Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

Receive updates for this collection

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.

The Neoliberal Biopolitics of Climate Security: Resilience and the European Union’s Securitization of Climate Change

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-12-22
Abstract: 

Contemporary understandings of resilience were initially developed in the discipline of ecology to theorize ecosystems’ capacities to absorb, adapt, and transform in the face of shocks and stresses. Since then, the concept of resilience has informed a versatile and highly mobile set of guiding principles that have migrated to numerous policy fields. In recent years, it has also been a partial yet increasingly powerful prism through which climate change has been constructed as a security threat. In this regard, some populations, mainly residing in the Global South, are deemed insufficiently resilient to the effects of climate change, thereby generating risks of societal disruption, state failure, and population displacement that may adversely affect the Global North. The critical resilience literature has argued that the rise of resilience-thinking is predicated on its intuitive resonance with a neoliberal injunction to be self-reliant. An examination of European Union (EU) institutions’ and agencies’ climate security discourse and practices corroborates this claim, while also generating novel insights into neoliberalism’s contemporary role in the social construction of threats. However, it also reveals the role of antecedent security discourses and practices – in particular human security, risk management, and the security-development nexus – in structuring climate threat discourse. Drawing from the Paris School of Security Studies and from Foucauldian writings on biopolitics, this project argues that the entanglement of resilience and climate security in EU discourse is a function of both antecedent biopolitical security practices, and distinctly neoliberal sensibilities. The EU’s securitization of climate change, in effect, transfers responsibility for managing the effects of climate change away from societies chiefly responsible for it, and onto people most burdened by it.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
James Busumtwi-Sam
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.

A novel technological and collaborative approach to mapping deep-sea benthic habitats and assessing risks from bottom contact fishing

Date created: 
2016-12-19
Abstract: 

Bottom longline fishing gear can damage sensitive benthic areas (SBAs) in the ocean; however, the risks to these habitats are poorly understood. In this study we describe a collaborative academic-industry-government approach to mapping SBAs and measuring gear interactions with seafloor habitats via novel deepwater trap camera and motion-sensing systems on commercial longline traps for Sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria) within the SGaan Kinghlas - Bowie Seamount Marine Protected Area. We obtained direct presence-absence observations of cold-water corals and sponges that were used to develop species distribution models of gorgonian corals (Alcyonacea) in fished areas. Video, accelerometer and depth sensor data were used to classify gear movement, estimating a mean bottom footprint of 3 200 m2 (95% CI = 2 400 - 3 900 m2) for a 60-trap Sablefish longline set approximately 3 km in length. Our successful collaboration demonstrates how research partnerships with the fishing industry offer new opportunities for conducting SBA risk assessments over large spatial and temporal scales.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Sean Cox
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.R.M.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging in white matter using 3 T gradient-echo-planar imaging

Date created: 
2016-12-14
Abstract: 

White matter structures make up functional connectivity of the brain. The ability to observe white matter in action will provide insight into both normal brain function, as well as diseases characterized by loss of white matter integrity. Detection of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) activation in white matter is has been increasingly reported despite historically being controversial. The majority of development work to-date has used high-field MRI and specialized pulse sequences. In the current study, we utilized 3T MRI and a commonly applied gradient echo (GRE) echo-planar imaging (EPI) sequence to probe the robustness of fMRI activation using conventional clinical conditions. Functional activity was stimulated in target regions of interest within the corpus callosum, using an established visual-motor interhemispheric transfer task. The results confirmed that it was possible to detect white matter fMRI activation at the group level (N = 13, healthy individuals). Individual analyses revealed that 8 of the 13 individuals showed white matter activation in the body of the corpus callosum. Overall, the group results replicated prior 4 T MRI studies, but showed a lower percentage of individuals with activation. The findings support the concept that while white matter activation is detectable, the activation levels are close to thresholds used for routine 3 T MRI studies. Furthermore, by applying alternate hemodynamic response functions during analysis, larger clusters of activation were seen at the group-level

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Carolyn Sparrey
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.Sc.

The Electrophysiology of Cognitive Dissonance-elicited Attitude Change

Date created: 
2016-12-08
Abstract: 

Despite the influence that cognitive dissonance theory has had in psychology over the last sixty years, its neural correlates have only recently been investigated. The current study used electroencephalography (EEG) to explore cognitive dissonance-elicited attitude change in a free-choice paradigm. Event-related potentials (ERPs) time-locked to stimulus onset found greater voltage negativity over centro-parietal scalp during re-evaluation of dissonant choice items relative to consonant choice items, and greater negativity over left lateral anterior scalp during trials containing dissonance-reducing attitude change relative to trials without. Left lateral anterior scalp voltage amplitude was found to be negatively correlated with the magnitude of resulting attitude change. A time-frequency analysis revealed effects for high and low alpha and theta frequencies. These finding are consistent with a model of cognitive dissonance in which cortical projections of ventral striatal activity reflect reward signal changes, and where left prefrontal cortex is recruited for cognitive control and emotional down-regulation.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Mario Liotti
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Eco-cultural restoration as a step towards co-management: lessons from the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-12-06
Abstract: 

