Graduate Theses & Dissertations

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History and Legacy of the “Orillia Asylum for Idiots
The “Orillia Asylum for Idiots” (1861 - 2009), Canada’s oldest and largest facility for the care and protection of children and adults with disabilities, was once praised as a beacon of humanitarian progress and described as a “community within a community.” Yet, survivors who lived in the facility during the post Second World War period, a time described as the “golden age of children’s rights,” tell harrowing stories of abuse and neglect. Despite the nation’s promise to “put children first” and protect the universal rights of “Canada’s children,” children incarcerated within the Orillia Asylum were subjected to systemic neglect and cultural discrimination, daily humiliation and dehumanization, and physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Far from being a place for child protection and care, this dissertation finds that the Orillia Asylum was a site of a multi-faceted and all-encompassing violence, a reality that stands in complete contrast to the grand narrative through which the facility has historically been understood. This dissertation considers how such violence against children could occur for so long in a facility maintained by the state, a state invested in protecting children. It finds that children who were admitted to the Orillia Asylum were not considered to be “Canada’s children” at all by virtue of being labelled as “mentally deficient,” “feeble-minded,” “not-quite-human,” and “not-quite-children.” Author Keywords: childhood, disability, Huronia Regional Centre, institutional child abuse, institutional violence, institutionalization
“The Darkest Tapestry”
This doctoral research project is a part of the quest for an inclusive telling of Canada’s national identity and will focus on the creation of a memorialization Keeping Place model to commemorate the Indian Residential School system in Canada. My dissertation is interdisciplinary and contributes to the fields of cultural history, memory and post-colonial studies. In response to the TRC recommendation that calls on all Canadians to “develop and implement a national heritage plan and strategy for commemorating residential school sites, the history and legacy of residential schools, and the contributions of Indigenous peoples to Canada’s history”, this project aims to contribute a unique analysis and discourse to the existing literature as it will focus on developing a process of commemoration of the IRS system by uniting the architectural/geographical location not only as a place/space of colonizing “perpetrator architecture” but also as a Keeping Place and “site of memory/lieu de memoire” or conscience. This project will also engage the concepts of “Indigenous Métissage” and “Cultural Interface” to aid in the creation of an educational commemoration and reconciliation Keeping Place model for all Canadians. Author Keywords: canada, indian residential schools, keeping place , memory, saskatchewan, sites of memory
Laughing to be Citizens
This study will focus on how immigrants from Sub Saharan African (SSA) countries use humour as a tool for integration and belonging (and ultimately citizenship) in Canada. My aim is to investigate, through a detailed analysis of popular culture productions from immigrant communities, the strategies and techniques of humour that immigrants employ as a mode of communication with fellow immigrants, their immediate host community and the governmental authorities of Canada. I am particularly interested in how African immigrants use their oral background and cultural memory in the production of jokes and other humour products as a way of interacting, first with fellow immigrants as the primary audience and recipients of the humour and, second, with Canadian society at large. Using the ‘Signifying’ theory of Henry Louis Gates (1988) and Mikhail Bakhtin’s (1968) concept of the “Carnivalesque” as the theoretical framework for this study, I argue that immigrants from SSA countries are using humour to question hegemonic regulations that portrays them as victims, while providing alternative narratives of themselves as subjects with human agency. I further postulate that immigrants are taking advantage of the policy of multiculturalism that exists in Canada in a positive manner as an enabler for their humour. In turn, they are using the humour produced to communicate and break down social barriers, while building bridges across communities and social strata. I bolster my arguments with a consideration of humour in three genres of popular culture – literature, standup comedy and film – to show how immigrants rely on their home culture to produce humour in an effort to find belonging in Canada as contributors rather than victims. This thesis is the first work to examine SSA humour, produced by immigrants from these countries, in the context of their immigration and integration into Canada, and the first to present extended literary criticism of the works of immigrant writers, Tololwa Mollel, Yabome Gilpin-Jackson and Segun Akinlolu. This is also the first study on the comedy of Arthur Simeon, originally from Uganda and the film of Phina Brooks, originally from Nigeria. My analysis apprehends the immigrant voice in the writings and productions of these artists and places their works in conversation with Canadian literary/cultural criticism. Until now, there has been no study of the function of humour produced by African immigrants in Canada. It is my hope that this study will not only fill that gap, but also lay the groundwork for future study in this field that I believe holds a lot of socio-cultural promise, especially in the area of cohesive habitation amongst different ethnic groups. This study aims to contribute to conversations on immigration and its impact on Canadian society as part of nation-building and national consciousness. Author Keywords: African Stand up Comedy, Humour, Immigration, Multiculturalism, Popular Culture, Postcolonialism
