Alumni Dissertations and Theses

 
 

Alumni Dissertations and Theses

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  • Nomadic Impulses, De-centered Bodies: Female Agency and Corporeality in the Cinema of French and Francophone Women Directors (1962-2007).

    Author:
    Viral Bhatt
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    French
    Advisor:
    Francesca Sautman
    Abstract:

    This project is about female corporeal agency, but it is also about identity, sexuality, desire and gender. It is about balancing feminist theory alongside the filmic text in a way that is not reductive to either medium. What I have learned as I embarked upon this study was that studying corporeality through the filmic medium would and should mean so much more than simply outlining how the female body enters the filmic text. If I were to study the latter it would simply imply indicating that the female body does indeed play a central role. What I have wanted to study and outline is how the female body becomes an agent of change in the filmic medium I have selected. As a result, each of my chapters is thematically oriented so that films are not grouped with respect to their countries of origin but often oriented towards the creative expression of the body such as embroidery, singing and or dance. In engaging the question of the female body it became tantamount to survey feminist theories from around the world so that the theories from the so-called First World and Third World would be part of the dialogue. Therefore, Chapter 1 offers readings and interpretations of those feminist theories from both the Western world and the "Third World" that have informed my understanding of critical points of inquiry in my study and my own development as a feminist. These comprise of sex, gender, desire, sexuality, culture, tradition and custom. The theoreticians whose works I analyze and with whom I enter into dialogue include but are not limited to: Luce Irigaray, Monique Wittig, Judith Butler, Uma Narayan and Chandra Talpade Mohanty. Additionally, in Chapter 2, in my development of The Nomad, conceived from Rosi Braidotti and her theoretical musings, I also involve the theories, amongst others, of Judith Butler and Gloria Anzaldua. The Nomadic Impulse and the Nomadic project are thus praxis-minded initiatives derived from the figuration of the Nomad. The impulse and project are thus generated within the viewer, in the need to effect change, and in the realms of future possibility.

  • Interfacial Transport Processes Involved in the Surfactant Facilitated Wetting of Liquids on Solid Surfaces and Non-wetting on Superhydrophobic Surfaces.

    Author:
    Nikhil Bhole
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Engineering
    Advisor:
    Charles Maldarelli
    Abstract:

    The control of the wetting properties of aqueous solutions on surfaces is critical to the implementation of many industrial technologies. Aqueous solutions are often required to rapidly wet hydrophobic solid and liquid (oil) surfaces. Surfactants, dissolved above the critical micelle concentration, are useful in quickly reducing aqueous/solid and aqueous/oil tensions to facilitate spreading. In other applications, aqueous droplets are required to roll over surfaces, and surfaces engineered with textures which trap air between grooves as the drop moves over the surface retain large droplet contact angles and reduced friction, which causes rolling. The first part of this dissertation studies the transport of surfactant from an aqueous micellar solution to an oil phase, initially without surfactant, which is placed in contact with the water. Surfactant monomer diffuses and adsorbs from the aqueous phase onto the interface, and subsequently desorbs into the oil. The decrease in the surfactant monomer concentration in the vicinity of the surface disturbs the monomer-micelle equilibrium causing the micelles to break down to replenish the sublayer with monomer. The increase results in a more rapid reduction in interfacial tension. However, when the micellar concentration is too low, the micelle diffusion flux required to replenish the monomer underneath the surface cannot be achieved, and a zone is formed (just underneath the oil-water interface) from which micelles completely disappear. This micelle-free zone, which retreats from the surface, represents a barrier to the enhanced surfactant flux to the surface. A fluorescing dye is trapped in the micelles to provide a fluorescence contrast so that the micelle-free zone can be located. A Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope is used to spatially resolve the micelle-free zone, and measure the movement of the zone from the interface. A diffusion limited transport model is also developed which predicts the location of the micelle-free zone as a function of time, and compares well with the experiments. Part two of the dissertation focuses on studying the (superhydrophobic) non-wetting behavior demonstrated by aqueous droplets on surfaces consisting of a periodic array of micron-sized posts. Boundary integral hydrodynamic solutions for the two dimensional, inertialess, gravity-driven movement of a droplet over this microtexture are obtained to understand the flow on the length scale of the topography. Two regimes are identified: In one, the advancing line spreads relatively easily over the top of a post, sticks to the back of the post, develops increasing curvature and finally jumps to the next post. This cycle repeats until the drop becomes tethered to the back of a post and achieves equilibrium. In the second, the advancing line again cycles between wetting, sticking and jumping, but penetrates the grove between the posts before jumping. This behavior, which precedes the full wetting regime, occurs when the contact angle of the post material is reduced or, the pitch between posts becomes large.

