Graduate Theses & Dissertations


Religion, Wilberforce’s Evangelicalism, and the Memoirs of Common British Soldiers, 1811-1863
This thesis examines low-ranking British soldiers’ memoirs in the nineteenth century to determine the extent to which they identified with Christianity and how their expressions of faith differed from each other. Using twelve narratives published between 1811–1863, it finds that all of these soldiers identified themselves with Protestant Christianity and, more importantly, considered irreligion an evil which could not be justified by any decent British citizen. Furthermore, it argues that soldiers’ identity construction was largely determined by the degree of depth of their religious understanding. It uses the work of William Wilberforce to contextualize these soldiers’ expressions of faith and demonstrates how military writing can be more fully understood as representing a spectrum between nominal Christianity and real or true Christianity. This project strives to demonstrate that the religiosity of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain has a significant impact upon our understanding of their time. Author Keywords: Britain, Christianity, memoirs, Military, soldiers, William Wilberforce
Remembering the "Home" through YouTube Cooking Videos
This thesis examines how food, culture and identity are linked to the idea of "home." Through a reading of oral narratives produced on the YouTube channel "ShowMetheCurry," I investigate how presenters Anuja and Hetal "write back" from a diasporic space in Texas, to the YouTube global public, and how food and cuisine, even in the age of globalization can be problematic in terms of representation of identities, work and space. I explore how the YouTube videos operate as a heterotopia, as what is presented to the audience in this medium is an embedding of spaces. The space that is projected through "ShowMetheCurry," that of Anuja and Hetal's own home kitchen, is then projected and viewed within the audiences' own spaces, in various locations around the world. What connects these spaces is an interest in cooking, and a longing to satiate culinary nostalgia. Author Keywords: Affect, Culinary nostalgia, Discourse analysis, Food culture, South Asian Diaspora, YouTube
Rendering New Insights
The Upper Paleolithic sequence at Vale Boi, Portugal, represents an early example of resource intensification, for which evidence of both diet diversification and intensified utilization of faunal remains has been published. The current research project tests the hypothesis that bone grease rendering was occurring throughout the Upper Paleolithic sequence at Vale Boi. As there are various issues of equifinality which makes the identification of bone grease rendering challenging, data from experimental bone grease rendering studies were utilized. The resulting analysis demonstrated limited evidence in support of a sustained use of bone grease rendering during the Upper Paleolithic sequence. However, evidence suggested that alternate bone processing activities and discard behaviours may have been occurring at the site. This suggests that the dietary behaviours of the foragers at Vale Boi were more varied than previously hypothesized. Author Keywords: Archaeozoology, Bone Grease Rendering, Faunal Analysis, Iberia, Resource Intensification, Upper Paleolithic
Representation Learning with Restorative Autoencoders for Transfer Learning
Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) have reached human-level performance in numerous tasks in the domain of computer vision. DNNs are efficient for both classification and the more complex task of image segmentation. These networks are typically trained on thousands of images, which are often hand-labelled by domain experts. This bottleneck creates a promising research area: training accurate segmentation networks with fewer labelled samples. This thesis explores effective methods for learning deep representations from unlabelled images. We train a Restorative Autoencoder Network (RAN) to denoise synthetically corrupted images. The weights of the RAN are then fine-tuned on a labelled dataset from the same domain for image segmentation. We use three different segmentation datasets to evaluate our methods. In our experiments, we demonstrate that through our methods, only a fraction of data is required to achieve the same accuracy as a network trained with a large labelled dataset. Author Keywords: deep learning, image segmentation, representation learning, transfer learning
Representations of Aboriginal Health in the Media
The goal of the present study was to explore the overall discourse within media articles regarding Aboriginal health issues. The present research aimed to answer the following questions: What Aboriginal health issues are being discussed in the media? How are Aboriginal health issues being discussed in the media? And, does the media propagate power imbalances between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians? A thematic analysis was conducted, coopting aspects of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) to assess media content. Four CDA devices were used: overlexicalisation, structural oppositions, nominalizations and functional nominations, and concessions and hedging. Results suggest that while there are disparities in health outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians, it is not widely reported in the media. The thematic analysis of 208 articles revealed patterns of stereotypical ideologies and negative framing appearing in media articles, the creation of an us versus them narrative, and themes of out of sight, out of mind, criminalizing Aboriginal Canadians, politicizing health, and access to health services. Author Keywords: Aboriginal Health, Communication, Health, Media, Psychology, Thematic Analysis
Representations of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Canadian Art
This thesis focuses specifically on artistic projects that address violence against indigenous women and uses an interdisciplinary approach to examine their meaning and reception. I argue that the mainstream media has negatively stereotyped missing and murdered indigenous women and that art projects have the ability to reframe their lives to the viewing public. I focus on five case studies of works, including Vigil (2002) by Rebecca Belmore, REDress (2011) by Jamie Black, The Forgotten (2011) by Pamela Masik, Walking With Our Sisters (2013) by Christi Belcourt and Shades of Our Sisters (2017), created by Ryerson University students and produced by Maggie Cywink, Alex Cywink and Joyce Carpenter. Art has the capacity to encourage activism, raise awareness and promote reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous people. Comparisons can be drawn between how the case studies of these art works have framed the lives of missing and murdered women and the dominant media images that have prevailed in Canadian society. Author Keywords: activism, art, Canada, indigenous, missing and murdered indigenous women, symbolism
