Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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This collection contains digitized SFU theses except for those theses submitted within the last 12 months. If you cannot find the thesis you are looking for please search Recently Submitted Theses as it may be a recently submitted thesis and thus not yet available in Summit.

Encoded knowledge in oral traditions: Skwxwú7mesh transformer sites and their relationship with landscape perception and use

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-09-29
Abstract: 

This research studies the characteristics and roles of Transformer sites in daily life of people journeying through Skwxwú7mesh territory and the transmission of environmental knowledge through the Skwxwú7mesh oral tradition. Transformer sites are culturally significant places for numerous Indigenous groups in the Pacific Northwest and are so named for their narrative association with supernatural figures from the culture’s oral traditions that could transform themselves and the landscape. Skwxwú7mesh Transformer sites are associated with the journey of four brothers, Xaay Xays, and are located throughout Skwxwú7mesh territory. Many Transformer sites are important for their history and place within a community’s cultural landscape even without human modification. While archaeological sites generally refer to locations where there are material signs of past human activity, that definition does not include places where ephemeral activities took place, or places of cultural significance that were not directly modified by human behavior. Approaches within landscape archaeology provide a lens through which to effectively view and study places where the archaeological record is silent. Visibility, proximity to recorded archaeological sites, and ethnographic analysis, when taken together, can make a strong intersecting argument for how people in the past interacted with specific places and the landscape as a whole. This thesis recorded the physical characteristics of Skwxwú7mesh Transformer sites associated with Xaay Xays, evaluated the visibility of Skwxwú7mesh Transformer sites from water routes through Skwxwú7mesh territory, and compared the environmental and land use messaging from the names and stories of each site to the archaeological, ecological, and ethnographic information of that location. The results showed that the majority of Transformer sites were locations either used directly for resources described in the Xaay Xays narrative or were associated with active archaeological areas, suggesting that Transformer sites were an ever present part of daily life, and that the stories that describe and connect these locations hold information about the environment that was transmitted through generations by telling and retelling these stories. Despite the cultural significance of Transformer sites to Indigenous communities and their potential for archaeological investigation, they are not guaranteed protection under provincial or federal heritage legislation. There is much more that can be learned from Transformer sites and other natural places about people’s interactions with the landscape through time, but first those places must be acknowledged and protected for generations to come.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Rudy Reimer/Yumks
Department: 
Environment: Department of Archaeology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Prejudice, discrimination, and immunology paradigm: A critical discourse analysis of the New York Times' reports on the respective responses to COVID-19 by China and Italy

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-31
Abstract: 

During the COVID-19 outbreak, mainstream U.S. news agencies reported on different countries' responses to COVID-19. However, these articles often politicalize and racialize the healthcare issue. In this study, I ask how The New York Times (NYT) presents China's coronavirus responses and why through a comparative analysis. Specifically, I conduct a frame analysis and critical discourse analysis on 122 NYT news and opinion articles on China's and Italy's respective coronavirus responses between January and March 2020. My main finding is that the NYT depicts China negatively and presents Italy positively through simplified generalizations. I further explain that the othering process of China in the NYT reports demonstrates an immunology discrimination process in which news serves as a social immune system in the U.S. context.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Yuezhi Zhao
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essay) M.A.

Zones of violence: Serb women inside the siege of Sarajevo

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-09-02
Abstract: 

This dissertation explores a silenced history of violence that took place inside the 1992 to 1995 siege of Sarajevo, when the city was held under attack by Bosnian Serb forces (the Army of Republika Srpska, or VRS, Vojska Republike Srpske). Inside the siege, Serbs came to be associated with the ethnic aggressor, and faced violent retribution. I conceptualize the retributive violence inside the siege as an internal “zone of violence” that was made possible by the much larger external zone of VRS aggression. Today, the siege’s internal zone of violence remains a well-kept public secret, too contentious to commemorate. This research is based on one year of fieldwork in Sarajevo and over 60 interviews with 23 Bosnian Serb women who lived through the siege. It is divided into two parts. Part one offers an oral history of the siege’s internal zone of violence from the perspective of Bosnian Serb women. I describe their social decline from “neighbours” to “aggressors” inside the siege, a moral shift that made retributive violence thinkable, and permissible. Part two offers an ethnographic account of the afterlife of this silenced history of violence, as Bosnian Serb women navigate a fraught post-war ethno-moral landscape. This research makes two interventions. First, it unsettles the victim-perpetrator dichotomy, focusing attention onto a segment of post-war society about whom we know very little: victims on the side of the perpetrator. Second, it provides empirical data about an often overlooked dimension of war: the complicity of civilian women, describing how a minority of Bosnian Serb women supported the besieging army, even as they suffered its violence. I make a case for “opening up” the victim-perpetrator dichotomy in order to recognize complex subject positions that blur the line between “pure” victims or “pure” perpetrators. Asking what is at stake for post-conflict societies when recognition is withheld from such “impure victims,” I argue for the importance of recognizing suffering on the side of the perpetrator.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Parin Dossa
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Colouring complexes of planar triangulations and the line graphs of cubic graphs