  • Synthesis and characterization of Lanthanide Aluminotungstates and Rhenium Polyoxometalates: Potential Application in Molecular Information Storage Devices

    Author:
    Fang Bian
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Chemistry
    Advisor:
    Lynn Francesconi
    Abstract:

    Abstract Synthesis, speciation, and application of Polyoxometalates: Redox Molecular Information Storage Device Pre-research and Rhenium Chemistry By Fang Bian Adviser: Professor Lynn C. Francesconi Polyoxometalates (abbreviated as POMs) are metal-oxide clusters with frameworks built from group 5 or 6 transition metals linked by shared oxide ions. The Keggin structure is one of the most famous structural forms of POMs. Keggin anions have a general formula of [XM12O40]n-, where X is a p-block atom and M is a transition metal atom such as W or Mo. Upon removal of one MO4+ unit from the Keggin anion, the monovacant structure [XM11O39]n- is formed. Those POMs that have lost one or more metal center are called lacunary POMs, which are very nice building blocks for the fabrication of coordination polymers. My research focuses on two facets of POM chemistry: 1) Lanthanide chemistry of aluminum tungstate monovacant Keggin and 2) Rhenium chemistry of aluminum tungstate Keggin and Wells-Dawson POM a1-P2W17O61. In lanthanide POM research area, we obtained the following results: 1) The starting material aluminum tungstate monovacant Keggin α-K9AlW12O39 was synthesized. Its single crystal was firstly identified by multinuclear NMR and X-ray crystallography. Its redox properties on the nano-scale solid state were determined by Conducting Electrostatic Force Mode (EFM) probes. It is well known that for POMs, a number of varies redox states are normally stable and reversible. Thus we estimated that POMs can potentially be used in molecular information storage applications, which we refer to as "redox disk drives". 2) Eight lanthanide aluminum tungstate Keggin complexes were synthesized. In their molecular structures (identified by multinuclear NMR and X-ray crystallography), each α-AlW11O39 is connected by lanthanide (III) cations to form 1D and 2D networks. All AlW11O39 Keggin POMs are regularly aligning on a flat plane. Microscopic data also verified that there is layer-by-layer morphology in this series of compounds. Overall, we postulate that aluminum tungstate Keggin POMs are a very promising materials for making future information storage device because they have several stable redox states and can be reduced by adding voltage in solid state, The Keggin POMs can be regularly aligned on a flat plane, 3) In rhenium chemistry research area, we successfully synthesized rhenium complexes of the [a1-P2W17O61]10- and α-K9AlW13O39. The structure info of [ReVO(a1-P2W17O61)]7- was identified by multinuclear NMR and X-ray crystallography. The cyclic-voltammetry of [ReVO(a1-P2W17O61)]7- has also been measured and compared to the [ReVO(a2-P2W17O61)]7- isomer. A rhenium derivative of α-K9AlW11O39 also has been synthesized. Multinuclear NMR gives structure information. After oxidation in air, this compound can aggregate to form insoluble nanoparticles.

  • The Thief of Paradise: Milton and Seventh-day Adventism

    Author:
    Ian Bickford
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    English
    Advisor:
    Joan Richardson
    Abstract:

    This dissertation has two protagonists. One is John Milton. The other is Ellen Gould White, prophetess of Seventh-day Adventism and among the most overlooked, by ratio to her scope and impact, of American nineteenth-century theological writers. Their relationship, White's to Milton, Milton's to White, is not untroubled. It includes moments of uncertainty, of evasion, of occasional deception, moments when the record of their rapport disappears and threatens not to reappear. Yet the curve of this relationship, because broken, indicates something not only of Milton's surfacing in America but, to adopt a term from Henry James, the "abysses" from which he surfaces - and into which at times he recedes. I will demonstrate that Seventh-day Adventism comprises not only one of the most extensive absorptions of Milton into American religious, political, and literary life, but also one of the most important - which is to say, White's encounter with Milton instantiated more than a garden-variety literary appropriation, but an appropriation with ripples, ripples amplifying to waves. If we are to believe Carlos Martyn's suggestion in the first American book-length biography of Milton that "it may, in some sense, be said that religious and political America sprang from Milton's brain," we must then understand White's prophetic writings to be a crucial platform for the acrobatics of that event. The platform is ever more crucial, moreover, as Adventism continues to expand in membership at an enormous rate and as that expansion acquires an international emphasis: America, having sprung from Milton, then springs a distinctively American version of Milton into a global milieu. I hope to describe why White's Miltonic appropriation matters, hence to open within Milton studies as well as American studies an expansive new field of application and significance for Milton's avowed ambition that "I might perhaps leave something so written to aftertimes, as they should not willingly let it die."

  • ENHANCING THE PERFORMANCE OF ACTIVE CONNECTIONS IN MANETS THROUGH DYNAMIC ROUTE AND POWER OPTIMIZATION

    Author:
    Zeki Bilgin
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Computer Science
    Advisor:
    Bilal Khan
    Abstract:

    In this thesis, we consider two significant problems that occur within active connections in mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs). These are: (A) degradation of path optimality in terms of hop count, and (B) failures on the constituents links of a path. Both phenomena occur over time because of node movement. Our investigation considers what can be done to minimize their occurrence of both, after the problem of initial route selection has been resolved by standard MANET routing protocols. In developing solutions to the aforementioned problems, we identified two broad and complementary approaches: (i) Variable topology, fixed power: These approaches assume that the transmission power of the nodes is kept fixed, but the topology of the connections is modifiable during their lifetimes. (ii) Variable power, fixed topology: These approaches assume that the topological structure of the connection must be kept fixed, but the transmission power levels used by constituent nodes is adjustable. Within approach (i), we developed (A) two new route optimization schemes that seek to shorten path lengths by eliminating inessential hops "on-the-fly", without relying on promiscuous mode of wireless cards, and (B) two new route maintenance schemes that circumvent impending link failures and heal broken links in an efficient way. We implemented our schemes in the ns2 packet level network simulator, as extension to the Ad hoc On Demand Distance Vector (AODV) routing protocol. Through extensive simulations, we show that our schemes are able to optimize path lengths, increase connection lifetime, reduce overall control traffic overhead, decrease end-to-end delay, and provide energy savings in packet transmissions. Within approach (ii), we developed (B) several new dynamic power budget distribution schemes. These were evaluated using a new model in which each connection is assigned a fixed power budget, and seeks to distribute this budget among its constituent nodes so as to increase the connection's lifetime. We implemented our schemes as a discrete event simulation. Through extensive simulation experiments, we showed that our schemes are able to consistently improve connection lifetimes without excessive additional control traffic overhead. The conclusions of both studies are seen to hold scalably as one varies situational parameters such as network size, number of connections, and node mobility levels.

  • Producing Bodies, Knowledge, and Community in Everyday Civilian Struggle over Surveillance

    Author:
    Michelle Billies
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Michelle Fine
    Abstract:

    In a global context of rapidly expanding security practices, those cast as social threats are themselves often most risk of harm. In this dissertation, I develop the concept surveillance threat (ST) to describe the perception or experience of impending or actual harm faced by targeted civilians when they are stopped or screened by law enforcement. Singled out by race and other lines of sociocultural force, those stopped risk physical, legal, sexual, and spatial consequences. Yet focusing solely on the risk of harm limits the full meaning of this encounter. As I show in my research, civilians persistently struggle against these threats. Using the police practice of "stop and frisk" in New York City as a case study, I analyze ST and civilian response from the civilian perspective. In my mixed methods approach, I bring together survey and narrative data on stop and frisk, widening the unit of analysis from unidirectional harm to multidirectional struggle. Shifting attention to the interaction as a dynamic reframes these relations of power as more than a simple, imbalanced opposition. Instead, based on my findings, I theorize an embodied civilian psychology of responsiveness to threat that enables those targeted to engage the encounter as an active site of conflict. I find civilians consistently claim their rights, protect themselves and others, assert social power, construct critical knowledge, and pursue justice. Applying Abu Lughod's (1990) insight <“>where there is resistance, there is power,<”> I then study how civilians enact urban civil life through their interactions with police, recognizing a collective imaginary civilians draw on to influence the conditions of their daily lives. With concern for the ways police practice is restructuring urban environments by enforcing particular raced sexualities and genders, I bring a special focus to civilian constructions of racialized, sexual, and gender-infused space.

