Graduate Theses & Dissertations

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Autobiographical Graphics
This thesis examines the work of queer women who author graphic autobiographical texts. Alison Bechdel, Sarah Leavitt, and Elizabeth Beier all employ the graphic medium to narrate their personal experiences with coming out, growing up, and navigating heteronormative spaces as lesbian or bisexual women. By studying the work of these three authors in tandem, this thesis functions to expand the archive of queer life by demonstrating that, even as queer life is made tangible in autobiographical writings, the ephemerality that marks the archives of queer life persists. Using feminist and queer theories, the study of abjection, archival studies, genre studies, and post-structuralist approaches to comics literatures, this thesis examines the body of the text, the body of the archive, and the bodies of the women that are contained within these structures to determine that queer women are creating a new tradition in graphic life writing. Author Keywords: archive, genre, graphic text, lesbian, queer, women
Hibernian Imagination
Artistic expressions such as writing, theatrical productions, music, and film arguably contribute to a culture’s representation of itself to the outside world. Most cultures have been either read or misread through their artistic outputs over the course of history, although the Irish culture stands as a particularly misunderstood one. Through years of colonization and rebel warfare, the country’s culture has acquired a particularly imagined depiction; violent, which through centuries has resulted in a flawed cultural imaginary today. This thesis presents this issue and proposes a means to better understand the Irish culture through a deeper understanding of the factors that have led the country’s cultural imaginary to its current misrepresentative state. Through an exploration of texts, theatre, music, and film, this thesis uncovers the factors which have led to Ireland’s current cultural depiction in hopes of creating a better understanding of the Irish culture. Author Keywords: cultural imaginary, Ireland, Irish culture, Irish stereotypes, public image, stereotypes
Authenticity, Authority and Control
This three-part history explores Web 2.0’s ability to make music products a collaborative, ongoing creative process that is reflective of early twentieth century live-music publics, where the realization of a performance was actualized by performers together with their audience in a shared physical space. By extension, I follow the changing dynamic of the producer/consumer relationship as they transitioned through different media and formats that altered their respective roles in music making. This study considers the role that rock ideology, specifically that of the ‘indie-rock’ habitus, plays in shaping both a rock artist’s desired image and a fan-base’s expectations. How rock musicians use the internet reveals their own views on authenticity in recorded music and the extent to which they are willing to participate in a public with their audience. Primary case studies used are: Neil Young, Dave Bidini, Beck Hansen and Joel Plaskett. Keywords: popular music; indie-rock; Web 2.0; rock music collaboration; fan participation; publics; authenticity; habitus; Neil Young; Dave Bidini; Beck Hansen; Joel Plaskett; Song Reader; Scrappy Happiness; Canadian music Author Keywords: authenticity, fan participation, indie-rock habitus, popular music, rock music collaboration, Web 2.0
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
Women as Gifts and the Triple Hecate Myth in Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida, Antony and Cleopatra, and Cymbeline
ABSTRACT Women as Gifts and the Triple Hecate Myth in Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida, Antony and Cleopatra, and Cymbeline Women are placed into sexual roles by the patriarchal system in which we live. Gayle Rubin terms this a “sex/gender system” and explains that within this system women are exchanged as “gifts” between men to form kinship ties. The sexual roles this system creates are embodied in the “Triple Hecate myth.” Hecate was the goddess of witchcraft in Ancient Greece and was known to have three faces: Maiden, Nymph and Crone. The Maiden is in girlhood and the label is applied to any woman before she becomes sexually active. The Nymph is a sexually active woman who lives within the norms of society. A sexually active woman who lives outside those norms is a Whore. A Crone is a woman who has passed menopause. She is seen as either a wise elder or a wicked stepmother figure. In Shakespeare’s plays Troilus and Cressida, Antony and Cleopatra, and Cymbeline, the female protagonists Cleopatra, Imogen and Cressida are all trying to control their own destinies and rise above or manipulate this patriarchal system of control. These three women are travelling through the “Triple Hecate Myth.” Cleopatra begins a Whore and ends a Nymph, Imogen begins a Maiden and ends a Nymph, and Cressida begins a Maiden and ends a Whore. They each also problematize the “gift” exchange system either by attempting to self-exchange (Cleopatra and Imogen) or by being exchanged multiple times (Cressida). Keywords: William Shakespeare, Triple Hecate Myth, Gift Exchange, Gayle Rubin, Cymbeline, Troilus and Cressida, Antony and Cleopatra, Feminist Criticism, Classical Studies Author Keywords: Antony and Cleopatra, Cymbeline, Gayle Rubin, Shakespeare, Triple Hecate, Troilus and Cressida
