This project explores the proposition that at present humanity is faced with a crisis of moral consciousness due to the weakening of faith in theocentric world views. Secular reason has failed to replace religion as a primary source of moral authority. The failures of faith, reason, and codified human rights to provide universal moral authority and guidance create a unique historical transitional moment and opportunity for a revision of secular reason as a source of a universalising moral guidance. A set of fundamental moral principles for individual responsibility has been developed, placing the locus of moral deliberation and responsible action for moral agency within individuals. The project examines several moral exemplars that both illustrate and test the moral principles for their viability and efficacy. Future prospects for the model are discussed.
This is a two part project: A play about the fictionalized life of Jean McLarty, a pillar of the community and a hoarder and; a paper that discusses Hoarding Disorder, the process of finding creative inspiration in the story of a hoarder, and the yearning for the sacred in the act of over-ritualizing. The play is in the form of lyrical prose where Jean tries to explain her actions and compulsive behaviour through a re-telling of her life’s story. Just as Jean cannot escape from her behaviour, so too is the audience immersed in the wondrous madness that exists in her hoarded reality. The paper addresses the creation process for the play, with inspiration drawn from figures as theatre iconoclast Jerzy Grotowski, Psychologist & Hoarding Disorder specialist Randy Frost and Anthropologist Ian Tattersall. It is also the story behind the story of Jean and how the passion of her compulsions consumed her life.
We, Animals is an assemblage of vignettes comprised of observations and reflections of urgent ethical issues concerning our relationship to nonhuman-animals, human-animals and more broadly to Mother Earth. Its aims are to explore and expose our paradoxical relationship with nonhuman-animals, to explore the intersections of animal ethics and veganism with other forms of oppression and exploitation such as misogyny, sexism, racism and colonialism, and to draw parallels between the oppression of nonhuman- animals and human-animals.We, Animals deviates from standard animal ethics by exposing rampant and persistent institutionalized violence in our relations with nonhuman-animals through parallel stories of Nonhuman and Human-Animal oppressions.
The first essay is a sustained reflection on and response to the question of why the notion of collectivism and collective coexistence has been so deeply entrenched in the Russian society and is still pervasive in today's Russia. It examines the development of ideas of collectivism and individualism, focusing on the cultural aspects based on the examples of selected works from Russian literature. It also searches for the answers in the philosophical works of Vladimir Solovyov, Nicolas Berdyaev and Vladimir Lossky. As well, it investigates historical concepts put forward by Nikolay Karamzin, Vasily Klyuchevsky, and Dmitry Likhachov, and the ideas found in literary works by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Boris Pasternak, and Zakhar Prilepin. This essayilluminates several of the historical roots of the ideas of collectivism and individualism that may have influenced the writers. Special attention is paid to the historical development of folk culturein the Proto-Slavic society, the influences that the Russian Orthodoxy had as well as on the contradictory interaction between the modernizing proposals of Westernizers and the utopian collectivistic ideas of the Slavophiles in the XIX century Russia. The second extended essay examines one particular form of spiritual exercise that aims at creating contact between Orthodox Christians and an icon. The present study focuses on dogmatic and metaphysical aspects of this contact where the icon represents not just an object of religious worship but rather a tool or a portal enabling mental union with the divine. The essay pays special attention to the technical feature specific only to Byzantine and Russian icons: the reverse perspective that allows the viewer to reach a higher state of spiritual concentration.Another component of this essay is an attempt to look into the philosophical concepts of the sublime, the personality and the symbol, their interrelation, and the influence they had on the development of Medieval Russian iconography and church architecture. The essay illustrates the major differences between Western rational approach to pictorial art and that of Russian Orthodox iconography, the latter being an idealistic symbolic form of art subordinate to higher spiritual purposes.
This work analyzes travel writing by Mary Wollstonecraft and Elizabeth Gilbert to demonstrate that travel by women serves as a technology of the self or a means by which to attain a certain state of being. This examination of travel narratives from two different eras also reflects a shift in the nature of travel from a knowledge-expanding endeavour to a self-indulgent one prioritizing individual benefits. This emergent emphasis on travel as a means to self-improvement rather than self-understanding perpetuates traditional values, upholds the patriarchal system of male privilege, and undermines the struggle for women’s equality in an era of apparent female empowerment and self-sufficiency. This project also functions as a testament of the value of an academic journey, one based on thinking about and reflecting upon a topic of interest with greater insight as the final destination and reward.