History of Canada's UFO Investigation, 1950-1995
From 1950-1995, the Canadian government investigated the phenomenon of unidentified flying objects (UFOs), amassing over 15,000 pages of documentation about, among other matters, nearly 4,500 unique sightings. This investigation was largely passive and disconnected, spread across a number of federal departments and agencies that infrequently communicated about the subject. Two official investigations, Project Magnet and Project Second Storey, were initiated in the early 1950s to study the topic. The government concluded that the UFO phenomenon did not “lend itself to a scientific method of investigation,” and terminated the projects. After this point, the investigation entered a state of purgatory, with no central communication, and every government department eager to pass the responsibility onto someone else. As such, Canadian citizens writing to the government for straight answers to the UFO enigma were often on the receiving end of what they called “doublespeak.” Citizens were seeing things in the sky and wanted the government to simply tell them what they were. The government was unable and unwilling to do this, and over time frustration grew on both sides. What began for the government, in its own words, as an irritating intrusion into more important matters, became the catalyst for a dynamic of mutually-reinforced mistrust between state and citizen during the postwar period. This dissertation offers a chronological history of the efforts that the Canadian government and citizens made to investigate UFOs, and when and why these efforts came into conflict. The main argument is that the Canadian state attempted to use UFOs as a site to assert its modernity during a time of uncertainty and anxiety over its legitimacy, by drawing on the cultural authority of the scientific community. The project was one of ridding the public of ignorance and creating instead a more rational citizen. This attempt ran up against beliefs and attitudes that some citizens shared, that tapped into a spirit of anti-authoritarianism present during the 1960s and even earlier. These citizens considered themselves to be iconoclasts, unmoved by claims of expertise, and accused the government of conspiracy theory. These approaches fed into one another, contributing to further misunderstanding and conflict. The history of Canada’s UFO investigation is thus more broadly a history of changing attitudes toward authority and expertise in the postwar era. Author Keywords: Canada, citizenship, history of science, scientific object, state, UFO
Hoop Dance Project
This dissertation explores a 2017 elementary school Hoop Dance project that was organized by a white music teacher, and taught by an Indigenous artist in Peterborough, Ontario. It aims to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, numbers 10 and 63, which ask the federal government to sufficiently fund legislation that incorporates the following principles: “… developing culturally appropriate curricula” (p. 2), and “building student capacity for intercultural understanding, empathy, and mutual respect” (p. 7). The dissertation asks the question: In what ways will a seven-week Indigenous Hoop Dance Unit, taught by an Indigenous performing artist and facilitated by a white school teacher, contribute to reconciliation in an elementary school classroom in Ontario? I am the teacher in this study and have worked at this elementary school for five years. Throughout the project, I acted as facilitator, participant, and researcher, while Indigenous dancer and instructor Beany John planned and delivered the Hoop Dance content. Theoretically, the dissertation is organized around the Anishinabek seven grandmother/grandfather teachings, as taught by Ojibwe/Odawa educator and author Pamela Toulouse (2011). I believe that these seven traditional teachings are a meaningful basis upon which to build the project, not only because they inform Indigenous knowledge in the arts, but also because frequent reflection and referral to the teachings help remind me to remain connected to the “higher” purpose of the research throughout the project, which is to further the reconciliation process in Canada, and more broadly, to benefit society. Regarding methodology, I use arts based research (Leavy, 2015) and a constructivist grounded theory analysis, which embraces the subjectivity and positionality of the researcher (Creswell, 2012). The overall conclusion of the dissertation is that although the Hoop Dance project did not significantly address issues of Indigenous sovereignty in education nor our shared inherited legacy of colonial harm, it was a constructive step in the reconciliation project, largely due to the contributions of Beany John, whose teaching gently unsettled conventional educational practice at our school. Author Keywords: Arts Education, Hoop Dance, Indigenous Education, Indigenous Peoples, Settler Colonialism, Truth and Reconciliation
