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

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Then, and only then: Long sleeves and endless dreams

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-11-27
Abstract: 

A two-part personal narrative as an attempt to provide a memoir in letter form, written from my current self to my future self, after time and age have potentially ravaged my body and mind. Part One offers the purpose behind the letters: why they are important and what they purport to do for the intended reader. It also uses authors who have played with the life-writing and memoir/narrative genre and how they influenced my own ideas of remembering. Part Two is a series of poems, followed by letters that detail and chronicle various memories through different points in place and time; an effort to remind myself how I was formed by my past, and inevitably, what I may become in the future. The narrative unfolds while consciously trying to avoid certain moments and accentuating others. It is an interplay between familiar memories, reminiscences constructed over time, and dream-like representations.

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.

O Dio Che Bella: A novella project

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-11-20
Abstract: 

The question—what happens to emotionally repressed, distracted, detached, freedom-loving Anglo-North American visitors who come to Italy and actually encounter the alleged freedom that Italy offers?—is examined by means of research-creation—fiction writing: in the form of a novella, a synthesis of major GLS themes—combining artistic expression and scholarly investigation using a bricolage method of constructing objects from everyday materials by quoting from and alluding to texts: including the Prometheus Myth, Freud, and Mudford, and seventy others from GLS course syllabi. Part one shows the disorienting influence of Italian culture on the tourist; part two shows the effect of this on the visitor’s memory—seeking refuge in the everyday in thought and action can’t prevent the assault of the past on the present, and by the end the visitor’s interior world is radically changed. Theoretical influences on the novella are discussed in the preceding Statement of Intent.

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

Climate Change and the Many Faces of Denial

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-07-16
Abstract: 

Despite growing evidence, there seems a general reluctance to accept the seriousness of climate change or that human activities are a prime cause. While there needs to be a substantial change in humanity’s relationship with the Earth, evidence confirms that we have done very little about it. For many, this reluctance manifests itself as a kind of denial. For others, their reluctance is embedded in cultural, religious, or tribal beliefs. This human ability to ignore those things that conflict with one’s values and beliefs, or that are so unimaginable that one can’t deal with them, as they can often increase our anxiety.

This project explores the inaction around climate change, as well as the impact of that inaction on people and communities. It explores why some people are in varying degrees of denial about climate change, and how climate change relates to social., political and economic issues. While it may not be hopeless as some experts suggest, it is deadly serious.

This is a narrative-based inquiry that considers the narrative or storytelling format as a non-neutral, rhetorical account that aims at “illocutionary intentions.” This approach follows a recursive, reflexive process of storytelling that subsumes a group of approaches that in turn rely on the written or spoken words or visual representation of individuals. This approach utilises field texts, stories, journals, interviews of over seventy experts, and personal observation and experience as the sources to understand this complex topic better.

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

Reveries of a Solitary Biker

Date created: 
2017-02-22
Abstract: 

“Reveries of a Solitary Biker” is a two-part response to Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Reveries of the Solitary Walker, in the form of poems printed on a deck of cards and set to music, with an accompanying essay. Both essay and poems consider the difficulties of living an anti-capitalist life, the continued invisibility of much of women’s labour, the paradoxes of daily life, the nature and implications of calculations of value, and the difficulties of sustainability. The piece is intended for performance: audience members will be asked to draw cards from the deck, and the cards drawn will be performed. Each performance will thus be unique, incomplete, and inconclusive.

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.

An exploration on the Topoi: How our conceptual frameworks create our world

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-08-17
Abstract: 

These extended essays introduce the topoi, a conceptual framework that structures, mediates, and organizes our experience of the world. To develop my argument I describe the topoisitic perspective, a way of seeing the social and cultural world according to the affordances and limitations of specific frames of reference. I also explain how topoi change over time as new perspectives and points of view come to be accepted. The argument is illustrated with texts and ideas ranging from Darwinian evolution, to Achilles and The Iliad, Thomas Kuhn’s paradigm shifts, Karin Knorr-Cetina’s epistemic cultures, Anthony Wallace’s revitalization movements, and N.R. Hanson’s work on the conceptual foundations of science.

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

"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