Graduate Theses & Dissertations

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Speaking of Being
The central question of this research is “What is poetry?” The ambiguity and unintelligibility of the question itself forces the writing to take two different approaches to it. The first approach is to define poetry not by what it is but by how it is related to the human being and to the world. Seeing poetry as its relation to Being allows a definition of poetry based on its function. This approach draws on philosophical discussions how poetry is related to the human and how Being can be extended into poetic creation. Martin Heidegger’s move from seeing poetry as the possibility of worldmaking to seeing it as a place of dwelling, and, in his later works, as unconcealment and the extension of Being as the House of Being, marks the direction of philosophical discussions in this paper. In this sense, poetry is defined as a creative possibility, where the speaking being comes in close contact with the speaking things and speaks of being.The second approach is to define poetry not as a whole but as some of its essential parts, as “poetic imagination” for instance. This attempt to define the poetic imagination draws on long-running discussions of imagination, metaphor, metaphorical thinking, image and imaging. It also relies on Freud’s discussions of how dreams function as textual phenomena: the poetic imagination, this approach argues, is similar to dreaming. The poet’s conscious and unconscious engagements with language create an uncanny experience where the relation between object and its poetic image is simultaneously known and unknowable. The third part of this study focuses on Lacan’s move from the symbolic unconscious to the real unconscious, in order to shed light on how the real is related to its linguistic reality. This brings the discussion to a point where language is replaced by lalangue in order to knot the real directly to the symbolic. Author Keywords: poetic creation, poetic imagination, poetry
On Forests, Witness Trees, and Bears
This dissertation is about Forests, their loss and the grieving that arises from their loss. The loss of ancient and old-growth forests by way of clearcutting and or anthropogenically driven disturbances, including climate change, presents the quandary of loss of both biological and cultural diversity. Following Umeek’s/E. Richard Atleo’s term, I suggest that “dis-ease” in the dominant relationship to forests in parts of the Western world significantly rests within inherited cultural and political pasts at play in the present, carried in much of the language and lifeways of modern Anglophone societies today. I do so by a critical topographical exploration of thematic patterns that go back to the Epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest written account of deforestation in the history of Western civilization. I offer at the center of my inquiry a collection of witness trees as North American case studies. Each tree is a witness object, a station from which I confront and explore social-ecological grief as it has accumulated over time from English colonization, with one focusing on Indigenous cultural reclamation and place-based ecological co-management. Lastly, I turn to a multispecies exploration of social-ecological grief, using bears in North America as a face for reflection and consider who and what more is lost when old forests are degraded and gone. By asking the place question—“what place is this?”—of forests, or the Forest Question, my dissertation is thus an exploration of the connection and responsibilities to other place-based human and other-than-human communities in a rapidly changing climate. Author Keywords: critical topography, environmental grief, forests, multispecies, social-ecological relations, witness trees
Green Leadership in the Classroom
Concerns about climate change means that there is an urgent need to understand teachers’ role in educating students about environmental issues and sustainability. However, little is known about teachers’ environmental leadership and how that affects their competencies in the classroom, their general well-being and connections with nature, or what kinds of personality characteristics shape these teachers. A sample of current, future, and past Canadian teachers (N = 260) completed an online survey which included quantitative and qualitative questionnaires. Correlational and regression analyses determined teachers who possess environmental leadership qualities have a greater connection with nature, more positive well-being, and are more confident in their abilities to teach students outdoors. Furthermore, positive personality traits predict teachers’ environmental leadership. Qualitative data revealed both structural and psychological barriers reduced the likelihood of teachers taking students outdoors and that greater support, resources and training are needed to enable teachers to implement more nature-based learning. Author Keywords: competence, environmental leadership, nature relatedness, personality, teachers, well-being
Linking large scale monitoring and spatially explicit capture–recapture models to identify factors shaping large carnivore densities
