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

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"Life and Death in The Orenda" and "Here We Shall Remain"

Date created: 
2017-06-29
Abstract: 

Aboriginal relations are explored in one essay and one play. Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda contains graphic depictions of violence which proved divisive for readers and critics alike. However, these depictions are both accurate and significant to not just the contents of the novel but to violence in the world. Ernest Becker’s ideas on death anxiety and culture are used to explain the violence as ritual, allowing readers to understand the nature of violence between cultures and to take away positive messages from Boyden’s novel. In a play about Tecumseh, taking place during the War of 1812, issues aboriginals struggle with today are reminiscent of issues aboriginals experienced over 200 years ago. The question remains: how far have we come in over two centuries of shared history? Moving forward, aboriginals and non-aboriginals must learn to live together otherwise the consequences can be destructive and potentially fatal to individuals and entire cultures.

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

Observations and Reflections: Made in the Course of a Journey through France and Italy 1786-1787, by Lady Aphrodite Macbain

Date created: 
2017-07-17
Abstract: 

This paper is an historical fiction-- a travel journal written by Lady Aphrodite Macbain, an aristocratic English woman who records her observations and thoughts during her European tour in 1786-1787. Three voices tell this tale: Lady Aphrodite Macbain, a twenty-first century editor, Elizabeth Macbain, and the author of this text, Elizabeth Kidd. Elizabeth Macbain introduces the "found" journal, provides a biography of Lady Macbain and inserts historical background information on the eighteenth century, while Elizabeth Kidd (E.K.) provides background information on the cities visited, critical commentary and explanatory footnotes to the text. Included in the journal are the author's own botanical illustrations.Three primary issues relating to the eighteenth century will be addressed: the changing role of women in European society; the emerging interest in botanical sciences, and the role of the Grand Tour in promoting social change. Experiences of three main characters, Lady Macbain, her brother Andrew and her niece Belinda, offer opportunities to explore these issues from different perspectives.

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

Confronting a Triple Threat: Religion as a Response to Current Social, Political, and Environmental Crises

Date created: 
2017-08-18
Abstract: 

This paper explores how Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si contributes to the spiritual case for holistic intervention in current environmental, social and political crises. Precedents for religion being used successfully in campaigns for policy changes are established using historical examples, including: Tommy Douglas’ fight for public health care in Canada, John Muir’s work to establish a system of National Parks in the United States, and Desmond Tutu’s struggle to end apartheid in South Africa. Similarly, the Pope’s Encyclical contributes to the spiritual case for intervention in current environmental, social and political crises by making connections to shared values that transcend religion. Pope Francis makes the case that by making critical, and necessary changes to social, environmental and political policies through an integrated approach, rather than using the historically fragmented approaches that have addressed these crises individually with limited success, humanity will be better able to care for their common home.

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

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.