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
"Society Doesn't Exist"
This thesis attempts to provide a psychoanalytic discussion of the institution of paternal authority and its crisis in modernity within a theoretical and literary-historical framework. It proceeds from the psychoanalytic view that far from liberating the subject, the decline of the father’s function generates new inhibitions and complexes, and illustrates this with examples from literature, history, and politics. It reads the Freudian Oedipal Father and Lacanian Name-of-the-Father both as symptoms, serving as means of avoiding the libidinal deadlock evoked by the absence of paternal authority. It employs a particular literature on the absurd represented in the works of Franz Kafka’s The Trial and Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar’s The Time Regulation Institute in order to explore the inconspicuous effects of this deadlock within the politics of nationalism in modern European and Turkish history. While it approaches Kafka’s The Trial as a prophetic text that anticipates the Nazi totalitarian state of the coming decade in its unique fictionalization of the failure of the paternal metaphor, or the Name-of-the-Father, it detects in Tanpınar’s The Time Regulation Institute traces of the trauma of Turkish modernization perceived as a half-hearted patricide which is commonly construed in Oedipal terms. Author Keywords: Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, Franz Kafka, Oedipus complex, paternity crisis, psychoanalysis, turkish literature
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
maskihkîyâtayôhkêwina; mashkikiiwaadizookewin
maskihkîyâtayôhkêwina- mashkikiiwaadizookewin: Cree and Anishnaabe Narrative Medicine in the Renewal of Ancestral Literature Jud Sojourn This work represents an experiment in developing Cree and Anishnaabe nation-specific approaches to understanding Cree and Anishnaabe texts. The binding premise that guides this work has to do with narrative medicine, the concept that narrative arts, whether ancestral storytelling or current poetry have medicine, or the ability to heal and empower individuals and communities. As âtayôhkêwin in Cree and aadizookewin in Anishnaabemowin refer to ancestral traditional narratives, and while maskihkiy in Cree, and mashkiki in Anishnaabemowin refer to medicine, maskihkîyâtayôhkêwina and mashkikiiwaadizookewin mean simply `narrative medicine' in Cree and Anishnaabemowin respectively. After establishing a formative sense for what narrative medicine is, this work continues by looking at the bilingual Ojibwa Texts (1917, 1919) transcribed by William Jones in 1903-1905 on the north shore of Lake Superior and in northern Minnesota Anishnaabe communities, those spoken by Anishnaabe community members Gaagigebinesiikwe, Gaagigebinesii, Midaasookanzh, Maajiigaaboo, and Waasaagooneshkang. Then focus then turns to the bilingual Plains Cree Texts (1934) transcribed by Leonard Bloomfield at the Sweet Grass Reserve in Saskatchewan and spoken by Cree community members nâhnamiskwêkâpaw, sâkêwêw, cicikwayaw, kâ-kîsikaw pîhtokêw , nakwêsis, mimikwâs, and kâ-wîhkaskosahk. The themes that emerge from looking at these texts when combined with an appreciation for the poetics of the Cree and Anishnaabe languages provide the foundation for looking at newer poetry including the work of Cree poet Skydancer Louise Bernice Halfe, centering on the contemporary epic prayer-poem The Crooked Good (2007) and the works of Anishnaabe poet Marie Annharte Baker, focusing on Exercises in Lip Pointing (2003). Each poet emerged as having an understanding her own role in her respective nation as renewing the narrative practices of previous generations. Understandings of the shape or signature of each of the four works' unique kind of narrative medicine come from looking at themes that run throughout. In each of the four works the maskihkîyâtayôhkêwina - mashkikiiwaadizookewin, the narrative medicine they express occurs through or results in mamaandaawiziwin in Anishnaabemowin or mamâhtâwisiwin, in Cree - the embodied experience of expansive relationality. Keywords: Cree, Anishnaabe, nêhiyawêwin, Anishnaabemowin, narrative medicine, traditional stories, poetics, poetry, literary criticism, literary nationalism, Indigenous, indigenist. Author Keywords: Anishnaabe, Anishnaabemowin, Cree, Indigenous, nêhiyawêwin, Poetics
Archaeology of Vagabondage
My research examines the figure of the 'vagabond' as a case study to illustrate how 'modern' perception of the 'vagabond' has depleted the diversities in its 'pre-modern' counterparts. It argues that the paranoia towards the 'vagabond' was inherited from the west out of the colonial contact leading to the birth of the nation-state and its liaison with 'instrumental rationality' during the high noon of advanced industrial capitalism, while (quasi-religious) itinerancy, on the contrary, had always been tolerated in 'pre-modern' India. The problems I am addressing are: What is the line of thread that separates the 'traveler' from the 'vagabond', the 'explorer' from the 'wanderer'? How do we then politically account for the historic 'ruptures' in the vagabond having been tolerated in the ancient 'Indic' thought [cf. Manusmriti, Arthshastra], encouraged in early Buddhist discourse [cf. Samannaphala Sutta], revered as the 'holy Other' in the Middle Ages [cf. Bhakti-Sufi literature], and eventually marginalized in the 'modern'? While considering issues of cultural differences, my thesis points to how the epistemic shifts from the classical to the medieval, from the medieval to the modern radically alter the value system immanent in the figure of the 'vagabond'. The research argues that the cultural baggage that the expression 'vagabond' is generally associated with, is a product of a specific western/utilitarian value system, which is a distinct 'cultural' category of the 'modern' west that had no resonance in 'pre- modern' India, and hence cannot be necessarily universalizable. The project works in a number of registers: historical, archival, cultural, philosophical and representational, involves analysis of literary, filmic texts, also legislative documents, and is genuinely interdisciplinary in nature. As of discourse analysis, the project studies the politics of cultural representations both of and by 'vagabonds'. Author Keywords: 1943 Bengal Famine, Homelessness, India, Vagabond, Vagrancy, Vagrancy Act
Transcendental Turn
This dissertation traces the concept of transcendentalism from Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (1781) to Michel Foucault's historical a priori and Pierre Bourdieu's field and habitus, with implicit reference to Deleuze's `transcendental empiricism,' and the influence this trajectory has had on contemporary theory and culture. This general conceptual framework is used as the basis for a critical analysis of a series of examples taken from popular culture to highlight their transcendental conditions of possibility and the influence this conceptual paradigm has had on today's theory. The examples include the NFL `concussion crisis,' South Park's problematization of the discourse surrounding it, as well as the literature of Charles Bukowski, as an exemplification of an immanent writer-written situation. It is further suggested that, not only is transcendentalism an epistemological framework for thought, but it also doubles as an ontological principle for the emergence of a constitutively incomplete and unfinished reality. Author Keywords: Bukowski, Concussion, Foucault, Kant, South Park, transcendental

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