Something out of Nothing? Place-based Resilience in Rural Canadian Youth
This dissertation explored how rural communities enhance the capacity of youth to both navigate and negotiate healthy identities and well-being in the context of social ecological resilience. Resilience refers to the capacity for individuals to have good outcomes in spite of exposure to significant adversity. Rural communities are often identified as places of deficit both in scholarly literature and in general social discourse which can constitute adversity. Given the importance of place as a social determinant of health, rural communities can have a notable impact on the positive development of adolescent identity and well-being of the youth that reside within them. Drawing on the concept of social ecological resilience which draws attention to the importance of environments and relationships to support development, this project engaged with high school aged adolescents (14 to 18 years old) from Haliburton County in Central Ontario. Leveraging mixed model methods, the project featured both quantitative and qualitative approaches. There were 63 participants (33 male, 28 female and 2 non-binary) for the quantitative phase of the research which made use of the Child and Youth Resilience Measure survey instrument. The second phase of the research was qualitative and featured 14 participants who engaged in six focus groups. The focus groups provided context specific awareness of place-based factors which participants found supportive in their development. The results indicated that while the overall resilience scores for the community were lower than the national average (t(62) = 3.20, p <0.01), some study participants found the community to be resilience bolstering. Specifically, participants recognized the importance of supportive people, an awareness of an enriched sense of community, and a powerful sense of the value of nature and the outdoors to be the most significant aspects for the development of their resilience. The results indicate that rural youth are not naïve to the complexity of their circumstances but are able to use their rural contexts to develop the capacity to negotiate and navigate towards healthy identities and well-being. Author Keywords: Adolescent, Place-based, Resilience, Rural, Social Ecological, Youth
Securitization, Borders, and the Canadian North
Canada takes a national approach to border management. While this ensures that security practices are consistent across the country, it also fails to consider that different regions in Canada may have their own border needs. This dissertation, therefore, seeks to determine if border management priorities in Northern Canada are the same as in Southern Canada, along the 49th parallel. To make this determination, three sets of federal government documents are analyzed. First, documents associated with the current Beyond the Border Action Plan are explored to better understand security priorities and if regions are considered. Next, documents that are associated with Northern security and regional governance are analyzed in order to illuminate regional security issues and determine where borders fit within this narrative. The final set of documents to be examined are Senate reports on Northern security, as they can provide a glimpse into how regional security agendas are set. Grounded theory is used to illicit key themes from all documents and political discourse analysis is applied to the Senate reports to assess the strength of securitizing arguments for the region. Securitization theory and the Copenhagen School’s five security sectors are used to frame the analysis. This approach allows for a more comprehensive understanding of the region’s security priorities and the extent of the interplay between the sectors. The concept of regional security complexes is also addressed to determine the extent to which bilateral border cooperation exists in the North. Analysis reveals that border security priorities are not the same in the North as they are in the South. For example, in the North, greater emphasis is placed on protecting maritime borders, whereas in the South, land and air borders are prioritized. Beyond the Border aligns more closely with the needs of the Southern border, thus leaving a policy and security gap in the North. Bilateral border and security cooperation are also much more prevalent in the South than in the North. This research concludes with three policy suggestions to close this gap and addresses the extent to which it is in Canada’s interest to work more closely with the United States in the North. Author Keywords: Arctic, Borders, Canada, Policy, Regions, Securitization theory
From Toronto to Africville