Robert Bringhurst and Polyphonic Poetry
Robert Bringhurst states that polyphonic art is a faithful, artistic reflection of the multiplicity of the world’s ecosystems. This ecocritical perspective recognizes that human art informs our understandings of the world, and therefore artists have a moral obligation towards that world. In Chapter One I argue that mimesis should be reclaimed as a useful literary category since all art, regardless of intentions, has an effect on both culture and the natural world. In Chapter Two I argue that by reconnecting publishing craft and philosophy, our books can serve to bring us more in tune with the structures of the natural world. I conclude in Chapter Three by asking how a counterpublic consciousness can be cultivated, and how Bringhurst’s mission of transforming culture might be fully realized. Altogether, this view of literature offers an antidote to Western culture’s destructive tendencies towards the natural world. Author Keywords: Bringhurst, ecocriticism, mimesis, poetry, polyphony, typography
Educating the Passions
My thesis proposes to uncover what I term an Emilian Philosophy in the reading of Emily Brontë’s only novel, and suggests that Wuthering Heights reflects Brontë’s vision of a society progressing toward social and spiritual reform. Through this journey, Brontë seeks to conciliate the two contrasting sides of humanity – natural and social – by offering a middle state that willingly incorporates social law without perverting human nature by forcing it to mold itself into an unnatural social system, which in turn leads to a “wholesome” (Gesunde) humanity. While Heathcliff embodies Bronte’s view of a primitive stage of humanity, Hareton reincarnates the wholesome state of humanity that balances human natural creativity and cravings with Victorian unrelenting reason. Brontë treats Heathcliff’s death as a point in life, in which mankind is emancipated from social constraints and is able to achieve ultimate happiness. This view of death is reassuring as it displaces the anxiety associated with death and separation. My study will highlight the influence of Friedrich Schiller’s, Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Philosophical writings and literary works, as well as the influence of the Franciscan Order in Catholicism and its founder St Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals and environment, in framing Bronte’s philosophy to propose a social and religious reform anchored in nature. Author Keywords: Friedrich Schiller, Jean-Jacque Rousseau, Natural Education, Reincarnation and Reformation, St Francis of Assisi, wholesome (Gesunde) humanity, Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
Student's Bell Tower
The university newspaper is a vital aspect of the university public, as it provides a platform for students to voice their opinions on topics pertaining to the culture of their university and gives students critical information about what is happening on campus. This thesis uses the University of Regina’s The Carillon as a case study to evaluate how university newspapers interact with and influence their publics. In Chapter One, I detail the history of The Carillon, and how the radical atmosphere of the 1960s influenced the newspaper’s growth. In Chapter Two, I explore how The Carillon uses facets of digitality—such as their website, multimedia, and social media—to increase its readership. The chapter examines how these digital platforms reach The Carillon’s publics more efficiently, but still adhere to the traditions established by the newspaper from its inception. Finally, in Chapter Three, I assess the success of university newspapers which have transitioned to a strictly digital presence. For this assessment, I use the University of Alberta’s The Gateway and the University of Prince Edward Island’s The Cadre as case studies, and argue that The Carillon can learn from these digital newspapers to become more effective in using digital media to reach its student public. Altogether, this study of university newspapers offers a guide on how to maintain a balance between materiality and digitality, while also preserving the university newspaper’s legacy and traditions. Author Keywords: Digitality, Journalism, Materiality, Publics, The Carillon, University Newspapers
