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

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Language Acts: How Words Make Things Happen

Date created: 
2014-11-26
Abstract: 

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.

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

Reflecting on Watson: an Examination of the Creative Process

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-12-03
Abstract: 

Abstract -This is the story of my journey of discovery and understanding, an examination of the creative process of a working creative artist in the creation of a screenplay, Watson. In the process I am at once the creator and the observer of that creation. Telling stories is part of our human existence. The ability or compulsion to tell stories may be one of the most important aspects of being human. This project consists of the creative work, in this case a screenplay as a pilot for a television series, as well as, the daily journal of my thoughts, fears, self-enlightenment during the writing, which is reflected in the reflection of all that I went through and learned while creating Watson the screenplay. Watson was written as a reimagining of Sherlock Holmes, where the myth and mystery are reinvented; not remade. In Watson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is not a physician who writes for Strand Magazine in the late 19th Century, but rather Artie Doyle who is a political hatchet man for Margaret Thatcher, who in return for masterminding all the dirty tricks that enabled Thatcher to stay in power is put forward by Thatcher for a knighthood, thus Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The project reflects upon my interest in creativity. Genius is exceptional and while the study of genius is important in understanding the creative process, it is too singular to be useful in examining and understanding the more prosaic creative processes at work in artists who reflect upon their working process. The study of the creative process reflects my fascination with those who, in the pursuit of their desire for creative fulfillment, are able to make a living creating their art. The self-study puts me into the class of creative artists who study themselves while make a work. Through my exploration, examination and rumination I have developed an understanding of how the coming into existence of Watson may be a model that could be applied to other working creative artists.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Jerry Zaslove
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences:
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.L.S.

Slackers, Fools, Robbers and Thieves: Fairy tales and the folk imagination

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-03-19
Abstract: 

As has been noted by many linguists and folklorists, folklore - like language - has a naturally collective ownership, and thus, it is subject to strict uniform laws: only those features that do not fail to hold attraction to their audience survive throughout time and changing life circumstances. I look at several conventionally negative types of the folktale hero, such as the Fool, the Slacker, the Trickster, the Robber and the Thief, which – nevertheless – hold a steady popularity in folklore, as can be seen in the two best-known Russian and German folktale collections. I attempt to investigate various psychological, cultural and historical causes that may have produced these types and contributed to their seemingly irrational appeal to the audience. Another cultural question that interests students of the folktale is whether there is a national mentality that can be traced via folklore. It appears that folklore has been used to determine and reinforce national ideals and specific features of collective values. I examine the connection among all three - the form a text takes, its contents and its functions in a social group, and trace some Russian peculiarities in treatment of these amoral, immoral and criminal types in comparison with the German folktale.

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

Rousseau in Shelley's Eyes and The role of emotion in environmental narratives: an analysis of Canada’s leading environmental organizations

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-08-09
Abstract: 

Absract 1: Percy Shelley was a second generation Romantic poet who sought to understand the impact of the French Revolution, and the Enlightenment more broadly, on Western society. This essay focuses on the impact of the work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau on Shelley’s world view and poetry, specifically through an analysis of Shelley’s poem, “The Triumph of Life”. Rousseau’s intellectual legacy leading into the French Revolution, his influence on Jacobin political leaders and how he was perceived by English Romantics following the Revolution are explored and considered in the context of his influence on Shelley. Abstract 2:The role of emotion in the environmental narratives employed by Canada’s leading environmental advocacy organizations is explored. Analysis is framed in the context of the dominant Western worldview, which is characterized by the opposition between rationality and emotion. The essay seeks to answer whether the environmental movement in Canada is undermined by its use of emotion in environmental narratives.

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

Sound means: towards an epistemology of auditory experience

Date created: 
2013-12-06
Abstract: 

The project constructs an account of the role of aural experience and soundscape perception in outlining an epistemology of auditory experience. Using ecological models, the project proposes listening and sound-making as situated, embodied, cognitive practices, and develops an account of acoustic epistemology as a form of supra-rational knowledge, based on a model of transduction between material sound energy and the conceptual. The practice of sound-making is proposed as a prosthetic 'technology of the self', and electroacoustic mediation is discussed in terms of mimesis and re-embodiment.

