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
Remembering the "Home" through YouTube Cooking Videos
This thesis examines how food, culture and identity are linked to the idea of "home." Through a reading of oral narratives produced on the YouTube channel "ShowMetheCurry," I investigate how presenters Anuja and Hetal "write back" from a diasporic space in Texas, to the YouTube global public, and how food and cuisine, even in the age of globalization can be problematic in terms of representation of identities, work and space. I explore how the YouTube videos operate as a heterotopia, as what is presented to the audience in this medium is an embedding of spaces. The space that is projected through "ShowMetheCurry," that of Anuja and Hetal's own home kitchen, is then projected and viewed within the audiences' own spaces, in various locations around the world. What connects these spaces is an interest in cooking, and a longing to satiate culinary nostalgia. Author Keywords: Affect, Culinary nostalgia, Discourse analysis, Food culture, South Asian Diaspora, YouTube

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