Communication - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Envisioning modernization of China: Discourse on science and technology in the New Youth Magazine (1915-1926)

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-31
Abstract: 

The discourse on science and technology reflects the imagination and recognition of the mass to society in the future, shaped and formed by multiple social powers. This research goes back to the starting point in the Chinese history by addressing a large-scale promotion of “science and technology” by a prominent magazine the “New Youth” founded and led by Chen Duxiu. By analyzing the discourse on science and technology of the magazine, the research finds that China demonstrated an alternative answer to global process of modernization and modernity.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Svitlana Matviyenko
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essay) M.A.

A narrative analysis of the corporatization of celestial bodies

Date created: 
2020-08-31
Abstract: 

The main argument of this research is that SpaceX and the government of United States are creating a conception of outer space that directly challenges UNOOSA 1966 Outer Space Treaty. In making this argument, the research draws on theories of the social construction of space and offers a critical analysis of geopolitical and spatiality discourse about Space travel and exploration. By comparing historical efforts of colonization by private corporations – such as the East Indian Company – to the modern exploration by SpaceX of celestial bodies and outer space, the research sheds light on the links between exploration and colonization. In particular, it explores the relationship between the state and private firms, and more broadly, state power and capitalism, in these processes.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Katherine Reilly
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essay) M.A.

One-dimensional body: The homogenized body of Instagram's #BodyPositive

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-31
Abstract: 

This project examines the Body Positive movement on the social media platform Instagram. The approach is influenced by the work of Herbert Marcuse on consumer culture and media systems. and Susan Bordo and other feminist scholars on the representation and subsequent commodification of the female body. The project examines how Instagram and its algorithms affect the public representation of bodies and the Body Positive social movement. The method is a single-image analysis of Instagram posts in the #bodypositive space. In a sample of 150 posts, analysis of body types shows that bodies reflecting mainstream characteristics in terms of shape, ability and disability, and skin tone and markings comprise 60% of all posts, with marginalized bodies occupying the other 40%. It is concluded that Instagram prioritizes a certain type of body over others therefore restricting the ability of a movement such as the Body Positive movement to alter mainstream body images via this platform.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Alison Beale
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essay) M.A.

Transcultural encounters: A case study of Fengshui practitioners in Vancouver

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-31
Abstract: 

The domination of several centuries of Western-scientific knowledge system has led critical scholars such as Boaventura de Sousa Santos to write about the possibility of a monocultural world where alternative knowledge systems would be seen as “non-existent.” This paper evaluates the adequacy of Santos’ sociology of absences in relation to the existence of the traditional knowledge system of Fengshui in Vancouver. By interviewing five Fengshui practitioners and tracing Fengshui from a rapidly modernizing China to Vancouver’s real-estate market in the era of neoliberal globalization, this paper assesses Fengshui’s migration in Vancouver as part and parcel of the movement of elite migrants. In doing so, this paper highlights the importance of intersectional analysis and underscores a limitation in de Sousa Santos’ framework by recognizing that certain traditional knowledge systems could be appropriated and incorporated by transnational capitalists’ economic interests and cultural sensibilities.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Yuezhi Zhao
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essay) M.A.

Chinese ICT on the digital Silk Road: A case study of infrastructure building in Pakistan

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-31
Abstract: 

China’s increasing efforts for establishing a digital silk road under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) are bound to conflict with the global hegemony and geopolitical interests of U.S. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Pakistan, as a crucial BRI-partner country, is a prime case to study such a conflict in the global communications field. By using extensive literature analysis and drawing from a political economy of communication approach, this study explores China’s ICT in Pakistan. I argue that China is reshaping and challenging the U.S.-centered ICT infrastructure in three ways: by building all-weather communication channels, extracting and controlling data, and creating a safe and stable social environment for its ruling elites. Are these initiatives made by China exacerbating Pakistan’s pre-existing authoritarian and military power relations? Are they also relevant to the imperialist expansion of a resurgent China in the South Asian region and beyond? But at the same time, we can also see how the China-led digital infrastructures in Pakistan also translates to the potential to counter-balance the dominance of the US-led digital platforms in this region.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Anis Rahman
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essay) M.A.

Hallyu in Indonesia: Koreanization through advertisements

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-31
Abstract: 

Due to a weak government and failed policies, Indonesia is lagging behind globally in terms of media and cultural development, opening the door for strong culture industries like South Korea to penetrate the Indonesian market. In contrast to Indonesia, Korea’s model of development in creating a culture industry with Hallyu has created a global craze. Constant exposure to Hallyu has led to the Indonesian public to develop a taste for Korean cultural products, leading to advertisements using Korean celebrities for promotion. This paper aims to explore how advertisements as mass culture and reality are intertwined through an analysis of South Korean celebrity advertising campaigns in Indonesia. Findings of the study show the promotion of six Korean elements that have also translated to real-life in Indonesia. The promotion of these elements will continually increase Koreanization in Indonesia where the ideal is then to become as Korean as possible.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Dal Yong Jin
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essay) M.A.

Seeking balance in global news flows: Revisiting the Pan-African News Agency experience

Date created: 
2020-08-31
Abstract: 

Africa and Africans have for centuries faced the issue of negative representation in international news media and particularly in the western news media. News reports in these foreign media connote Africa as a backward continent with barbaric people and unchanging culture. These negative representations are “historical baggage” carried from colonial rulers and have lived on to define Africa and its people. The “single story” of Africa being a crisis-stricken continent with a people in need of civilization is one that Africa and Africans have long fought to overturn. The desire to “own the African story” prompted the establishment of the Pan-African News Agency (PANA) by the Organization of African Unity (OAU). With its core mandate of correcting the distorted image of Africa and contributing to global news flow, the Pan-African News Agency was poised to offer a more positive reporting of Africa to counter persistent negative narratives. This study analyzes the successes and failures of PANA in achieving its core mandate, focusing on developments through the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Although PANA exists today, it is now a private enterprise and not very active or effective. Therefore, this study seeks to learn lessons from PANA’s past experiences to inform future measures to revamp the Pan-African News Agency achieve its core mandate of balancing global news flow.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Elizabeth Cooper
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essay) M.A.