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

A Survey of Androids and Audiences: 285 BCE to the present day

Date created: 
2013-04-10
Abstract: 

This historical survey reviews incidences and popularity of mechanical humans from Ptolemaic Alexandria to the present day. These devices were of special interest in the Enlightenment as models of a Mechanistic self, as artistic and scientific spectacles, and as entertainment devices. Historical mass audiences may not have shared the negative associations held by audiences of today; however intense responses to android displays have been documented. The project finds that audience response is informed by a wide variety of factors that should be considered together when determining the depth of uncanniness present in a device. Therefore, the project explores issues related to the philosophical interpretation, imagery, and social contexts of android automata.

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

Thin Places

Date created: 
2013-04-12
Abstract: 

This inquiry into the three great quests of the twentieth century–the South Pole, Mount Everest, and the Moon–examines our motivations to venture into these sublime, yet life-taking places. The Thin Place was once the destination of the religious pilgrim seeking transcendence in an extreme environment. In our age, the Thin Place quest has morphed into a challenge to evolve beyond the confines of our own physiology; through human ingenuity and invention, we reach places not meant to accommodate human life. The early Antarctic explorer Apsley Cherry-Garrard defined exploration as “the physical expression of intellectual passion.” Our quests to explore the end of the earth, the top of the world, and into outer space exemplify this definition. Moreover, these quests have great metaphoric value; they are symbolic of supreme achievement, and help define what it means to be human.

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

Colliers and cowboys

Date created: 
2013-04-11
Abstract: 

This research project deploys archived text and older and newer interviews to tell the story of the penetration of British Columbia’s Nicola Valley by the CPR and the simultaneous start of coal mining in the valley in the first decade of the previous century. This story is a story of Euroamerican consolidation and Amerindian attenuation through country lost and gained and possession asserted and negotiated, even resisted. Research by a number of historians, too, informs this story, and permits treatment of the industrialization of the Nicola Valley as one more demonstration of the inevitability of an unmaking in the making of history.

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

Manifesto of Technological Culture: a Critically Annotated Defense of Technepolitanism and The Hollow Revolution: Alienation and Manipulation in the Digital Age

Date created: 
2013-04-17
Abstract: 

Manifesto of Technological Culture: a Critically Annotated Defense of Technepolitanism- A critical analysis of our emerging technocracy unfolds through an annotated commentary on an imagined technocrat’s manifesto. The essay contrasts the romanticization of technology’s liberating qualities with a sober warning about its tendency towards oppression.The Hollow Revolution: Alienation and Manipulation in the Digital Age- Approximately one third of the world’s population uses the Internet. It is a communications platform thatostensibly defies political boundaries and social status, putting unprecedented amounts of information in the hands of all users equally. However, the Internet operates within a social and political context that influences the information it contains. Every online interaction is explicitly or tacitly attended by an imperative to buy, making commerce a key driving force of the Internet. The online user is a modern-day, digital proletariat, subject to exploitation by the corporate interests that have embraced the Internet. Themes of manipulation, alienation, and ahistoricism in the information age are examined through a principally Marxian lens.

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

Peasant radicalism in early nineteenth century Norway: The case of Hans Nielsen Hauge (1771-1824)

Author: 
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

This study explores radicalism among Norwegian peasants during Europe's post-revolutionary period and its evolution to conservatism after the Congress of Vienna, 18 15. A peasant preacher named Hans Nielsen Hauge (1 77 1 - 1824) initiated a religious movement, consisting of young people who found in his expression of religion an outlet for their disaffection. With the French Revolution in recent memory, the Haugeans aroused fears among elites by their anti-clerical and antibourgeois sentiment, as well as their cooperative commercial ventures that expressed egalitarian and communitarian ideals, which crossed class and gender boundaries. In 1804, as Europe was about to enter the Napoleonic era, the Danish authorities incarcerated Hauge. When they released him a decade later, Hauge's prophetic zeal turned conservative in an effort to return his followers to the ideals he thought they once shared. This account therefore outlines the role of popular religion in a movement from radicalism to conservativism in post-revolutionary Europe.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Liberal Studies Program - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Project (M.A.)