Understanding the spatial ecology of large carnivores in increasingly complex, multi-use landscapes is critical for effective conservation and management. Complementary to this need are robust monitoring and statistical techniques to understand the effect of bottom-up and top-down processes on wildlife population densities. However, for wide-ranging species, such knowledge is often hindered by difficulties in conducting studies over large spatial extents to fully capture the range of processes influencing populations. This thesis addresses research gaps in the above themes in the context of the American black bear (Ursus americanus) in the multi-use landscape of Ontario, Canada. First, I assess the performance of a widely adopted statistical modelling technique – spatially explicit capture-recapture (SECR) – for estimating densities of large carnivores (Chapter 2). Using simulations, I demonstrate that while SECR models are generally robust to unmodeled spatial and sex-based variation in populations, ignoring high levels of this variation can lead to bias with consequences for management and conservation. In Chapter 3, I investigate fine-scale drivers of black bear population density within study areas and forest regions by applying SECR models to a large-scale, multi-year black bear spatial capture-recapture dataset. To identify more generalizable patterns, in Chapter 4 I then assess patterns of black bear density across the province and within forest regions as a function of coarse landscape-level factors using the same datasets and assess the trade-offs between three different modeling techniques. Environmental variables were important drivers of black bear density across the province, while anthropogenic variables were more important in structuring finer-scale space use within study areas. Within forest regions these variables acted as both bottom-up and top-down processes that were consistent with ecological influences on black bear foods and intensity of human influences on the species’ avoidance of developed habitats. Collectively, this thesis highlights the opportunities and challenges of working across multiple scales and over expansive landscapes within a SECR framework. Specifically, the multi-scale approach of this thesis allows for robust inference of the mechanisms structuring fine and broad scale patterns in black bear densities and offers insight to the relative influence of top-down and bottom-up forces in driving these patterns. Taken together, this thesis provides an approach for monitoring large carnivore population dynamics that can be leveraged for the species conservation and management in increasingly human-modified landscapes. Author Keywords: animal abundance, black bear, capture-recapture, density estimation, statistical ecology, wildlife management
Machine Learning for Aviation Data
This thesis is part of an industry project which collaborates with an aviation technology company on pilot performance assessment. In this project, we propose utilizing the pilots' training data to develop a model that can recognize the pilots' activity patterns for evaluation. The data will present as a time series, representing a pilot's actions during maneuvers. In this thesis, the main contribution is focusing on a multivariate time series dataset, including preprocessing and transformation. The main difficulties in time series classification is the data sequence of the time dimension. In this thesis, I developed an algorithm which formats time series data into equal length data. Three classification and two transformation methods were used. In total, there are six models for comparison. The initial accuracy was 40%. By optimization through resampling, we increased the accuracy to 60%. Author Keywords: Data Mining, K-NN, Machine Learning, Multivariate Time Series Classification, Time Series Forest
Digital Labour and Working From Home
This thesis examines the impact that digital labour and work from home have across different populations. This work is framed with regards to Marxist-feminism and particularly examines the impact of work from home across different genders. To demonstrate the depth and breadth of the impact that work from home has on worker agency, four unique industries are analyzed: office jobs, gig economy, affect labour, and sex work. Additionally, the lens of critical race theory is invoked to highlight the distinct challenges that BIPOC workers face in the transition to digital labour. This thesis would not be contemporary without addressing the COVID-19 pandemic which was occurring during the time of its writing. This thesis uses those established lenses of gender, industry, and race to examine the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the workplace and home (office). Work from home increases the amount of labour that needs to be performed by each worker in exchange for some flexibility and agency in some domains. Author Keywords: Covid-19, Digital Labour, Hybrid, Work from Home
Active layer thermal regime in subarctic wetlands at the southern edge of continuous permafrost in Canada
The fine-scale controls of active layer dynamics in the subarctic at the southern edge of continuous permafrost are currently poorly understood. The goal of this thesis was to understand how environmental conditions associated with upland tundra heath, open graminoid fen, and palsas/peat plateaus affected active layer thermal regime in a subarctic peatland in northern Canada. Indices of active layer thermal regime were derived from in-situ measurements of ground temperature and related to local measurements of air temperature, snow depth, and surface soil moisture. Active layer thaw patterns differed among landforms, with palsas and tundra heath having the least and greatest amount of thaw, respectively. Tundra heath thaw patterns were influenced by the presence of gravel and sandy soils, which had higher thermal conductivity than the mineral and organic soils of fens and palsas. Vegetation also influenced thaw patterns; the lichen cover of palsas better protected the landform from incoming solar radiation than the moss, lichen, and low-lying shrub cover of upland tundra heath, thus allowing for cooler ground temperatures. Air temperature was the most significant predictor of active layer thermal regime. Surface soil moisture varied among landforms and greater surface soil moisture reduced the amount of active layer thaw. These findings improved understanding of how landform and climate can interact to affect the active layer. Author Keywords: Active layer thermal regime, Active layer thickness, Climate change, Peatland, Permafrost, Subarctic