Science fiction(ing): The imagination, crisis, and hope

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-04
Abstract: 

A multitude of problems beset the world—fascism, racism, poverty, and climate change, to name just a few. As such, there is a need for new ways to see and act. However, society is faced with a crisis of the imagination (Haiven 2014). Social imaginaries are ideologically rooted in the very structures from which these problems emerge. Furthermore, contemporary politics have become polarized. While affect is mobilized by fascists and populists, a politics of reason has devolved to a stultifying politics of pragmatism. Drawing on the work of Ernst Bloch (1996) I argue that there is a need for an “educated hope,” a dialectic of reason and the imagination (e.g. Nussbaum 1995 & 2001). In particular, a radical imagination (Castoriadis 1994 & 1998; Ricoeur 1994) informed by material and historical forces is needed to overcome the problems faced by the world. Building on O’Sullivan’s (2014) notion of fictioning, I develop a praxis of the imagination. Through a study of discourses of technology and the impacts of the various ‘mythologies of the future’ (e.g. Bell 1973; Galbraith 1978; Kumar 1978) in science fiction I suggest the genre offers an opportunity to put this radical imagination to work (e.g. Jameson 2007; Moylan 1986 & 2018; Suvin 1972 & 1979). More specifically, I study the works of Samuel R. Delany and Ursula K. Le Guin and demonstrate how these popular culture texts discursively challenge the status quo and enable the discovery of new radical social imaginaries (Bakhtin 1981; Hall 1998; hooks 1995 & 2002; Williams 1977). While utopia may seem unimaginable, science fiction and fictioning help constitute a society that searches beyond its existing cognitive horizons.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Richard Gruneau
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Omni channel and Canadian ethnic media: A critical case study of third language broadcasting policy

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-12-06
Abstract: 

The foundations of the Canadian broadcasting system are pillared by the recognition of Canadian culture through language. The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) recognizes this by setting minimum broadcasting content requirements for Canada’s English, French, Métis and First Nation’s language on Canadian television channels. What is exempt from this requirement is the remaining media: the ethnic or third language media. This investigation set out to review the history of ethnic media policy from 2007 to 2019 through a case study of the OMNI multicultural channel because of its significant role as the largest multicultural and multilingual media company in Canada. Findings of this case identify policy gaps that question how well CRTC regulations serve the Canadian ethnic media audience. This study has identified key CRTC broadcasting notices and public hearings for close documentary analysis to create a case study timeline for ethnic media programming. Results of this investigation show how private ethnic media companies, such as OMNI, are tailoring their broadcasting schedules to benefit from their Category A channel statuses; yet, fail to challenge the status quo to meet the rapidly changing needs of the ethnic media audience. Audience competition for licensed programming, new media and a globalized media environment is evolving with technological developments that do not support the existing ethnic media programming model. The findings will be of interest to key broadcasting private media companies, advertisers and ethnic media audiences that benefit from the Canadian third language programming. News media is valuable for community building, but there is an informational gap for Canadians who remain uninformed due to language barriers. New media and globalization shed a new light on the future of programming for the Canadian ethnic audiences and Canadian broadcasting policies.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Alison Beale
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Willing the impossible: Reconciling the Holocaust and the Nakba through photograph-based storytelling

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-12-17
Abstract: 

On May 14, 1948 Israel proclaimed its independence, establishing a national home for the Jewish people following the horrors of the Holocaust. However, for Palestinians this proclamation was tied to the Nakba or catastrophe, a term used to mark their displacement, dispossession, and occupation. This cycle of violence has made ethical dialogue and the witnessing of the other’s trauma difficult. To begin bridging this divide, my dissertation takes up the impossible yet necessary task of “willing the impossible” (Butler, 2012, p. 222), which entails thinking the unequal yet bound tragedies of the Holocaust and the Nakba contrapuntally, morally and ethically engaging with alterity, and envisioning a new polity based on coexistence, justice, and equitable rights (Said, 2003). It does this by bringing Edward Said’s (2000; 1993; 1986) theories of narrative, memory, and photography, Hannah Arendt’s distinction between “fictional” and “real” stories (1998, p. 186), and Arielle Azoulay’s concept of “the civil contract of photography” (2008, p. 85) into praxis through a unique photograph-based storytelling method. First, I conducted interviews with Palestinians and Israelis living in their respective Canadian diasporas who are of the Holocaust and Nakba postmemory generations (Hirsch, 2012). During these interviews participants narrated their stories of how the Holocaust and/or the Nakba have impacted their lives using family photographs. Second, participants exchanged their stories and photographs with fellow participants from both cultures. Finally, I conducted a second round of interviews in which participants reflected on the experience of narrating their stories and photographs, engaging with the other participants’ stories and photographs, and the research process as a whole. Ultimately, my dissertation demonstrates that storytelling and photography enable the “occasions” (Fabian, 1990, p. 7) and “conditions of possibility” (Culhane, 2011, p. 258) necessary for willing the impossible through “civil imagination” (Azoulay, 2012, p. 5). That is, by narrating and exchanging their postmemories of the Holocaust and/or the Nakba through photographs, my participants were able to connect rather than compare their histories of suffering and exile, take moral, ethical, and political responsibility for one another, and imagine a new form of cohabitation grounded in justice and equitable rights for all.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Stuart Poyntz
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.