Graduate Theses & Dissertations

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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
Indigenous Knowledge in Contemporary Public Education
This study provides important perspectives and guidance for educators in Ontario to assist in integrating Indigenous content into public education programs – both in schools and other community educational settings. It explores how Indigenous worldviews provide unique insights for holistic education and learning how to live sustainably in place. The study also focuses on approaches to education, comparing Eurocentric and Indigenous philosophies and pedagogies, as indicators of differing value systems. Through a combination of literature review and personal interviews with eleven influential Indigenous and non-Indigenous educators in the Peterborough area, the study explores the potential for Indigenous perspectives to enhance the wellbeing and personal learning journey of all students, regardless of their backgrounds. The research concludes with recommendations for educators on how to begin integrating Indigenous Knowledge throughout programming in appropriate, respectful ways that celebrate diversity, develop positive relationships and build healthier, more sustainable communities. Author Keywords: Education, Environment, Indigenous Knowledge, Pedagogy, Reconciliation, Worldviews
“It's like getting a new car without the manual”
This study explored teacher infusion of Indigenous curriculum content through interviews with ten non-Indigenous teachers of social studies and history. The interviews centered on teacher perceptions of preparedness to implement Ontario’s recent TRC curriculum revisions, which include more about the contributions, histories, cultures, and perspectives of Indigenous peoples. A brief analysis of Ontario’s First Nation, Métis, and Inuit Education Policy Framework is included, alongside critiques of the Eurocentrism at the heart of education systems. The interviews revealed that many of the teachers were committed to Indigenous education and learning more, but they felt unprepared and lacked resources to teach Indigenous curriculum content with confidence. This study highlighted the critical role of settler teachers in Indigenous education and the importance of teachers undertaking settler unsettling in order to be effective and appropriate in Indigenous curriculum delivery. Individual changes must occur alongside educational system decolonization with a particular focus on teacher preparation. Author Keywords: cognitive imperialism, Indigenous Education, Ontario, settler educator, settler unsettling, TRC curriculum
An Application of Virgilio Enriquez's Indigenization Method on Filipino-Canadian Discourse
In Disturbing Invisibility (Coloma, McElhinny, Tungohan, Catungal, Davidson, 2012), the most comprehensive book on Filipino-Canadian studies to date, issues were identified in the afterword as to how Filipino-Canadian studies relates to indigenous identity. This thesis attempts to address this issue by applying Enriquez’s (1992) Indigenization Method onto Filipino-Canadian discourse. It attempts to do this by: exploring the colonial context and history in the Philippines and its effect on the formation of a Filipino indigenous identity; exploring Filipino indigenous thought as described by Enriquez (1992) in his seminal book From Colonial to Liberation Psychology; understanding Filipinos in Canada with the inclusion of literature from Filipino-American studies and the Filipino Indigenization movement; and how orienting Filipino-Canadian discourse with the indigenous concepts brought forward by Enriquez might look like, with emphasis on how Filipino-Canadian discourse could interact with Indigenous issues relating to Indigenous People in Canada today. It becomes clear that the Filipino Indigenization movement has reached grassroots Filipino organizations in Canada, and that uncritically ignoring their own Filipino indigenous roots would be denying themselves the unique cultural gifts that those roots provide. As being both Filipino and Canadian, Filipino-Canadians who seek to reclaim their indigenous roots would find that the indigenous concept of kapwa (“the self in the other”) would encourage an examination of issues pertaining to Indigenous People in Canada as commonalities exist in their experiences with colonization. Author Keywords: Canada, discourse, Filipino-Canadians, indigenization, indigenous, Philippines
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
Tourism Around Yellowknife
Yellowknife, which began as a gold-mining town in the 1930s, developed into a modern city and the territorial capital. Yellowknife is a popular destination for tourism with yearly growing numbers that reflect aurora viewers, business travel, general touring and visiting friends and relatives. Consequently, tourism in the Yellowknife area is increasing in volume and is of growing economic significance. Municipal and territorial governments actively advance its expansion, with the City’s 2015-2019 Tourism Strategy directed at infrastructure and service enhancement. While diamond tourism, as envisioned in 2004, did not progress, the Indigenous population in the territory is developing and executing community-based tourism plans. Utilizing Grounded Theory, this study demonstrates that governmental and stakeholder support proves dedication and commitment to the local tourism industry for years into the future. Yellowknife and its citizens take firm measures to attract increasing numbers of visitors in recognition of the value of tourism to their community. Author Keywords: Aurora borealis, Diamond industry, Government involvement, Northwest Territories economy, Tourism, Yellowknife
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
Struggling for a New Left