Flesh Made Real
This thesis examines what the term "transgender narrative" represents at this particular time and location. I do this by examining various methods of transgender storytelling through different forms of media production, including autobiography, film, novels, and online platforms such as Tumblr and YouTube. In chapter one, I look at the production of novels and the value system by which they are judged ("gender capital") in transgender publics and counterpublics. In chapter two, I examine the history of the autobiography, along with the medical history closely associated with transgender identity and bodily transformation. The third chapter examines notions of violence and memorial behind the deaths of transgender people and the ways in which certain political revolutions are formed within a counterpublic. I deconstruct varying notions of identity, authorship, and cultural production and critically examine what it means to be transgender and what it means to tell stories about transgender people. I will conclude with how these stories are being shaped through social media to become more innovative and move away from the rigid value system of gender capital previously mentioned. Author Keywords: autobiography, gender, sex, social media, transgender, transsexual
From Reading to Reality
This thesis explores post-millennial girl fiction, or young adult works published for girls since the turn of the millennium. Writing for girls has been traditionally placed beneath `more serious' literature, within a hierarchal model, while modern works enjoy an iconic status that is the product of cross-media popularity and a wide readership. Criticism has focused on post-millennial girl fiction being unwholesome, poorly written or anti-feminist, examination of the texts reveals personas which girls may use to explore, rebel against and critically examine societal expectations and fears about girlhood. To explore the publishing phenomenon surrounding current girls' fiction I use two sample series: Gossip Girl by Cecily Von Ziegesar and Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. Chapter One contrasts current girl's fiction with texts written about girlhood, followed with an analysis of the good-girl and bad-girl archetypes which are developed within the two groups of texts. I then consider the stylistic and structural elements presented within the fiction and the impact such elements may have on the girl public. In the conclusion, I consider the wider societal impacts of post-millennial girl fiction through social media, extended readership, cross-media influence and the responses of girl readers. Author Keywords: Feminist Criticism, girlhood, Gossip Girl series, public theory, Twilight series, young adult fiction
"Learning to Be Mad, In a Dream"
The Beat Generation shaped, and was shaped by, the post-WWII containment culture that arose in 1950s America. This so-called cultural containment reflected the social, political, and economic factors that were unique to the post-WWII period and are often considered concurrent to post-war McCarthyism, which promoted a national ideology of exclusionism that was foremost opposed to the threat of Communism. I propose in my thesis that containment was a major influence in the rhetoric of resistance that is found within the most prominent works of the Generation. My thesis also looks at the how Beat literature shifted from the counterculture to the mainstream and the impact that celebrity had on the Generation. When the Beats achieved literary fame their counterculture represented the forefront of the New Left and was synonymous with succeeding protest cultures of the 1960s. Author Keywords: Beat Generation, Cold War, Containment Culture, McCarthyism, Postmodernism, Second Wave Feminism
Return to "The Child"
Despite - or perhaps because of - her popularity as a best-selling poet, the work of Mary Oliver has been minimized and marginalized within the academy. Nevertheless, Oliver's readership is an expansive and devout one made up of a wired yet insular North American public in search of reconnecting with the natural world. I propose that through Oliver's poetry readers access the affective, sensory responses to nature first encountered during childhood. This return to "the child" is deliberately used by various publics to share communal goals. Drawing from such frameworks as ecocritical and trauma theory, I explore environmental memory, ecstatic places, and the sensuousness of nature and language to consider ways in which diverse publics claim and use Oliver's work. I provide a close reading of selections of Oliver's poems to argue that her work's appeal speaks to a revived perception of the necessity of nature to the human spirit Author Keywords: Attentiveness, Childhood, Language, Mary Oliver, Nature Poetry, Senses

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