Reproductive Fitness of Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu) Under Heterogeneous Environmental Conditions
Identifying the biotic and abiotic factors that influence individual reproductive fitness under natural conditions is essential for understanding important aspects of a species’ evolutionary biology and ecology, population dynamics, and life-history evolution. Using next generation sequencing technology, I developed five microsatellite multiplex reactions suitable for conducting large scale parentage analysis of smallmouth bass, Micropterus dolomieu, and used molecular pedigree reconstruction techniques to characterize the genetic mating system and mate selection in adult smallmouth bass nesting in Lake Opeongo, Ontario, Canada. I used multivariate spatial autocorrelation analysis to indirectly infer the occurrence and extent of natal philopatry among spawning adults, to assess the strength and direction of sex-bias in natal dispersal patterns, and to evaluate the degree of nest site fidelity and breeding dispersal of spawning adults. I also evaluated how differences in littoral zone water temperature caused by wind-induced seiche events influence the relative reproductive success of spawning adults. Lastly, I provide a synopsis of potential future research aimed at further exploring factors that influence the reproductive fitness of smallmouth bass in Lake Opeongo. This information will contribute to our understanding of the factors regulating smallmouth bass populations, and provide insight into the factors controlling the variance in individual reproductive success and thus recruitment dynamics in this species. Author Keywords: Dispersal, Fitness, Mate selection, Mating systems, Philopatry
Research and development of synthetic materials for presumptive testing in bloodstain pattern analysis
Chemical presumptive tests are used as the primary detection method for latent bloodstain evidence. This work focuses on developing a forensic blood substitute which mimics whole blood reactivity to a luminol solution commonly used in presumptive testing. Designing safe and accessible materials that mimic relevant properties of blood is a recognized research need in forensic science. Understanding the whole blood dynamics related to reactivity with presumptive testing chemicals is important for developing accurate analogues. Provided in this thesis is a quantitative and qualitative characterization of photoemission from the reaction of a luminol solution to ovine blood. Luminol reactivity of a horseradish peroxidase encapsulated sol-gel polymer was validated against this ovine blood standard. This material, the luminol-reactive forensic blood substitute, is a key deliverable of this research. An optimized protocol for implementing this technology as a reagent control test, and as a secondary school chemistry experiment are presented. This thesis outlines the research and development of a forensic blood substitute as it relates to presumptive testing in bloodstain pattern analysis. Author Keywords: bloodstain pattern analysis, forensic science, luminol, presumptive testing, secondary school education, sol-gel chemistry
Reshaping the Terms of Debate
The Reagan era instigated a fundamentally conservative shift in the political, economic and discursive climate of America. As Ronald Reagan is a highly divisive symbolic figure in American politics, much of the historiography of his presidency has been characterized by polarized interpretations. Over the past decade there has been a noticeable shift towards more favourable and triumphal interpretations of the Reagan era. This thesis seeks to analyze the ideological shifts that have characterized the trajectory of historical writings on the Reagan era. Through employing a careful textual analysis of key works by Michael Schaller, Gil Troy and Sean Wilentz, amongst others, this study demonstrates how historiography serves us less as an objective means of understanding the past and more so as an expanding collective historical artifact that illustrates the changing currents of intellectual and political discourse. In doing so, the notion of scholarly objectivity itself is thrown into question. Author Keywords: Cold War, Conservatism, Historiography, Neoliberalism, Reagan Doctrine, Ronald Reagan
Resistance Revisited
This study examines how student activism around the closure of Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School (PCVS), an inner-city school in a medium–sized Ontario town has influenced youths’ life experiences, views on power, political engagement, and personal agency. Following a critical narrative methodology, this qualitative study, conducted four to five years after the school closure, focuses on interviews with fourteen participants who were part of the high-school group Raiders in Action and explores both what they learned from their protest and its influence on their lives over the ensuing years. The study identifies the researcher’s subjective position as a teacher and an adult in solidarity with the group’s work. Critical pedagogy, critical youth studies, and feminist approaches inform the researcher’s perspective. This project is inspired by an image of young people as citizens who actively challenge and change educational institutions to create a more participatory democracy in our city, country, continent, planet. Author Keywords: critical pedagogy, critical youth resistance, neoliberalism, school closure, student activism, youth organizing
Responses of Primary Producers and Grazers to Silver Nanoparticle Exposure
The increasing production and use of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) raise concerns on environmental exposure and impact. A large scale in situ enclosure study was conducted at the Experimental Lakes Area to determine the effect of AgNPs on natural phytoplankton and zooplankton communities. This study investigated AgNPs of varying concentrations (4, 16 and 64 μg/L), dosing regimens (chronic vs. pulse), and capping agents (poly-vinyl pyrrolidone vs. citrate). Phytoplankton communities were influenced only by the natural limnological properties of the system signifying tolerance to AgNPs. Zooplankton community structure significantly changed with AgNP concentration and dosing regimen indicating AgNP sensitivity. A microcosm study investigating the effect of AgNPs and phosphorus-dosed periphyton before and after grazing by two benthic invertebrate species (snails and caddisfly larvae) showed reduced periphyton stoichiometry with AgNP exposure. Grazers foraged less on silver dosed periphyton indicating a preferential choice in food quality. Phosphorus reduced the detrimental effects of AgNPs across all conditions. These studies verify the need for in situ experimental designs to fully investigate the effects of AgNPs and their interaction with environmental factors, multiple species assemblages, and across trophic levels. Author Keywords: benthic invertebrate, Experimental Lakes Area, periphyton, phytoplankton, silver nanoparticles, zooplankton
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:


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