Graduate Theses & Dissertations

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Governance as If Our Lives Depended On It
This research explores how the value of sustaining the natural world could become foundational to senior level policy decisions in Canada and how Indigenous Knowledges and Peoples could play a key role in such a paradigm shift. It is a trans-disciplinary study that draws on scholarship in Indigenous Studies, Sustainability Studies and Public Policy and existing report recommendations and policy documents that highlight both historical and recent governance trends in the area of sustainability. These sources help to describe both the challenges and the art of the possible in achieving a policy paradigm shift in Canada. The focal point is a series of conversations with seventeen highly experienced Indigenous and non-indigenous policy leaders from across Canada and across traditional territories. The findings reveal that many participants strongly agreed that a paradigm shift should occur and that both Indigenous and western worldviews are needed to realize it, with none disagreeing. They also point to significant changes that are needed to move from paradigms where shorter-term economic development decisions take precedence over environmental concerns to understanding that a healthy economy and society are dependent upon the natural world. To this end, they provide recommendations such as embedding the Right to a Clean Environment in federal legislation and learning from consensus and culturally based governance models in the North West Territories, Nunavut and New Zealand. They suggest mandating education and awareness programs for civil servants and elected officials on Indigenous -Canada relations and sustaining the natural world upon which Canada is situated and upon which treaties are based. They emphasize that a culture shift requires more Indigenous Peoples in senior leadership roles and to be more meaningfully involved in policy processes. Overall, the conclusion finds that a paradigm shift requires positive relationships between parliamentary governments and Indigenous peoples that enable both Knowledge Systems to come together to put the natural world at the foundation of senior-level policy decisions. Qualities such as respect, listening, trust, reciprocity, responsibility and connectedness with the natural world are highlighted through real-world examples that show that, although it may take time, a paradigm shift is possible and may have already begun. Next steps suggest new approaches for building relationships into the policy cycle. Author Keywords: Governance, Policy, Sustainability, Indigenous Knowledges, Natural World
Breach, Digital Disruption, the Event
The goal of this dissertation is to formulate a critique of embodiment through the lens of Lacanian psychoanalysis and in the context of digital media and intelligent technologies. Along with psychoanalysis, our research methodology and philosophy are informed by Badiou’s philosophy of the event, Stiegler’s philosophy of technics and infrastructuralism in media studies. Our study aims to uncover and articulate the implicit conditioning by the primordial trauma constitutive of the subject’s encounters with the medium. In our analysis of embodiment, we make extensive use of psychoanalytic concepts such as: the breach, the lack, the signifier, the construction of the object, the object-a, the transitional object, fetishism and phobia. Each of the four parts of the dissertation approaches the topic from a specific angle, such as the theoretical critique of the basic concepts of the subject and object, the function of the metaphor in the context of intelligent technologies, the role of technological infrastructure in the embodiment of the trauma, the construction of a transitional object such as a pop song in the context of technological dystopianism. We demonstrate that the cognitivist presumption concerning the pivotal role of intellectual motivation behind the subjective attachment to information technologies can be significantly shaken from the point of view of the psychoanalytic understanding of drives and jouissance. On the basis of Alain Badiou’s argument, we show the limitations of structurally-determined forms of embodiment considered by psychoanalysis and draw a dividing line between them and the more rare cases of the subjectivation by events suggested by Badiou’s theory. We discuss Badiou’s concept of the work of truth as an advanced alternative to the psychoanalytic concept of the object and the paradigm of the construction of the (transitional) object. We distinguish the Badiouian concept of the event from the idea of technological/digital disruption, on the one hand, and correlate the latter with the problems discussed in psychoanalysis such as the foreclosure of the Name-of-the-Father and the crisis of the paternal metaphor along with the problems of the futurity and the disruption of intergenerational communication discussed by Bernard Stiegler on the other. Author Keywords: Badiou, digital media, Lacan, metaphor, transitional object, work of truth
Mfsd8 regulates growth and multicellular development in Dictyostelium discoideum
The neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCLs), commonly known as Batten disease, are a family of inherited neurodegenerative lysosomal storage disorders. CLN7 disease is a subtype of NCL that is caused by mutations in the MFSD8 gene. MFSD8 encodes a lysosomal transmembrane protein that is predicted to play a role in transporting small substrates across membranes. However, little is known about its role and substrate specificity. Previous work identified an ortholog of human MFSD8 in the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum and reported its localization to endocytic compartments. In this study, the effects of mfsd8 loss during Dictyostelium growth and multicellular development were further characterized. Dictyostelium mfsd8- cells displayed increased rates of proliferation and pinocytosis in liquid media. During growth, loss of mfsd8 altered lysosomal enzymatic activities and reduced the intracellular and extracellular levels of autocrine proliferation repressor A. mfsd8- cells grown on a lawn of bacteria formed plaques in a shorter period of time compared to WT cells, providing additional support for the enhanced growth of mfsd8- cells. Upon starvation, the aggregation of mfsd8- cells was delayed, and mfsd8- cells formed more mounds that were smaller in size, which may be attributed to the reduced cell-substrate adhesion and altered lysosomal enzymatic activities observed for mfsd8- cells. Following aggregation, tipped mound formation was delayed, however, loss of mfsd8 did not affect the timing of slug/finger and fruiting body formation. Additionally, slug migration was reduced in mfsd8- cells. These aberrant phenotypes, excluding fruiting body formation, were effectively or partially rescued when Mfsd8-GFP was introduced into mfsd8- cells. Overall, these results show that Mfsd8 plays a role in regulating growth and developmental processes in Dictyostelium via lysosomal-associated functions. Author Keywords: CLN7, Dictyostelium discoideum, Lysosomes, MFSD8, Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinoses
It Flows from the Heart
Indigenous Knowledges and intellectual tradition emanate from relationship with land, water, spirit, and the beings of Creation. Knowledge mobilization occurs intergenerationally and through these relationships. The Bodwewaadmii Anishinaabeg have lived in relationship with the Great Lakes since the formation of the lakes. Our stories and practices demonstrate our intimate ties to land, water, and the other than human beings. This dissertation shares some of these practices and stories. Settler colonialism in the Great Lakes has disrupted Bodwewaadmii Anishinaabe relationships and resulted in a diaspora. Following the Federal Indian Removal Act of 1830, individual Bodwewaadmiig and families moved north and inland from the southern shores of Lake Michigan, south to the southern plains of the United States and into Mexico, or seemingly stayed in place in southwestern Michigan. As a result, Bodwewaadmii Anishinaabeg now reside in three colonial nation states—Canada, United States, and Mexico. The disruption of Great Lakes basin-based relationships continues, impacting cultural practices, language, and Knowledges as well as knowledge mobilization. Multilayered settler colonial processes have covered women’s water Knowledges and practices. This dissertation shares narratives of Bodwewaadmii migration, removal and relocation through a lens of disruption and knowledge covering. Returning to ourselves, Biskaabiiyang, is revitalization of culture, language and Knowledges. In addition, Biskaabiiyang is a way of being and a research methodology. This dissertation shares the stories and motivations of over twenty-five Anishinaabe women, men and gender fluid humans working to uncover Knowledges and practices and reweave both into their daily lives, the lives of their grandchildren and their community members. This research builds on historical literature and on a body of literature about cultural practices, water Knowledges, and Indigenous peoples’ relationships with land, water, and the beings of the Great Lakes. It contributes to Indigenous research methodology, Bodwewaadmii Anishinaabe history, and revitalization of language, Knowledges and practices. It has been written in a narrative style and for the benefit of our families and communities. Author Keywords: Anishinaabe Studies, Biskaabiiyang, Indigenous Knowledges, Indigenous Research Methodology, Potawatomi, Water
Smile and a Neutral Attitude
This thesis examines the ways in which body image is discussed in online settings. There are three different communities discussed: body positivity, proED (pro-eating disorder), and body neutrality. Both body positivity and proED content are fairly popular online, and both have found significant support and followers on various social medias. In this thesis, I argue that both of these types of content cause significant harm to those who engage with them, primarily because both communities (though different in their approaches to body image) work to uphold the thin ideal. I then bring up the third type of content: body neutrality. Body neutrality has not been given the same academic attention as body positivity and proED content, likely due to its relative infancy. In this thesis, I propose body neutrality as a much healthier way to frame body image online because of its completely neutral stance on fat, thinness, and general body image. Though any work relating to social media is quickly out of date, I hope that this thesis provides an overview of body neutrality and how, in its current form, it provides a more balanced approach to online body image discussions. Author Keywords: body image, body neutrality, body positivity, eating disorders, social media
mycobiome and skin chemistry of bat wings in relation to white-nose syndrome
