Humanities - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Breaking the Gaze: Ressentiment, Bad Faith, and the Struggle for Individual Freedom

Date created: 
2014-01-23
Abstract: 

Taking on a relatively unexplored topic, this thesis investigates the connection between Friedrich Nietzsche and Jean-Paul Sartre by revisiting both philosophers’ focus on individual choice and freedom. To do so, it first outlines the restraints placed on the individual by the gaze of the other. From there, it lays out the necessary steps towards liberation, emphasizing individual authenticity and responsibility, and the burden attached to the constant tasks of self-becoming and self-overcoming. This subsequently leads to an analysis of creative action and aesthetics, more specifically, of music and prose-writing’s ability to generate meaning. Through these discussions, this thesis aims to renew interest in Nietzsche’s and Sartre’s philosophies, and prove that an existential reading of their thoughts is still relevant to contemporary societies and can, therefore, offer some possible solutions to the current and ongoing issues of human rights and freedom.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Samir Gandesha
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: Department of Humanities
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Master of Arts

Modernity or Capitalism? Technology in Heidegger and Marx

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-11-20
Abstract: 

Modernity or Capitalism? explores a parallelism that can be found in the work of Martin Heidegger and Karl Marx. The two share a similar ontology of labour that forms the basis of their distinct understandings of the technological world. I first outline the respective critiques of technology by Heidegger and Marx, then argue that the global system comprises both modern techno-scientific representation and capitalism. Everything must fall within the system’s self-enclosed logic. Abstraction, thus, becomes the structuring force. I argue that the system cannot account for the concrete character of human labour. Through a close reading of Heidegger and Marx I explore the possibility of concrete practical activity as a potential structuring force of the system.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Ian Angus
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: Department of Humanities
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Master of Arts

Restoring knowledge: John of Salisbury’s “return to the tree”

Date created: 
2013-04-24
Abstract: 

In 1159 CE, the English diplomat and ecclesiastic John of Salisbury published two books, the Policraticus and the Metalogicon, the former a treatise on the nature of good governance, and the latter a defence of classical education. Believing that political leadership should be based on moral precepts, John observed that moral judgment seemed to have been largely replaced in both church and state by personal ambition for wealth and power. Believing further that the knowledge required for moral judgment should be gained through proper education, John reasoned that knowledge itself had become fractured, and that it was necessary to return to that point and rebuild knowledge anew. Concluding that the fracture occurred with Adam’s expulsion from paradise for eating from the tree of knowledge, John reasoned that mankind must ‘return to the tree.” This thesis analyzes John’s “return to the tree” within the intellectual context of the twelfth-century renaissance.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Paul Dutton
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: Department of Humanities
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Master of Arts

Mirror of princes: René Girard, Aristotle, and the rebirth of tragedy

Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

RenC Girard is a theorist who finds evidence in literature and drama for his anthropological hypothesis of human origin and the role of scapegoating in human affairs. The originary scene of human evolution is described by the generative anthropology of Eric Gans in a way that refines Girard. Generative anthropology also permits an evolutionary model of esthetic form founded on the originary scene that can account for Aristotle's insights into both esthetic and political affairs. As a comparison of Girard's postmodern analysis with the classical analysis of Aristotle's Poetics suggests, there are constants in esthetic evolution. A fivefold pattern of narrative universals can be abstracted from Aristotle and Girard as a model for tracking evolutionary progress and cultural rebirth. This model for esthetic history may also be developed to account for political form as evolved in particular cultures and mirrored in their drama (Aeschylus' Athens and Shakespeare's England). Girard's political model is impractically apocalyptic because it demands the end of the allegedly one and only earthly regime ("scapegoating"). But Aristotle's many mixed regime types in the Politics afford a better evolutionary model for how regime change is mirrored in esthetic form to commemorate real transitions between historical epochs. Such cultural change is initiated by the deliberate "firstness" of statesmanlike prudence. As generative anthropology suggests, the classical and neoclassical esthetics are distinct eras in the evolution of human experience. This evolution is visible in the transitions commemorated in Aeschylus' Oresteia and Shakespeare's Henriad. In the classical esthetic, the separation of office from person, which establishes a secure basis for territorial loyalty, is signified in Aeschy1u.s' Oresteia. This is what Athena's Eumenides represent in the new context of the Areopagus, as society evolves from Orestes, who represented requisite divine justice in the context of Agamemnon's murder. In the neoclassical esthetic, the binding of territorial loyalty to the corporate personality of the human sovereign who rules by consent is signified in Shakespeare's Henriad. This is what Henry V represents in the new context of Agincourt, as society evolves from Henry IV, who represented requisite human ceremony in the context of Richard 11's deposition.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Special Arrangements: Humanities and English - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)