This study examines the emergence of the New Left organization, The New Tendency, in Windsor, Ontario during the 1970s. The New Tendency, which developed in a number of Ontario cities, represents one articulation of the Canadian New Left’s turn towards working-class organizing in the early 1970s after the student movement’s dissolution in the late 1960s. Influenced by dissident Marxist theorists associated with the Johnson-Forest Tendency and Italian workerism, The New Tendency sought to create alternative forms of working-class organizing that existed outside of, and often in direct opposition to, both the mainstream labour movement and Old Left organizations such as the Communist Party and the New Democratic Party. After examining the roots of the organization and the important legacies of class struggle in Windsor, the thesis explores how The New Tendency contributed to working-class self activity on the shop-floor of Windsor’s auto factories and in the community more broadly. However, this New Left mobilization was also hampered by inner-group sectarianism and a rapidly changing economic context. Ultimately, the challenges that coincided with The New Tendency’s emergence in the 1970s led to its dissolution. While short-lived, the history of the Windsor branch of The New Tendency helps provide valuable insight into the trajectory of the Canadian New Left and working-class struggle in the 1970s, highlighting experiences that have too often been overlooked in previous scholarship. Furthermore, this study illustrates the transnational development of New Left ideas and organizations by examining The New Tendency’s close connections to comparable groups active in manufacturing cities in Europe and the United States; such international relationships and exchanges were vital to the evolution of autonomist Marxism around the world. Finally, the Windsor New Tendency’s history is an important case study of the New Left’s attempts to reckon with a transitional moment for global capitalism, as the group’s experiences coincided with the Fordist accord’s death throes and the beginning of neoliberalism’s ascendancy. Author Keywords: Autonomist Marxism, Canada, Labour, New Left, Rank-and-file Organizing, Working-Class History
Reconciliation as Relationship
In 2015, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission called upon Canadians to reconcile relationships between Settlers and Indigenous peoples in Canada. Education for reconciliation is one important element of this process. However, critical questions arise when education is undertaken by and for Settlers such as myself: Are our undertakings actually fostering reconciliation? According to whom? Drawing from reconciliation theory and decolonizing Indigenous methodologies, a reconciliation methodology is created to consider this question in the context of three reconciliation workshops for Settlers. Indigenous perspectives and pedagogies are prioritized. The emerging understandings of reconciliation as relationship and relationship as pedagogy reframe some prevailing Settler thinking about reconciliation, unmask latent assumptions linked to the colonial habits of mind and affirm the need for personal responsibility in the reconciliation relationship. The Indigenous norm of learning in-relation is found to be a powerful experience for Settlers participants offering valuable insights for reconciliation education in Canada. Author Keywords: decolonizing, education, Indigenous, relationship, Settler, Truth and Reconciliation
“At least I can feel like I’ve done my job as a mom”
This study examines the household foodwork of low-income mothers in Peterborough, Ontario and considers how community food initiatives (CFIs) such as community gardens and good food box programs can support these women in their efforts to feed their families adequately. I draw on multiple data sources: interviews with representatives from Peterborough CFIs; interviews with and illustrations by 21 local low-income mothers; debrief sessions following participants’ tours of CFIs; and my ongoing involvement with two local food networks. The mothers’ extensive foodwork considerations, strategies, and struggles reflect an engagement with three main ideals that are placed further out of reach through poverty and food insecurity. Women experienced pressure through these ideals: the “good mother,” to take primary responsibility for their children’s well-being through food; the “good consumer,” to participate in society as individual consumers; and the “good food program participant,” to avoid indications of over-reliance on food programs. Each ideal reflects the neoliberal exaltation of self-sufficiency and its flipside, the vilification of dependence. The research results highlight the need for CFIs to focus on the broader, systemic discursive and material challenges that can hamper the foodwork of all low-income mothers, in addition to addressing the immediate needs of their own participants. Towards this goal, Peterborough CFIs employ principles of universality, social inclusion, democratic processes, and broadening of social imaginaries. In their efforts, CFIs must navigate between cultivating collectivity and interdependence on the one hand, and engaging with this familiar, individualizing neoliberal ethos on the other hand. This study provides insights about the subjectivities of low-income mothers that may be useful for CFI programming as well as more analytic examinations of the role and impact of CFIs. It also reveals the common feminization, devaluation, and under resourcing of the food-related work of both mothers and CFIs. In doing so, the study points to the urgent need for broad dialogue and political action regarding poverty, dependence, caring labour, and the roles of citizens and the state in ensuring that households can adequately feed themselves. Author Keywords: Community Food Initiatives, Community Food Programs, Domestic Labour, Food Insecurity, Gendering of Caring Labour, Household Food Work

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Format: 2020/10/31