This case study examines co-management in national parks and protected areas using theory on institutional arrangements of common pool resources. I apply a co-management framework to evaluate how characteristics of the community, of the resource, of the state agency, and of the institutional arrangement support co-management in a partnership between Parks Canada and Hul’qumi’num communities in the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve (GINPR). Results show that state and community partnerships can foster co-management even without formal structures for sharing power and decision-making. Notably, the nature of the institutional arrangement, which focuses on restoring a clam garden, supports co-management by challenging conservation approaches that restrict human activities in order to protect biodiversity. In the GINPR, informal processes were integral to successful outcomes. These processes directed energy to address local priorities using conservation approaches that are driven by local First Nations values. Nevertheless, co-management is limited without equitable sharing of power in key management functions: planning, policy making, data collection, and analysis.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John Welch
Evelyn Pinkerton
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)

Optimal nonequilibrium driving of a rotary mechanochemical motor

Date created: 
2016-11-24
Abstract: 

Prompted by current experiments on mechanically driven F1 ATP synthase, we investigate optimal (minimum-dissipation) driving protocols of rotary mechanochemical motors. We propose a simple model system coupling chemical reactions to mechanical motion under periodic boundary conditions, driven by a periodic time-dependent force. Under linear response approximations near equilibrium and near nonequilibrium steady states, optimal driving protocols are determined by a generalized friction coefficient. Such a model has a periodic generalized friction coefficient that peaks near system energy barriers, implying optimal protocols that proceed rapidly when the system is overwhelmingly in a single macrostate, but slow significantly near energy barriers, harnessing thermal fluctuations to kick the system over the energy barriers for free.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
David Sivak
Department: 
Science: Department of Physics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Sedimentology, Geochemistry, and Geochronology of unit PR1 of the lower Fifteenmile group and the Pinguicula Group, Wernecke and Ogilvie Mountains, Yukon, Canada: Mesoproterozoic environments and paleocontinental reconstructions

Date created: 
2016-12-14
Abstract: 

Unit PR1 of the lower Fifteenmile group and the Pinguicula Group are exposed in Ogilvie and Wernecke mountains, Yukon, Canada. Unit PR1 records deposition of turbiditic interbedded sandstone and mudstone with scattered carbonate olistoliths. The Pinguicula Group records deposition of non-cyclic siliciclastic and carbonate strata on low-energy slopes affected by rare high-energy deposits. The Pinguicula Group comprises three newly formalised formations: the Mount Landreville, Pass Mountain, and Rubble Creek (formerly units A, B, and C, respectively). The older unit PR1 has a near-unimodal detrital zircon population with an age of 1499 ± 2.7 Ma and εNd(t) values from -8.17 to 3.92. Overall, detrital zircon data from the Pinguicula Group display a polymodal detrital zircon population with a maximum age of <1322 ± 23 Ma and εNd(t) values from -1.55 to 1.12. C-isotopic analyses from the Pinguicula Group record average δ13C values ranging from -0.64 to +1.6‰ Vienna Pee Dee Belemnite (VPDB). Stratigraphic correlations between the Pinguicula Group in the Wernecke and Hart River inliers have been confirmed using lithostratigraphy, combined with detrital zircon U-Pb geochronology, Sm-Nd, and C-isotope signatures. The Pinguicula Group and unit PR1 are no longer considered correlative based on differences in detrital zircon signatures and Sm-Nd isotopic data. Detrital zircon ages from unit PR1 fall into the North American Magmatic Gap (NAMG; 1610-1490 Ma) and therefore sediment in unit PR1 is interpreted to have been from the Mt. Isa inlier in northeastern Australia. The PR1 basin may have been deposited as early as 1460 Ma on Laurentia’s northwestern margin, coincident with the Belt-Purcell, Yankee Joe/Defiance, and Trampas basins that formed during the break-up of supercontinent Columbia. These basins derived some or all of their sediment from Australia and the Mawson continent. Younger Mesoproterozoic strata, deposited after 1.45 Ga, including the Missoula Group and Marqueñas Formation, lack NAMG-aged zircons and instead record a shift in sediment provenance to southern Laurentia as north Australia and the Mawson continent rifted from Laurentia’s western margin. The Pinguicula Group (<1322 Ma) was probably fed from southern Laurentian Granite-Rhyolite provinces with NAMG-aged zircons recycled from older Mesoproterozoic strata.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Derek Thorkelson
Department: 
Science: Department of Earth Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Towards a suburban spatial epidemiology: differentiating geographical patterns of cancer incidence, patient access, and surgical treatment in Canada’s urban fringe