  • Bureaupathology and Organizational Fraud Prevention: Case Studies of Fraud Hotlines

    Author:
    Chelsea Binns
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Criminal Justice
    Advisor:
    F. Warren Benton
    Abstract:

    This dissertation examined the effect of organizational bureaucracy on fraud hotline performance. Fraud hotlines are used to receive anonymous fraud tips from employees in all sectors to prevent and detect fraud. This work contributes to the research on fraud hotlines, which today is very light. This work also examined individual hotline performance against organization theory, which is absent in the literature. The literature also doesn't include studies using social media data to determine organizational climate. This work contributes to that literature by providing a collective case study examination of the fraud hotlines in six organizations. Their hotline performance was examined in light of the Theory of Bureaucracy. According to the literature, the condition of organizational bureaupathology can result in crime concealment, reduced fraud reporting, and/or reduced hotline performance. To determine the presence and level of dysfunctional organizational bureaucracy and bureaupathology with respect to employees, the primary audience of fraud hotlines, this study qualitatively measured employee perception of specific bureaucracy and bureaupathology indicators in their workplace by examining their company review submissions in social media. Hotlines were evaluated using their individual level hotline metrics/statistics and also by examining their specifications, metrics, functionality, and adherence to best practices. Interviews with hotline administrators, an evaluation of the level of reported organizational fraud, and consideration of the historical context was also considered in evaluating the overall performance of the hotlines. This study ultimately determined there is no consistent relationship between organizational bureaupathology and hotline performance. At times, where an organization had more bureaupathology, the hotline tended to perform better, in terms of its metrics, functionality and adherence to best practices. At other times, hotlines with lower levels of bureaupathology tended to perform worse than their counterparts. These organizations were in the private sector, so the sector where a given hotline is operated may be a factor. This study further found better functioning hotlines didn't have less internal fraud. Organizations where employees perceived a high presence of the bureaucracy indicators "Insistence on the Rights of Office" and "Impersonal Treatment" tended to have a better adherence to hotline best practices, yet had a higher instance of internal fraud in comparison to organizations. In other words, the conditions that contribute to a successful hotline may also give rise to fraud, and or inhibit fraud reporting, in the same organizations. This study further determined fraud hotlines might not prevent fraud. Regardless of hotline performance, including the number of calls received, all of the subject organizations experienced employee crime. These results are contrary to expectations but consistent with bureaupathology theory, which says that employees in excessive bureaucracies adhere strongly to organizational rules and procedures and may be incapable of responding to unpredictable events. As a result of the aforementioned findings, organizational hotline assessment methodology should consider external factors, such as the historical context, presence of internal fraud and employee sentiment as factors in assessing organizational fraud, in assessing hotline performance.

  • GENDER (IN)EQUALITY IN POLAND FOUR YEARS AFTER ENTERING THE EU: YOUNG POLISH FEMINISTS SPEAK THEIR MINDS - CASE STUDY OF KONSOLA ORGANIZATION

    Author:
    Maria Biskup
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Sociology
    Advisor:
    Hester Eisenstein
    Abstract:

    This dissertation concerns the study of gender (in)equality in Poland as it is experienced by the young Polish feminists themselves. Through in depth interviews, an ethnographic study of young Polish feminists belonging to the most active feminist organization in Poznan, Poland, supplemented by works of contemporary Eastern European as well as Western feminists I have tried to show how feminism is experienced, explained, lived through, fought for and talked about in contemporary European Union belonging Poland. I argue that feminism, although known on a large scale in Poland, still has a status of a problematic word on which a spell of suspicion had been set due to particulars of Polish history, including the treatment of gender issues by the Communist government, the Solidarity Trade Movement and the understated power of the Polish Catholic Church in this matter. Because each of these institutions created their own meaning of gender rights and feminism overall, these confusing messages have for years entangled and problematized the meaning of feminism, creating unflattering stereotypes of what feminism is as a movement, who feminists are, what they are fighting for and in what manners. Feminism became associated with images of burly women who burn bras, don't shave their legs and hate men. Although feminism in Poland is still largely relegated to the academic sphere, the actions these young active feminists take, such as their growing presence on the local scale through organizing, sponsoring and coordinating feminist events, cooperation with other women's organizations in organizing, conferences and publications on the issues of women's presence on the local and national levels in the media, have been slowly paying off. Because of the efforts of women from KONSOLA, feminism is becoming a less problematic word in the contemporary Poland.