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-17
Abstract: 

In order to study the parity of a k-colouring, Tutte introduced the notion of a k-colouring complex in 1969. Given a k-colourable graph X, the k-colouring complex Bk(X) is the graph which has all the independent sets which are colour classes of X as its vertices and two vertices A and B in V (Bk(X)) joined by an edge if the colour classes A and B appear together in a k-colouring of X. Subsequently, Fisk proved that the graph Bk(X) is k-colourable and discovered infinite families of graphs for which Bk(Bk(X)) is isomorphic to X. In this thesis, we resolve a question Tutte posed about the 4-colouring complex at one of his final public lectures in 1999. He asked whether the 4-colouring complex of a planar triangulation could have two components in which all colourings have the same parity. In response, we construct triangulations of the plane whose 4-colouring complexes have arbitrarily many even and odd components. Furthermore, we exhibit an infinite family of 4-connected triangulations of the plane whose 4-colouring complexes have an arbitrarily large number of even components, as well as a number of 5-connected triangulations of the plane whose 4-colouring complexes have at least two components in which all colourings have the same parity. In the later chapters of this thesis, we continue our study of the k-colouring complex, discovering many new infinite families of graphs X for which Bk(Bk(X)) is isomorphic to X. We call these graphs reflexive graphs. Most notably, if G is a 3-edge-colourable, connected, cubic (possibly including half-edges) outerplanar graph, we prove that L(G) is reflexive if and only if G is triangle-free. In order to establish this result, we show how to reduce questions about the reflexivity of a connected graph to questions about the reflexivity of its 2-edge-connected components. Then we determine conditions under which subdividing an edge preserves reflexivity. These two novel theorems are of independent interest. In particular, we apply the latter theorem to prove that theta graphs have reflexive line graphs.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Bojan Mohar
Department: 
Science: Department of Mathematics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Intergenerational perceptions of family care: Examining non-dyadic baby boomers and adult children of boomers

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-09-18
Abstract: 

The aging of the baby boomer (BB) generation (1946-1965) presents unique challenges for those planning future care contexts. Limited research has examined anticipated care perspectives of both BBs and adult children (AC). Drawing upon a critical life course perspective, this study aims to: (1) examine family care perceptions of BBs as future care recipients and non-dyadic AC of BBs as potential caregivers; and (2) explore perceived societal supports for family caregivers. Two focus groups of BBs (n=10) and two of AC (n=9) were conducted between January and March 2020. Thematic analyses revealed congruent and non-congruent generational viewpoints within four overarching themes: individual outlooks, social locations, and proximity; family preservation/care norms; perceived aging realities and plans; and negotiating contemporary care. Analyses also identified perceived systemic gaps and opportunities in community supports for aging families. Findings are discussed in relation to supporting those giving and receiving care across generations.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Barbara Mitchell
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gerontology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Dumping like a state: An environmental history of the City of Vancouver Landfill in Delta, 1958–1981

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-04
Abstract: 

In 1966, the City of Vancouver opened a new landfill in Burns Bog, in the nearby municipality of Delta. This is an environmental history of its creation and first sixteen years of operation. Although the landfill resembled other high modernist projects in postwar Canada, this thesis argues it is best understood as an example of “mundane modernism.” The landfill’s planning and operation aligned with broader contemporary American and Canadian practices of cost-effective waste disposal. It was an unspectacular project to which Deltans offered little initial resistance. Officials therefore had no need to demonstrate technoscientific expertise to manufacture citizens' consent. Yet the landfill soon posed environmental nuisances and hazards to Delta’s residents, including leachate, the liquid waste a landfill produces. Although Deltans mounted some protests, the mutually beneficial relationship between the municipalities of Delta and Vancouver protected the landfill’s operators from the consequences of mismanagement and allowed that mismanagement to continue throughout the 1960s and 1970s. This thesis suggests that further scholarly attention be paid to the history of solid waste management in Canada, and especially to specific sites such as the Burns Bog landfill.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Tina Adcock
Joseph Taylor III
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Localizing violations of approximate constraints for data error detection

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-14
Abstract: 

