Liberal Studies - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Mightier Than the Sword: Women journalists and filmmakers and their impact on gender perceptions and gender equality in Afghanistan

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-04-12
Abstract: 

In Afghanistan, a significant advance since the fall of the Taliban has been the entry of women into media as reporters, anchors and producers. Media, in essence, have become a battleground for Afghan women fighting to overcome a culture of silence and invisibility following years of oppression. Be it TV, newspapers, radio or even music, media allow for the dissemination of stories that speak to women’s social, economic and political realities. Mightier Than The Sword is a two-part project exploring this social advancement. The first component is a 47-minute documentary, shot in Afghanistan in 2015, analyzing how the work of female journalists has affected gender perceptions and gender equality. The written portion of Mightier Than The Sword is an in-depth examination of the history of the media in Afghanistan and the effect mass media have had on gender perceptions in Afghanistan. First-hand interviews, conducted in 2015, are included.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Gary McCarron
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Liberal Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.L.S.

Horse Latitudes, Tokyo Longitudes : A Fictional Marriage of Imagination and Experience

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1999
Abstract: 

Horse Latitudes/Tokyo Longitudes is a work of fiction that explores the creative process. During the process of writing, I was interested in the interplay between memory and imagination. The characters are based on the people of my life; the events are based both on occurrences in my life and in the lives of my friends. The characters described, however, are not the people who experienced the events. With the exception of the narrator, none of the individuals characterized in the story is acquainted with any of the others. The events are real, the reactions of the characters are drawn from the imagination. Horse Latitudes/Tokyo Longitudes is not simply the result of 'copying down' my life.

While on a Trans-Pacific flight, the central character begins the story by reflecting on his life. He is dissatisfied with the choices he has made and realizes that he must change direction. Through the narrator's actions and those who surround him, the issue of Western romantic love, the passion that guides much of our actions, is explored. The narrator opts to seek that 'One Perfect Love' to recover from his rudderless existence. Romantic love, however, is a path with no final destination.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Grazia Merler
Department: 
Liberal Studies
Thesis type: 
M.A. Project

The question of morality in the context of faith and reason: Conceptualizing a missing essence

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-07-14
Abstract: 

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.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Heesoon Bai
Jerald Zaslove
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Liberal Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.L.S.

Hoarding Paradise: A narrative about a play about hoarding

Date created: 
2015-12-08
Abstract: 

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.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Stephen Duguid
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Liberal Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essays) M.A.L.S.

We, Animals: Parallel Stories of Nonhuman and Human-Animal Oppressions

Date created: 
2015-11-20
Abstract: 

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.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jerry Zaslove
annie ross
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Liberal Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.L.S.

Understanding the roots of collectivism and individualism in Russia through an exploration of selected Russian literature -and- Spiritual exercises through art. Understanding reverse perspective in old Russian iconography

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-11-25
Abstract: 

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.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jerry Zaslove
Heesoon Bai
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Liberal Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essays) M.A.L.S.

Once Upon A Journey - Travel Narratives by Women: The Philosophical Observations of Mary Wollstonecraft and the Cultural Meme of Elizabeth Gilbert

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-10-15
Abstract: 

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.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Anne-Marie Feenberg-Dibon
Eleanor Stebner
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Liberal Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.L.S.

Bypassing Narrative. Modernist Interiority in the Plays of Samuel Beckett: An Explication

Date created: 
2015-04-15
Abstract: 

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.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Tom Grieve
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences:
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.L.S.

Productive and Non-Productive Work: Career and Motherhood in the Twenty-First Century

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-12-09
Abstract: 

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.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Eleanor Stebner
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences:
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.L.S.

Art, Gender and Revolution in Egypt

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-12-04
Abstract: 

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.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Eleanor Stebner
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences:
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.L.S.