Organic Matter and Total Mercury in Acid-Sensitive Lakes in Ireland
The following study measured dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and total mercury (THg) concentrations in acid sensitive lakes in the Republic of Ireland. Sixty-eight upland lakes and 48 lowland lakes were sampled for DOC; the upland lakes were additionally sampled for THg. Spatial variability of DOC was explained by regional precipitation and soil organic matter. A subset of lakes was tested for long-term trends and in contrast to reports of rising DOC in European surface waters, changes in DOC were minor. Spatial variability in THg was explained by DOC and organic matter aromaticity. Long-term THg concentrations increased, likely caused by inputs of terrestrial THg. A subset of lakes was sampled for sediment and soil and the results suggested soils drove THg variation in lake water and sediment. Lake water and sediment THg was low and consistent with background regions, while soil THg was relatively high due to high organic content. Author Keywords: Dissolved Organic Carbon, Lakes, Organic Matter, Soil, Total Mercury, Water
Exploring Vulnerability to Food Insecurity
Addressing the issue of food insecurity effectively within a region in a way where interventions reflect the variability of food insecurity levels across subgroups of the population is important. It is a unique challenge and requires specific data. This study took in this direction by conducting an exploratory statistical analysis of a community-representative dataset of Inuit Seniors’ food (in)security. The analysis was theoretically sensitive as well as knowledge-user-directed.Results show that 52.7% of all Seniors in Nain and Hopedale, Nunatsiavut, are food insecure, and that food (in)security is associated with age group, education status, health status, mobility status and household financial situation. Further, younger Seniors aged 55-64 are more likely to be food insecure than their older peers. This study is among the first to provide an analysis of quantitative associations between variables that characterize food (in)security among a specific subgroup in the Inuit population. Author Keywords: Arctic, Case study, Food security, Inuit health, Seniors, Vulnerability
Anishinaabemowin Teacher Perspectives of Indigenous Language Instruction in Nogojiwanong Public Schools
This thesis explores the importance of Indigenous languages and their revitalization, as well as the roles and responsibilities of schools through the perspective of Anishinaabemowin public school teachers in the Nogojiwanong, Peterborough ON, area. Three teachers were interviewed and have shared valuable insight into how they became teachers, how the language is taught in their schools, and the challenges associated with teaching these classes in these settings, as well as who should be learning and how these languages will bring us forward. From this information, recommendations for schools, school boards, and policy makers are included to better support instructors and students. Author Keywords: Anishinaabemowin, Indigenous, Indigenous Languages, Language Revitalization, Public Schools, Schools
Vulnerability and resilience
The Minority Stress Model proposes that LGBTQ+ people experience stressors unique to their identity that negatively impact their mental well-being. The model also outlines that, in the case of the LGBTQ+ community, two minority coping resources - social support and connection to the LGBTQ+ community – may act as potential minority stress buffers; however, research has been unable to determine if these are effective buffers. The current study used multiple regression and multilevel modelling to test the processes of the Minority Stress Model among 451 LGBTQ+ people over 25 timepoints during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although minority stressors and coping resources were associated with psychological distress in the expected directions, an interesting interaction between the two measures of minority stress was revealed and neither minority coping resource was found to buffer the association between minority stress and distress. In conclusion, the present study found partial support for the Minority Stress Model using longitudinal data but highlights the complex nature of these processes and how they are conceptualised in research. Author Keywords: identity concealment, LGBTQ+ community, mental health, minority coping, minority stress model, social support
Effect of Attending a Virtual Oncology Camp on Childhood Cancer Patient's Pyshcosocial Functioning and Parental Stress - A Pilot Study
Objectives/purpose: The current study examined whether attending a 1-month virtual oncology camp (VOC) improved resilience and hope in childhood cancer patients and parental/caregiver stress. Methods:Childhood cancer patients/survivors and their parent/caregivers enrolled for VOC, participated in an online anonymous survey: before, after and 3-months after VOC. The survey included the Child and Youth Resilience Measure (CYRM) and the Snyder’s Children’s Hope Scale (CHS) for the childhood cancer patients/survivors and the Pediatric Inventory for Parents (PIP) for parent/caregivers. Results:CYRM scores increased from T1 to T2 (d=0.86). Compared to T1, at T2 CHS scores also increased (d=1.33). Both CHS and CYRM scores remained higher at T3 compared with T1 (d=1.34; d=0.86). There were no changes in PIP scores between any time points. Conclusion and significance: Our study demonstrated that participation in a VOC improved children’s resilience and hope but did not change parental stress. Highlighting the clinical significance of these VOCs and the impacts they have on childhood cancer patients/survivors. Author Keywords: cancer, children, hope, parental stress, resilience, virtual oncology camp

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