(Self-)censorship and the ideologies of criticism : Latin American feminisms within and outside the Anglo-American institution

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1997
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Antonio Gomez-Moriana
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: Humanities
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)

The experience of exile through the eyes of Czech writers

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

This thesis seeks to demonstrate how the experience of exile was reflected in the work of 20th century Czech writers. It does so by way of an examination of the respective responses of Jan Drabek and Jaroslav Vejvoda to two historical traumas: the 1948 Communist Coup and the failure of the "Prague Spring" in 1968. It argues that while both Drabek and Vejvoda employ typical aspects of exilic literature in their work, each of them provides a different reflection on exile according to the distinct social and political condition of his time. By analyses of these responses to historical trauma, this thesis emphasizes the transition from the external, social, and political approach of Drabek to the internal, private, and strictly non political position of Vejvoda.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Samir Gandesha
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: Humanities
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Intellectual identity and the culture industry: Critical thought about intellectuals and mass culture from Adorno to Seinfeld

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

intellectual Identity and the Culture Industry: Critical Thought about Inte11'ectuals and Mass Culture discusses the life of the intellect and the intellectual as they relate, or fail to relate to, the problems of mass culture. In Chapter One, I evaluate the work of Theodor W. Adorno. I consider Adorno's critique of jazz as the prototype for his formidable assault on the culture industry at large and its role in the downfall of intellectual discourse. I identify comedy as a potentially subversive strain within mass culture. I advance what is not so much a methodological or historical approach to intellectuals and mass culture, but an attitude toward the phenomena under investigation, one that is, following Adorno, both uncompromising and intellectually rigorous. Chapter Two charts the fate of the intellectual both in and outside of ac:ademia, particularly as addressed by critiques of The Last Intellectuals. Russell Jacoby, Andrew Ross, Richard A. Posner and Noam Chomsky are discussed in terms of intellectual life in our time. Chapter Three surveys the mass cultural landscape, singling out the television comedy Seinfeld as exemplary of the best of what mass culture is capable of, demonstrating my own ability to 'do' Critical Theory, and to forward a cultural critique reflecting moral, ethical and spiritual criteria of judgment. The partial absence of a completely unified resolution between these two chapters resonates with an apprehension of the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School as breaking with the intellectual tradition of foundationalism that emphasizes unity. As such what is presented is a critical alternative to the dominance of the intellectual tradition running from Descartes through positivism. I contend that the problem of intellectual life in relation to mass culture resists harmonious integration into a singular conceptual totality, because I maintain hope that the individual intellect can retain a degree of integrity and efficacy in spite of a monolithic cultural apparatus bent on deluding us at the junciture where culture comes to function as social control.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jerald Zaslove
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: Special Arrangements: English, Humanities, Fine Arts, Communication - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

A context, categorization and measurement of international learning outcomes

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

The movement of scholars to centres of learning - academic mobility - predates both the nation state and the university. As notions of statehood evolved, the state assumed responsibility for educating its citizenry, authority which has stood the test of time. Institutions evolved relying on external support in exchange for suasion over what was taught and to whom, evolving a dynamic symbiosis as all players realized positive outcomes from their engagement in education. In today's more complex context, each player continues to realize value in supporting education and in supporting international student mobility. This dissertation places the activity of mobility in historical, political, educational and global contexts that illustrate the evolving role of the state in supporting higher education, and the state's continuing attempts to influence the course of education through the more modern activity of student mobility. Trends such as globalization and massification are addressed, as is internationalization, to explain the rationale of the state for this continued engagement and the motivations of primary stakeholders - the state, the institution and the individual - to support study abroad. Positive outcomes are achieved by all players, hence their ongoing support. But what are these outcomes? A continuum of potential international learning outcomes is established from which the primary stakeholders choose hoped-for outcomes to motivate their engagement; these include economic and linguistic imperatives as well as intellectual, social and personal/attitudinal outcomes. The literature review leads to a methodology and research instrument used on a population of sojourners to test for the achievement of these outcomes and if achievement is significantly and causally related to the study abroad activity itself. or perhaps to some other variable. Data are conclusive and corroborate previous studies in showing positive intellectual and personal outcomes. Recommendations are made on the current research and for other research topics germane to the field of outcomes study. Of import is an exploration of the data's applicability for practitioners in pursuing outcomes-motivated programming, and the adaptation of new mobility models to replace much of the laissez-faire mobility programming common today, towards achieving sought-after outcomes and the internationalization objectives of institutions.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jan Walls
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: Special Arrangements: Humanities, Education and Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Die Orphische Weltanschauung der Antike und ihr Erbe bei den Dichtern Nietzsche, Holderlin, Novalis und Rilke

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1990
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Laurence P. Kitching
Department: 
FASS: Humanities
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.