How can educators use drama to nurture an ability in their students to identify and challenge the discourses and practices that have historically perpetuated oppression and inequality within Canada — without miring them in those narratives of oppression? This dissertation discusses the work of De-Railed, a theatre group that worked with youth in Hamilton Rapids, a Toronto neighbourhood where a high percentage of residents experience racial discrimination and poverty, to create a play about the destruction of Africville, a historically Black community in Halifax, NS. Drawing from the methodologies of critical, performance, and imaginative ethnography; critical multiculturalism; theatre of the oppressed; and feminist critical pedagogy, this dissertation argues that while participants used the fictional and intersubjective nature of drama to express embodied and affective resistance to class- and race-based oppressions in Canada’s past and present, the play-building process also reproduced certain unequal disciplinary structures that De-Railed was attempting to challenge. Emphasizing the importance of creating space for young people’s expressions of negative affect and emotion, this dissertation considers both the potentialities and limitations of De-Railed’s application of theatre of the oppressed methods in enabling participants to engage in affective expressions of resistance that may not have been permissible or available in other areas of their lives. Author Keywords: Africville, feminist critical pedagogy, forum theatre, multiculturalism, performance ethnography, theatre of the oppressed
Colonialism, Capitalism, and the Rise of State Schooling in British Columbia, 1849-1900
This dissertation examines the historical relationship between settler colonialism, capitalism, and the rise of state schooling in what is now known as British Columbia between 1849 and 1900. It aims to “unsettle” conventional views of Canadian schooling history by bringing accounts of Indigenous and non-Indigenous education into one analytical frame, and it shows how the state used different forms of schooling for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous children—company, common, public, mission, day, boarding, and industrial schools—to assist colonial-capitalist social formation in the Pacific Northwest. In combining interdisciplinary insights from Indigenous studies, historical materialism, political economy, and critical pedagogy, the dissertation highlights the ways in which state-supported schooling facilitated capitalist accumulation by colonial dispossession. The central argument of the dissertation is that between 1849 and 1900, colonial, provincial, and federal governments strategically took on greater responsibility for schooling as a way of legitimizing the state and supporting the emergence of a capitalist settler society. Author Keywords: Capitalism, Education, Indian Residential Schools, Indigenous Peoples, Settler Colonialism, Violence
Union Organizing in the Canadian Banking Industry, 1940–1980
In this dissertation, I examine union organizing in the Canadian banking industry between 1940 and 1980. By demonstrating that bank workers consistently sought to unionize throughout the twentieth century, I challenge claims that bank employees and other private sector white-collar workers have low rates of unionization because they are not interested in unions or suffer from false consciousness. This research also suggests, however, that many bank workers saw themselves as different from blue-collar industrial workers; the lived reality of bank work as precarious, poorly paid, and rife with gender inequality intersected with ideas about professionalism and aspirations of advancing up the career ladder. Banks, unions, and workers drew on these ideas and experiences in their arguments for and against unionization. I also look at why previous organizing efforts did not establish a strong union presence in the banking industry. Most of these attempts failed, I argue, due to several key issues, including the banks’ anti-union activity, federal and provincial labour board decisions, and labour movement disputes over ideology, jurisdiction, and strategy. The banks consistently opposed unionization and used a variety of tactics to thwart union organizing, both overtly and covertly. The state, in the form of labour legislation and labour boards, provided unions and workers with some means by which to compel the banks to recognize unions, negotiate contracts, and deal with employee grievances; however, state action and inaction more often worked to undermine union organizing. The attitudes and strategies of high-ranking labour movement officials also shaped the outcome of union drives in the banks. Between 1940 and 1980, the mostly male labour leadership repeatedly used top-down organizing strategies and appointed male organizers with no experience of bank work to oversee union drives in a sector with an increasingly feminized workforce; labour leaders’ inability or unwillingness to reflect on this approach and to support grassroots campaigns and alternative strategies hindered bank union organizing. I thus highlight the intersection of gender and class and reveal how these factors have historically shaped the labour movement bureaucracy, union organizing, and the relationship between labour and the state. Author Keywords: banks, gender, labour bureaucracy, trade unions, union organizing, white-collar workers
Pursuing Different Policy Paths in Long-Term Care