Date created: 
2016-11-18
Abstract: 

Epidemiological studies have traditionally categorised study populations as urban or rural. However, a growing proportion of the global population resides in spaces that are neither dense urban cores nor rural/remote regions. These interstices are distinctly suburban, featuring a low density of services, poor walkability, and spatial isolation relative to their urban counterparts. Contrary to the dominant imaginary of the affluent ‘American Dream’, Canada’s suburbs are increasingly becoming home to socioeconomically deprived populations. Following from the well-established links between socioeconomic status and health geographies, this dissertation presents quantitative geographical evidence that the suburbs differ from their urban and rural counterparts, constituting a third, epidemiologically distinct space. The first substantive chapter provides an introductory tracing of the suburb’s socioeconomic history, laying the contextual foundation for a distinct categorisation. The following three chapters then draw upon this categorisation to differentiate spatial epidemiological patterns of cancer along both urban/suburban/rural and socioeconomic axes. The second chapter uses exploratory temporal mapping to document a recent emergence of oral cancer cases in British Columbia’s suburbs, geographically coincident with immigration from betel quid-chewing regions and an increase in local socioeconomic deprivation. The third chapter then explores head and neck cancer patients’ spatial access to cancer treatment centres across the province, highlighting significantly greater travel times among the most deprived suburban and rural populations. The fourth chapter evaluates whether these spatial and socioeconomic disparities reflect actual treatment rates, focussing on resection surgeries for five cancer types across Canada, excluding Québec. Resection rates were positively associated with socioeconomic deprivation in rural areas and inversely associated in urban areas, while the highest overall rates were observed in middle-SES suburban populations. Drawing upon these three cancer studies, this dissertation proposes a suburban spatial epidemiology, in which suburbs are differentiated from urban and rural spaces. I conclude by asserting that the suburbs’ unique placial contexts merit standalone attention in health research, calling for further examination of suburban spaces in epidemiological research.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Nadine Schuurman
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Compounding Fractures: State-Society Relations and Inter-Ethnic Estrangement in Thailand’s ‘Deep South’

Date created: 
2016-11-28
Abstract: 

This dissertation examines the effects of state-society relations on processes of ethnic boundary-making and boundary-shifting in two villages in the conflict-affected region of southernmost Thailand. The study builds on an existing body of research that attempts to explain the persistence of anti-state violence in the border region of southern Thailand through the examination of state-society relations and problems of state legitimacy. Rather than seeking to explain the factors driving violent conflict, however, this study takes as its focus relations between the distinct ethno-religious communities that comprise the region’s population. The substantive chapters of the dissertation analyze relations between residents of two adjacent villages and various institutions of the Thai state. These include state security agencies (most prominently, the Border Patrol Police), various state-sponsored militias (including the Or Ror Bor and Chor Ror Bor), the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre, the district administration, the subdistrict council and executive, and the village headmen and Village Administrative Committees. Thus, the analysis begins from a conception of the state as non-unitary and consisting of numerous distinct entities. The analysis proceeds by treating relations between residents of the villages and these various aspects of the state as distinct fields of social struggle. Comparisons are then drawn between various identifiable ethno-religious communities. Data for this study were collected over the course of 13-month period of ethnographic field research in two villages in an upland subdistrict of Bannangsata District, Yala Province. That district has been one of those most severely affected by the upsurge in organized anti-state violence in the region over the past 12 years. The villages are presented as fruitful sites for investigating the processes by which categories of identity shift and the boundaries that define them are made, remade and reinforced.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John Harriss
Department: 
? by Home Dept & Faculty of Senior Supervisor: Special Arrangements
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

ExquiMo: An Exquisite Corpse Tool for Co-creative 3D Shape Modeling

Date created: 
2016-12-11
Abstract: 

We introduce a shape modeling tool, ExquiMo, which is guided by the idea of improving the creativity of 3D shape designs through collaboration. Inspired by the game of Exquisite Corpse, our tool allocates distinct parts of a shape to multiple players who model the assigned parts in a sequence. Our approach is motivated by the understanding that effective surprise leads to creative outcomes. Hence, to maintain the surprise factor of the output, we conceal the previously modeled parts from the most recent player. Part designs from individual players are fused together to produce an often unexpected, hence creative, end result. We demonstrate the effectiveness of collaborative modeling for both man-made and natural shapes. Our results show that, when compared to models designed by individual users, multi-user collaborative modeling via ExquiMo tends to lead to more creative designs in terms of the most common criteria used to identify creative artifacts.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Hao Zhang
Daniel Cohen-Or
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Computing Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.