  • Arts Work: A Typology of Skills for Arts-Based Group Workers

    Author:
    Mary Bitel
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Social Welfare
    Advisor:
    Harriet Goodman
    Abstract:

    The arts are utilized in groups across the applied humanities and social sciences with a wide range of populations to address a multitude of individual, group, and community needs. Despite literature suggesting challenges to the implementation of mutual aid based groups in social work, a body of empirical evidence exists on the use and benefits of the arts in working with groups across social science disciplines, including social work. In groups that utilize purposeful activity, balance of group process and task completion is integral to the development of the group as a system of mutual aid. Through interviews with a sample of expressive arts group practitioners, this study sought to identify the skills expressive artists used and to determine whether those skills had a significant impact on group dynamics. This study explored expressive artists' rationale for the intervention skills they used. It also explored whether their work with groups suggested additional skills beyond those articulated in the social work literature to promote group dynamics including development of a system in mutual aid and the balance of group process and creative task completion. The researcher developed a performance-based typology of skills in response to how expressive artists described the skills and tools they used in activity-based group work. This typology reflected a focus on performance-rooted traits, facilitative skills, and interventions that resembled aspects of the interactional or mutual aid approach to group work but moved beyond that model to address the unique aspect of creative arts in groups. The typology of skills presented in this study suggest an expanded and highly engaged role for the worker; it supports a fluid, cyclical quality in the use of skills and interventions that moves beyond the approach provided in traditional models of social group work. Most significantly, it suggests that arts-based group worker's primary and essential task lies in the consistent balance of group process and creative task completion. Engagement around both process and task promote the transmission of voice to group members, a significant aspect of this study that has implications for anti-oppression work across the field of social work.

  • Meaning Making at the Interface of Gender, Disability, and Policy: Physically Disabled Women in London and Coventry, England Explore the Covention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

    Author:
    Heidi Bjorgan
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Anna Stetsenko
    Abstract:

    Historically, persons with disabilities are socially, culturally, and economically underprivileged and neglected worldwide (WHO, 2006, 2011) and this is especially true of women with disabilities. The intersection between women's gender and their disabilities, although overlooked for many decades, has been described as the phenomenon of a dual handicap. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD, 2006) was created to protect the rights of all people with disabilities and, for the first time in history, identified women with disabilities as a population that has unique rights and needs that warrant special legislation and protection. This qualitative study explores the lived experiences of physically disabled women living in England, while contextualizing them within the discourse on disability rights within the sociocultural and historical-political context (England). The lived experiences of physically disabled women are posited to be mediated by human rights documents as well as by political discourses and practices that surround and accompany these documents. Framed in socio-historical cultural theory (Vygotsky, 1978) and Bakhtin's (1986) dialogical works, this study investigates how policy documents are meaning-making systems (Daiute, 2008, 2010) that shape and serve as the tools to organize and frame disabled women's experiences. Narratives collected through group meetings with 18 physically disabled women in London and Coventry, England, were first analyzed using a values analysis (Daiute, Stern, & Lelutiu-Weinberger, 2003) to understand the interactions between the CRPD and women's lives. Then a discourse analysis of group narratives and policy documents (Daiute, 2008) was conducted across the CRPD (2006) and the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW, 1979) as activity- meaning making systems. Finally, a historical analysis of disability and gender within the UK and the UN was conducted. The major findings indicate that the intersection of gender and disability is historically absent within UK and UN activity-meaning systems (Daiute, 2008, 2010) as enacted in the CRPD and CEDAW treaty. The values analysis revealed disability and diversity education at local levels (schools, councils, hospitals) and their own participation in local politics, specifically for Lambeth, with a high level of value expressions. