Graduate Theses & Dissertations

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Landscape and its Discontents - Art and Ruins, a Critical Topography in Word and Image
From Altdorfer and Poussin to Cézanne, Monet and to the Group of Seven, landscape has been a focal point of artistic inspiration for most of what we think of as modern art history. In contemporary times the concept and representation of landscape has shifted from visions of an idealized and exalted place to notions of the landscape as a ruins and site of ecological disaster. Because of this seismic inversion, artists are no longer solely making visual the beauty and serenity of nature but are rather finding novel ways of problematizing it and incorporating themes of its eventual disappearance, its inescapable transformation into ruins. The following dissertation puts forward a critical topographical study of three sites and three different artists who deal with this new found relationship to landscape. The three landscapes are located in different parts of the world and from different artistic contexts yet showing that they retain an aesthetic and conceptual character that links them together is part of the work of the dissertation. The first site is El Sol del Membrillo, a film by Víctor Erice in which the filmmaker chronicles painter Antonio Lopez García’s attempts to paint the ephemeral, he attempts to paint that which is in the act of disappearing. The second site is The Mill St Cemetery in Cambridge, England where artist Gordon Young has contributed a work of public art titled Bird Stones that blurs the line between landscape, sculpture, monument and artwork. The third and final site is Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto, Canada that presents itself as an ecology park of retrieval, recovery and as a public art space. My investigation of this last regional research site is offered both as a chapter and as a videography about wilderness as wasteland. Author Keywords: Aesthetics, Anthropocene, Art, Cinema, El Sol del Membrillo, Toronto: The Leslie Spit
Food insecurity among racialized international students
The notion that food insecurity only occurs in the absence of food is prevalent in society. This perception is too narrow and insufficient to capture the diverse manifestations and experiences of food insecurity. In this thesis, I adopt a more expansive approach to examine food (in)security through the lenses of adequacy, quality, and availability of culturally relevant food. I look specifically at the experiences of racialized international students from diverse backgrounds, to empirically ground this approach to understanding food (in)security. Drawing on both quantitative and qualitative data, this study explores the perceptions and real-life experiences of racialized international students who study at Trent University and University of Toronto. These two institutions were selected based on cultural diversity and variation, proximity to culturally appropriate food and the cost involved in accessing culturally appropriate food. Beyond that, I examine structural and policy elements that may be exacerbating the challenge of food security among this category of students. Clearly, issues related to food insecurity and hunger within all spatial configurations are urgent, however, there is a scarcity of literature that zeroes in on the experiences of racialized international students specifically. In the wake of the dramatic internationalization of post-secondary Canadian schools, issues of foreign students’ welfare cannot be overlooked, hence, I narrowed my research lenses to study the character of racialized international students’ inadequate access to culturally appropriate food. Upon analyzing the survey data gathered from 107 racialized international students coupled with semi-structured in-depth interviews with 8 racialized students, I found evidence that culturally appropriate foodstuffs were not abundant in supply for racialized international students. Consequently, the low supply of this category of foodstuffs translates into higher levels of prices which deter racialized international students from making adequate purchases to meet their taste and preference. As part of the findings, the students mentioned that the high cost of tuition, as well as other school-related expenditures are structural policy barriers that leave them with meagre amounts of income to spend on culturally appropriate food items. Under such circumstances, racialized international students are left with the option of purchasing fewer quantities of culturally relevant foodstuffs that meet their daily nutritional requirements. The study further revealed that the challenge of food insecurity poses a threat to the academic achievement and psycho-social well-being of affected students. In addressing these challenges, I propose that the government as well as the school authorities should consider reducing the tuition fees to lessen the financial burden on students. Apart from that, stocking grocery stores and creating culturally appropriate food supply centers in and around school campuses may be helpful. Also, the international offices of universities should intensify welfare programs that entail periodic needs assessment of international students. This will offer the school authorities timely support services to students as and when it is needed. In conclusion, I wish to state that this study seeks to add to the recently growing strand of literature that examines the intersectionality between internationalization of post-secondary schools and food insecurity. The findings provide important and preliminary evidence underpinning the experiences of racialized international students with the phenomenon of food insecurity, thereby providing a point of departure for additional research on the broader nature of intersections between food insecurity and racialization. Author Keywords: Canada, Culture, Food insecurity, International Students, Race, Universities
Using the Same Language, but Meaning Different Things
Two dominant narratives emerging throughout the war were the national narrative––that is, the narrative of the war as articulated by the British nation via texts such as political speeches, recruitment posters, and popular music–– and the poetic narrative––that is, the narrative of the war emerging from poets, specifically battlefront poets for the sake of this thesis. One hundred years since World War One, these two narratives are often conceptualized as mutually exclusive, even antithetical to one another. This thesis brings these diverse narratives into conversation with one another by investigating how they both draw on the same rhetorics and yet use these rhetorics to differing ends. Interestingly, the rhetorics employed by both narratives throughout the war endure in contemporary remembrance practices in Britain today. By investigating how each narrative draws on and employs the same rhetorics, this thesis both contextualizes and complexifies contemporary interpretations of contemporary remembrance practices. Author Keywords: Battlefront Poetry , Britain, Narrative, Remembrance, Rhetoric, World War One
Prescription Drugs
Medication used to treat human illness is one of the greatest developments in human history. In Canada, prescription drugs have been developed and made available to treat a wide variety of illnesses, from infections to heart disease and so on. Records of prescription drug fulfillment at coarse Canadian geographic scales were obtained from Health Canada in order to track the use of these drugs by the Canadian population. The obtained prescription drug fulfillment records were in a variety of inconsistent formats, including a large selection of years for which only paper tabular records were available (hard copies). In this work, we organize, digitize, proof and synthesize the full available data set of prescription drug records, from paper to final database. Extensive quality control was performed on the data before use. This data was then analyzed for temporal and spatial changes in prescription drug use across Canada from 1990-2013. In addition, one of major research areas in environmental epidemiological studies is the study of population health risk associated with exposure to ambient air pollution. Prescription drugs can moderate public health risk, by reducing the drug user's physiological symptoms and preventing acute health effects (e.g., strokes, heart attacks, etc.). The cleaned prescription drug data was considered in the context of a common model to examine its influence on the association between air pollution exposure and various health outcomes. Since, prescription drug data were available only at the provincial level, a Bayesian hierarchical model was employed to include the prescription drugs as a covariate at regional level, which were then combined to estimate the association at national level. Although further investigations are required, the study results suggest that the prescription drugs influenced the air pollution related public health risk. Author Keywords: Data, Error checking, Population health, Prescriptions
Developing Social-Emotional Competencies in Youth
Trait Emotional Intelligence (TEI) plays an important role in the health and wellness of children and adolescents. Not surprisingly, the literature on TEI and youth has expanded dramatically. Although the quality of this work continues to be uneven due to the continued proliferation of TEI-related measures with questionable psychometric features. One over-looked TEI measure in the field is the short form developed for the Emotional Quotient Inventory Youth Version (EQ-i:YV-S). The core goal of Study 1 was to examine the overall reliability and validity of the EQ-i:YV-S. The aim of Study 2 was to evaluate the utility of the EQ-i:YV-S as a measure of the effectiveness of a new school-based social and emotional learning program for elementary school students. Results from Study 1 demonstrated that the EQ-i:YV-S had good internal reliability, 6-month test-retest reliability, and convergent validity. Study 2 found that Total EI and most key EI-related dimensions had significant improvement from pretest to post test on the EQ-i:YV-S. These findings have important implications for TEI measurement in youth and the effectiveness of school-based psychoeducational programming for TEI, with the EQ-i:YV-S as a viable option for research in this area. Author Keywords: emotional intelligence, psychoeducational programming, social-emotional competencies
Wetland Offsetting
Wetland loss in southern Ontario, escalated by development, is putting pressure on planners as they struggle to meet development needs while maintaining a balance with regional natural heritage. Wetland offsetting, coupled with strategic environmental assessment and sustainable community planning, offers a potential solution. A combined approach of literature review, interviews, focus group, and case study with Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority (CLOCA) allowed me to present experiences and perspectives on wetland offsetting, site selection methods, and ecosystem service priorities. The focus group looked at organizational interactions and decision-making processes during wetland offsetting. Research resulted in creation of the Strategic Wetland Offset Site Selection Score Card (SWOSSS Card). Five of CLOCA’s past offsetting projects were reviewed to see what worked and what did not. Findings determined that use of strategic wetland offset site selection tools have the potential to provide an efficient means to quantify offsetting risk ahead of restoration efforts. Author Keywords: compensation, landuse planning, offsetting, prioritization, restoration, wetlands
Rethinking Subjectivity
The following thesis problematizes different theories of subject formation in relation to morality, accountability, and consciousness raising. Focusing on the conditions subjects emerge in, I argue that socially transformative subjectivities emerge in movement through spaces. The theoretical discussion departs from the premise that morally accountable subjectivities drive social change. The politics of positionality that anchor the subject in a particular social location conceptualize morality as the result of critical consciousness raising. The causal nature of the relationship between the subject’s ability to reflect back on itself and its moral capacity is problematic for it leaves the reflective subject in a position of epistemic and moral authority. Rather, a subject who does not fully know itself nor the conditions of its being has the ability to engage in moral inquiry. Grounding subject formation in epistemic uncertainty construes the subject as inherently accountable to other unknowing subjects. Transformative subjectivities emerge out of epistemic resistance and uncertainty. The particular understanding of morality that underlies the rethinking of my moral subject emanates from its relational constitution. A morality of care prioritizes the responsibilities a subject has to others. In the context of Covid-19, relational subjects act in accordance with a morality of care that leads them to intervene in the lives of others who are threatened by the virus and left unprotected by institutional structures. The desire to interfere is cultivated when subjects emerge in ontological fields generated through epistemic intervention. One way to create such interventions is through counter-hegemonic cultural production such as works of art. Author Keywords:
Individual Differences in Human Tolerance for Wildlife and The Role of Nature Relatedness
Human-wildlife interactions are inevitable and lead to decisions about wildlife. The current research investigated what demographic and psychological factors influence decisions in wildlife management. Also, a new measure, the Tolerance for Wildlife Scale, was developed. A student sample (n = 329) and a community sample (n = 213) completed measures on their nature relatedness, environmental concern, and emotions towards wildlife. They completed the Tolerance for Wildlife Scale and rated decisions to use lethal or non-lethal action in nine human-wildlife scenarios. Correlation analyses revealed people who are more tolerant towards wildlife are more connected with nature, concerned for the environment, feel positive emotions towards wildlife, and are more likely to choose non-lethal management actions. ANOVAs revealed that location and occupation have an impact on tolerance for wildlife. By identifying factors that influence tolerance for wildlife, humans can hope to share space with wildlife and foster coexistence. Author Keywords: emotion, environmental concern, nature relatedness, tolerance, wildlife, wolves
Evidence of an Interaction Between Memory Stores for Long-Term Context Fear Memory in the Rat
Memories which typically require the hippocampus (HPC) can become represented in structures outside of the HPC, and therefore resistant to HPC damage, but, the properties of these memories are poorly understood. Some research has suggested that the HPC continually contributes to memories that are resistant to hippocampal damage, and without this support, they are weaker and more susceptible to loss. However, this hypothesis has yet to be tested experimentally. We examined this possibility in rats by assessing decay and extinction of a context fear memory that had become independent of the HPC via repeated learning episodes. We found that HPC-independent context fear memories decay and extinguish faster without continued HPC support, suggesting that the HPC plays a continued role in long-term memory. We also provide new evidence of a persistent interaction between the HPC and other memory systems, which strengthens non-HPC representations so that they withstand HPC damage at longer intervals. Author Keywords: consolidation, context fear, hippocampus, memory, retrograde amnesia
Desire to be Zine
This thesis explores access to feminist zine culture and community, specifically if, and how, access has been altered in the age of digital technologies and increased access to digital spaces. Results from a questionnaire completed by 8 young feminist zine-makers and readers of marginalized genders indicated that though the modern boundaries of what a zine is has been expanded to include e-zines, there remains a preference toward print zines in zine-making and reading practices. Results also revealed that while there is a preference toward accessing feminist zine culture and community in-person in theory, participants were more likely to access feminist zine culture and community online in reality. This project found that digital technologies and the Internet have affected feminist zine culture in multiple ways, ranging from the Internet creating a new access points to community, to the Internet making it easier to find, purchase, and distribute zines. Author Keywords: Digital Media, Feminism, Feminist Zine Culture, Feminist Zines, Materiality, Print Media
Peers, Props & Play
This study examined the relation between complexity of pretend play during preschool and early academic skills two years later. Preschool children (n =19), aged 3 years, were observed during self-directed free play, which was then coded for complexity of symbolic thought with respect to symbolic agent (ability to direct self or other’s play) and symbolic substitution (abstractness of props). Children’s literacy and numeracy skills were assessed concurrently and two years later when children were 5 years old. We found that children who directed others' play compared to children who focused on their own play had higher mathematics achievement at 5 years. In addition, children who engaged in more complex object substitutions (abstract props) had better counting at 3 years and better early reading skills at 5 years than their peers, who showed few complex substitutions. Our findings suggest that encouraging specific aspects of pretend play in preschool could be a relatively simple way to promote early academic achievement. Author Keywords: Math , Play complexity, Preschool , Pretend Play, Reading
An assessment of the determinants of, or barriers to, successful municipal food waste management systems
Food waste (FW) disposal has negative implications for the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of communities. While some municipalities in Canada have made improvements to their FW management, others have not been successful. Considering the complexity of the issues integrated into municipal FW management (MFWM), a mixed methodological approach was used to understand the determinants of, or barriers to, successful MFWM systems. Methods included analysis of primary data from a household survey with a fixed response and open-ended questions, along with analysis of the secondary literature. A comparative analysis of the results was undertaken to determine similarities and differences between successful and less successful cases (Guelph and London, Ontario, respectively) and the broader empirical literature. The results suggest the success of MFWM is determined by the commitment of political decision-makers to implement FW policies backed by adequate regulations, high levels of perceived behavioural control over barriers to participating in MFWM programs, and the ability to finance user-friendly MFWM infrastructure. Recommendations are made to guide policies and programming on food waste management. Author Keywords: Components of Waste management System , Composting, Determinants of Success, Food Waste Reduction, Households Food Waste Behaviour, Municipal Food Waste Management System

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Format: 2024/03/01