White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a skin disease of bats caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) that damages flight membranes during hibernation and can lead to death. The disease causes mortality of multiple bat species in eastern North America and is spreading into western North America. Future impacts of WNS on naïve bat populations are unknown. Variation in host susceptibility occurs among and within species, but mechanisms driving this variation are unclear. Multiple studies have characterized immunological responses to WNS, but skin physiology as a barrier to pathogens is understudied. The unique ability of Pd to actively penetrate the normal, intact skin of its mammalian host makes WNS an interesting study system to understand skin defenses. Aspects of the mammalian skin environment that can influence disease susceptibility include pH, sebaceous lipids, and microbiomes. I found skin mycobiomes of WNS-susceptible species had significantly lower alpha diversity and abundance compared to bat species resistant to Pd infection. Using these data, I predicted that most naïve bat species in western North America will be susceptible to WNS based on the low diversity of their skin mycobiomes. Some fungi isolated from bat wings inhibited Pd growth in vitro, but only under specific salinity and pH conditions, suggesting the microenvironment on wings can influence microbial interactions and potentially WNS-susceptibility. I measured the wing-skin pH of bats in eastern Canada and found that Eptesicus fuscus (WNS-tolerant) had more acidic skin than M. lucifugus (WNS-susceptible). Differences in sebum quantity and composition among and within mammalian species may help explain variation in skin disease susceptibility and the composition of skin microbiomes. This is due to the antimicrobial properties of sebum and the use of sebum as a nutrition source by microbes. Outcomes of this work further our understanding of inter- and intra-specific differences among bat species and individuals in skin mycobiomes and physiology, which may contribute to variation in WNS-susceptibility. Future research should focus on characterizing the physical and chemical landscape of skin as this is essential for understanding mechanisms structuring skin microbial assemblages and skin disease susceptibility in wildlife. Author Keywords: bat, fungi, microbiome, mycology, physiology, white-nose syndrome
Reconceptualizing a Post-Secondary Program for Students with Intellectual Disabilities
The number of post-secondary programs for students with intellectual disabilities has been on the rise since the early 1990’s (Plotner & Marshall, 2015). However, research focused on student experiences within these programs has been predominantly from faculty, mainstream students and parent’s perspectives without accounting for what the students themselves are experiencing. This thesis however utilizes critical narrative inquiry as a methodology to listen the stories of students with disabilities, in conjunction with the researcher’s personal and professional experiences to reconceptualize the CICE program at Fleming College in Peterborough Ontario in order to provide students with more responsive and inclusive educational experiences. Six themes emerged from interviews conducted in the research: friendship/social opportunities, career/goals, supports, barriers/challenges, independence/freedom and finally identity/inclusion. A critical exploration of these themes is provided to develop programmatic, college and community level changes that forward a reconceptualized view of post-secondary education for adults with disabilities. Author Keywords: Critical disability theory, Critical narrative inquiry, Post-secondary programs for students with disabilities, Student voice
Isotopes of the Caribbean
This research represents the first stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of human bone collagen (n = 29) from the Escape Site (AD 300 - 1000), Saint Vincent. As a two-pronged investigation, this research had the following goals: (1) determining the ideal pretreatment for poorly preserved bones and (2) reconstructing the Escape Site sample population diet. By incorporating powdered specimens, shorter demineralizations and increased acid:sample exposure, higher collagen yields were produced, thereby expanding the sample size for isotopic analysis. Notably, the elemental data suggests that not all isolated collagen was biogenic and was perhaps contaminated by non-collagenous proteins. This highlighted the importance of using multiple criteria to rigorously evaluate collagen based on the full quality indicator profile. In the end, 5 individuals yielded useable isotope data which was consistent with a broad spectrum diet relying primarily on C3 plants as well as terrestrial, reef, nearshore and freshwater fauna. Within the broad region, the Escape Site data was comparable to other islands from the Lesser Antilles and Cuba emphasizing the influence of regional biodiversity as well as the likelihood that the studied population contributed and benefitted from the extensive Saladoid trade networks which existed at the time. Author Keywords: Caribbean, Collagen, Escape Site, Human diet, Saladoid, Stable isotope analysis
Modelling Request Access Patterns for Information on the World Wide Web
In this thesis, we present a framework to model user object-level request patterns in the World Wide Web.This framework consists of three sub-models: one for file access, one for Web pages, and one for storage sites. Web Pages are modelled to be made up of different types and sizes of objects, which are characterized by way of categories. We developed a discrete event simulation to investigate the performance of systems that utilize our model.Using this simulation, we established parameters that produce a wide range of conditions that serve as a basis for generating a variety of user request patterns. We demonstrated that with our framework, we can affect the mean response time (our performance metric of choice) by varying the composition of Web pages using our categories. To further test our framework, it was applied to a Web caching system, for which our results showed improved mean response time and server load. Author Keywords: discrete event simulation (DES), Internet, performance modelling, Web caching, World Wide Web
Food Practices in Transition