Because federal funding for long-term care was not included as part of Canada's publicly-funded universal health care system, provincial governments have been free to determine how much, or how little, they will rely on the for-profit sector to meet the long-term care needs of their senior populations. The proportion of beds in the for-profit sector differs in each province, demonstrating that policy approaches to this type of care have developed according to distinct provincial political contexts. In this dissertation I explain why governments in two provinces, Manitoba and Ontario, have come to rely on the proprietary sector to markedly different degrees. While in the federation Manitoba stands out for its restrained reliance on this form of care, Ontario stands out for its exceptional dependence on commercial provision. In the chapters that follow I employ an historical institutionalist framework of analysis to explain why these neighbouring provinces initially pursued different policy paths in long-term care and how these paths have been sustained over time. Following an introductory chapter in which I explain the reasons for the marginalization of long-term care within national health policy making, I provide in-depth analysis of these case studies in policy divergence. I argue that contemporary policy differences between these neighbouring provinces cannot be understood in isolation from long-term historical processes. Focusing largely on the period from the 1960s to the 1990s, I emphasize that present differences in ownership are a reflection of the different constellation of actors, events, ideas and institutions that came together at critical junctures in time, and the lasting legacies that these early windows of opportunity for reform have had on subsequent rounds of long-term care policy-making. In each province, diverging ideas about the appropriate role of the for-profit sector in meeting the long-term care needs of an aging population rose to prominence on the political agenda. Over time, rigidities developed in each system, making it difficult for actors advocating for new directions in ownership to realize their ambitions. In both provinces policies put in place at earlier times greatly influenced future political dynamics, altered the guiding principles of government departments and policy makers, provided incentives for different interest group formations, and led to contrasting public expectations about the proper balance of the for-profit and non-profit sectors in long-term care provision. I conclude this dissertation by arguing that its findings can contribute in important ways to present discussions about long-term care reform in Canada generally and about the future role of for-profit providers specifically. Author Keywords: Comparative Politics, Health Policy, Historical Institutionalism, Long-Term Care, Path Dependency, Provincial Politics
Rewiring the State
ABSTRACT Rewiring the State: The Privatization of Information Technology in the Ontario Public Service (1972-2003) David Rapaport Senior managers in the Ontario Public Service (OPS) and neo-liberal public policy advocates rationalize the privatization of Information Technology (IT) as an organizational quest for new efficiencies, specifically efficiencies imported from market economies. The findings of the research for this study indicate that IT privatization frequently results in inefficiencies, dependencies and a loss of core skills. The explanation for widespread IT privatization must be sought elsewhere. This study researches and depicts two related IT developments. The first development is the evolution of IT privatization from the earlier practice of body-shopping, i.e. the hiring on contract of IT consultants to the more complex public private partnership. This evolution is a reflection of the maturation of privatization. Body-shopping informs the alienation of IT skills from the public sector, the shaping of a labour hierarchy based on skills distribution, and the foundation for the public-private partnership. The second development, the evolution of OPS management attitudes towards IT privatization, is a reflection of growing neo-liberal hegemony. Archival research indicates middle management disdain towards excessive IT privatization in the early 1980's; particularly its high costs, loss of skills and growing dependency on external private sources. By the ii late 1990's, parliamentary committee transcripts indicate IT management acceptance of more excessive IT privatization. As neo-liberal practice became more accepted and as governments and central ministries pressured line ministries through budgetary and organizational controls, IT managers accepted their new roles as authors of RFP's and tenders of public sector work. The IT service providing industry gladly bid on contracts and acquired the new skills required for future IT projects, exacerbating the provision/dependency cycle. Furthermore, the new technologies provided an ideological smokescreen of technological necessity to conceal the market forces that promoted and benefitted from IT privatization. "Why do managers in the Ontario Public Service privatize the production of Information Technology systems?" The dissertation has two tasks when answering this central question. First, it must refute the efficiency arguments. Second, it must formulate an answer within the context of neo-liberal state transformation, new investment strategies of IT service providing corporations and a restructured IT labour hierarchy. Author Keywords: neo-liberalism, New Public Management, Ontario, privatization, public private partnership, public sector

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