Error detection is key for data quality management. Leveraging domain knowledge in the form of user-specified constraints is one of the major approaches to error detection. A recent trend in error detection has been utilizing approximate constraints (ACs) that a relation is expected to satisfy only to a certain degree rather than completely. An example are the recently introduced statistical constraints, that allow the user to specify which correlations among attributes she expects to be present or absent in the data. Statistical constraints allow the user to express a broad range of statistical and causal domain knowledge. Extensive empirical investigations indicate that even traditional integrity constraints such as functional dependencies hold only approximately in real-world datasets. Approximate functional dependencies (AFDs) have been a data cleaning tool for some time. This thesis introduces a new technique for enhancing error detection with approximate constraints. Our starting observation is that approximate constraints are context-sensitive: the degree to which they are satisfied depends on the sub-population being considered. An error region is a subset of the data that violates an AC to a higher degree than the data as a whole, and is therefore more likely to contain erroneous records. For example, an error region may contain the set of records from before a certain year, or from a certain location. We describe an efficient algorithm for identifying distinct data regions that violate given ACs to different degrees, based on a recursive tree partitioning scheme. The learned trees describe different error regions in terms of data attributes that are easily interpreted by users (e.g. all records before 2003). This helps to explain to the user why some records were identified as likely errors. After identifying error regions, we can apply error detection methods to each error region separately, rather than to the dataset as a whole. Our empirical evaluation, done using four datasets containing both real world and synthetic errors, shows that identifying error regions increases both precision and recall of error detection based on ACs. Error regions can be combined not only with constraint-based error detection, but also with other approaches such as those based on machine learning. Our experiments provide evidence that the error regions boost the performance of machine learning methods.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Oliver Schulte
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Computing Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Statistical methods for tracking data in sports

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-21
Abstract: 

In this thesis, we examine player tracking data in basketball and soccer and explore statistical methods and applications related to this type of data. First, we present a method for nonparametric estimation of continuous-state Markov transition densities, using as our foundation a Poisson process representation of the joint input-output space of the Markovian transitions. Representing transition densities with a non-stationary point process allows the form of the transition density to vary rapidly over the space, resulting in a very flexible estimator of the transition mechanism. A key feature of this point process representation is that it allows the presence of spatial structure to inform transition density estimation. We illustrate this by using our method to model ball movement in the National Basketball Association, enabling us to capture the effects of spatial features, such as the three point line, that impact transition density values. Next, we consider a sports science application. Sports science has seen substantial benefit from player tracking data, as high resolution coordinate data permits sports scientists to have to-the-second estimates of external load metrics traditionally used to understand the physical toll a game takes on an athlete. Unfortunately, this data is not widely available. Algorithms have been developed that allow a traditional broadcast feed to be converted to x-y coordinate data, making tracking data easier to acquire, but coordinates are available for an athlete only when that player is within the camera frame. This leads to inaccuracies in player load estimates, limiting the usefulness of this data for sports scientists. In this research, we develop models that predict offscreen load metrics and demonstrate the viability of broadcast-derived tracking data for understanding external load in soccer. Finally, we address a tactics question in soccer. A key piece of information when evaluating a matchup in soccer is understanding the formations utilized by the different teams. Multiple researchers have developed methodology for learning these formations from tracking data, but they do not work when faced with the heavy censoring inherent to broadcast tracking data.We present an algorithm for aligning broadcast tracking data with the origin, and then show how the aligned data can be used to learn formations, with performance comparable to formations learned from the full tracking data.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Luke Bornn
Department: 
Science: Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Toric degenerations of rational curves of degree n+2 in P^n

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-11
Abstract: 

A common technique for studying a projective variety relies on finding a flat degeneration to a toric variety, which is a variety described by combinatorial data. However, it is not clear in general how to find such a degeneration or even if one exists. Ilten and Wrobel have shown that a very general rational plane curve of degree at least four does not admit this degeneration. In this thesis, we investigate the existence of toric degenerations for the special case of projective rational curves of degree n+2 in P^n where n≥3. Using work of Buczyński, Ilten, and Ventura, we obtain explicit parametrizations for all rational curves of degree n+2 in P^n and characterize which of these admit such a degeneration. Our results show that for these curves, the problem of having a toric degeneration can be decided algorithmically.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Nathan Ilten
Department: 
Science: Department of Mathematics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

An evaluation of the reliability and quality of expert and novice forensic case formulations

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-13
Abstract: 

Forensic case formulation is an under-studied and growing area within the violence risk assessment literature. The current study aimed to address gaps in the literature by examining the interrater reliability (IRR) and quality of forensic case formulations by comparing Expert and Novice raters. N = 50 intimate partner violence offender files were accessed. Four raters (n = 2 Experts, n = 2 Novices) rated each file using all steps of Spousal Assault Risk Assessment Guide-Version 3 (SARA-V3; Kropp & Hart, 2015). Cases were formulated using a Decision Theory approach in which motivating, disinhibiting, and destabilizing mechanisms were identified. The distribution of ratings for these mechanisms was presented. IRR was examined using a novel coefficient, Gwet’s AC. Raters also completed narrative case formulations. Then a Within Case and Across Case paired case design involving n = 143 narrative formulation pairs was conducted with three new raters. The similarity of paired formulations was evaluated. Raters also assessed the quality of formulations using the Case Formulation Quality Checklist-Revised (CFQC-R; McMurran & Bruford, 2016). For most formulation mechanisms, distribution of Presence ratings was skewed. Overall, across Experts and Novices, the IRR of formulation mechanisms ranged from poor to almost perfect (AC2 = .10. - .98), with most coefficients falling between the moderate and almost perfect ranges. The similarity of formulations was established; Within Case paired formulations were judged as more similar than Across Case paired formulations. Finally, formulations were high in quality; Experts produced higher quality formulations than Novices.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Stephen D. Hart
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.