The onset of the Natufian sees the unfolding of a lasting dietary shift: the transition from foraging to farming. To understand this transition, we have to identify the exploited plants and explain why they were chosen. To that end, I used use-wear and residue analysis to isolate wear patterns distinctive of specific plants. I conducted a series of six grinding experiments on wheat, barley, fenugreek, lentils, roasted wheat, and rinsed/soaked fenugreek. I then examined the tools under multiple levels of magnification using established protocols and descriptive criteria. To ensure that my descriptive criteria are reproducible, a blind test was performed. The experimental data are then compared to previous studies and residue analysis on the tools used to process wheat and lentils was performed. My results have expanded the experimental database and support the idea that there are distinctions between cereals and legumes and differences between types of cereals and legumes. Author Keywords: Blind test, Cereals, Groundstone tools, Legumes, Starch analysis, Use-wear analysis
Clonal structure and mating patterns in a natural population of Sagittaria latifolia
Increased plant size is expected to have negative consequences for mating by increasing pollen transfer among the same plant. However, recent theoretical studies have demonstrated that this may not be true for clonal plants. Instead, clonal expansion could enhance outcrossing opportunities without increasing selfing by reducing distances to potential mates. I investigated how the spatial structure of clones influences patterns of pollen dispersal, selfing rates and siring success in a natural population of Sagittaria latifolia. I found that pollen dispersal distances typically exceeded the spatial extent of clones and there was a positive association between clone size and the likelihood that clones were intermingled. Together, this resulted in a weak positive association between clone size and selfing rates, and a strong positive association between clone size and outcross siring success. This is the first empirical support for the theoretical expectation that any negative effects of selfing in large clones might be offset by increased siring success. Author Keywords: clonal growth, fitness gain curve, geitonogamy, plant mating, plant reproductive ecology, sex allocation theory
Keeping Circle
In the 1980’s, Hollow Water First Nation citizens created a healing movement to address community issues from an Indigenous perspective resulting in the development of the Community Holistic Circle Healing (CHCH) in 1989. The CHCH organization developed a Community (Restorative) Justice process as an alternative to a Western-based Justice approach to address issues such as domestic violence and sexual abuse. The CHCH organization addresses justice from a healing perspective (rather than the Western approach’s punitive/surveillance model) and includes the offender and offender’s family, the victim and the victim’s family, as well as the community to identify issues, develop plans, implement healing activities, and evaluate the outcome so that the root systemic issues affecting community can be addressed holistically. Hollow Water First Nation is much more engaged in addressing the roots of why the offence occurred and looks for Anishinaabek approaches to resolve community-defined issues. Western society tends to implement a symptomatic approach to violence deterrence through punishment rather than address issues through a healing process. My research looks at the complex history of the healing movement, the operation of the CHCH organization and the personal values that emerged from the healing movement, and Hollow Water’s next iteration of organization from the children of the people that began the healing movement. These people are now aged around mid-40’s and have seen their parents engage in a community justice movement, saw their parents develop their own way to address community issues through the emergence and operation of the CHCH organization, and now, themselves, have developed highly critical and creative skills around the workings of community development. I use Berger and Luckmann’s seminal 1966 book The Social Construction of Reality, Hallowell’s perspectives on the Anishinaabek culture in his anthropological research conducted in Beren’s River, Manitoba during the 1930’s, Max Weber’s The Theory of Social and Economic Organization (1915), interviews with the original activists, and my experiences living in Hollow Water for 4+ years (from 1997 to 2001) to give an account of the history of the healing movement and its consequent personal transformation of the people engaged in examining their thoughts, values and behavioural processes. I use the Learning Organization Theory, developed by Peter Senge (a management professor from Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in his 1990 book The Fifth Discipline, interviews of CHCH staff and other community organization staff members, as well as, Indigenous authors, such as, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back (2011) and Michael Hart’s Seeking Mino-Pimatisiwin (2002) to provide an understanding of Indigenous concepts as they apply to the process of CHCH’s healing/learning operations. From these sources and interviews, I provide an account of Hollow Water’s Healing Movement which includes the decline of the CHCH organization from late 1990s to 2020. Given the current hyperpolitical environment in Canada, Hollow Water’s next generation of community member activists are perhaps about to reclaim power and establish empowered relationships as the Indigenous Renaissance unfolds. Author Keywords: Community Healing Movement Process, Hollow Water First Nation, Indigenous Axiology and Praxis, Learning Organization, Restorative Justice, Systems-Thinking

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Format: 2023/01/27