This project examines the accomplishment of Samuel Beckett, particularly in his plays, in discovering new ways of registering interiority in an age marked by catastrophe, and the religious, social and psychological upheaval that was its result. Beckett’s achievement is viewed as grounded in and an extension of the new approaches to literary representation found in the work of his Modernist predecessors – T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Ezra Pound, and W.B. Yeats. Like his forbearers, Beckett jettisoned sequential narrative and relied on images and techniques of fragmentation to engage directly with interiority and with themes of isolation, alienation and death. The study concentrates on contextualizing Beckett’s plays through modernist texts rather than through scholarly ones. It pays special attention to Beckett’s work as theatre, to the vital, unencumbered and inescapable interaction of theatrical performance, communicating as it does through the senses and nerves of the audience rather than debating with their intellectual responses.
This two-part project explores the tension that many twenty-first century women experience between work and motherhood. My essay demonstrates this tension through Simone de Beauvoir’s conceptions of transcendence and immanence described in The Second Sex and through contemporary debates in popular media–specifically Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, and “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All” by Anne-Marie Slaughter. I provide historical context and an overview of twenty first century societal norms and politics as they pertain to women, work, and motherhood. I conclude that women who are mothers feel a tension between career and motherhood because society views them as “naturally” mothers. At the same time, society values action and progress. In trying to conform to these two societal beliefs, women are torn. My novella, “A Life in Two Parts,” complements the essay, exploring the lived experience of a single mother seeking fulfillment amidst her life of non-productive work.
AbstractThis project discusses the role Egyptian women have been playing in shaping the social and political landscape of their country during the last decade, but particularly in the aftermath of the January 2011 revolution. It specifically examines the work independent women artists have been creating to keep the dialogue open, and to increase awareness about women’s issues as well as human rights in general. Through examination of design, graffiti, music, and filmmaking created during this revolutionary period, and through field research carried out by the author in Cairo, the project looks at how some women artists have used their art to transform the social and political norms of women’s roles within their society, while confronting the threat of a religious setback compounded with other socio-cultural issues with which women struggle in conservative Egyptian society.
Becoming Surrey: Journey Through the Invisible City is an exploration of an urban environment, its point of view influenced by W.G. Sebald’s Austerlitz, further informed by the writings of Lewis Mumford’s The City in History and E.V. Walter’s Placeways that together provide theoretical perspectives to my Journey Through the City of Surrey, where the sense of Place is defined by unique historical legacies and topistic qualities. Becoming Surrey as a ‘Journey’ uses photographs and reflections to identify and confront the 'topistic reality' of 'modernity' evident in the built world of Surrey in order to describe and construct an atlas of ‘The Invisible City’. My intention is to answer Walter’s riddle of “What is this Place?” Becoming Surrey consists of two intersecting paths by which to understand Surrey as a Place. The written component uses selected historical references, conversations and experiences that occurred in the course of academic and artistic research. The photographs continue my artistic practice that relates to a tradition of street photography that explores the landscape and pathways in order to expand the spirit of the written narrative. The reader and viewer are invited to synthesize both word and image into a consciousness of the complexities of experiencing the City of Surrey as a Place, yet this word / image dialogue entertains topistic ambiguities that suggests neither is capable of standing by itself nor does it offer an immutable representation of the Invisible City.
This work addresses the performative nature of language: the connection between language and performance; in essence, it will address how words make things happen. The connection between language and performance is explored in two very distinct ways via extended essays. The first essay looks at the connection between language performance and ecosystems through the lens of endangered languages and their relationship to ecosystem health and the world’s current wave of species extinction, and argues that language may have a biological role in the natural world. The second essay explores the idea of “language acts” through the academic methods of performance studies and research-creation. In this essay, a biographical play and dramatization of writer Emily Brontë contends that Brontë was a proto-modernist artist. This work also serves as an exercise, a language act, in making connections and in making meaning, through the lens of the GLS experience.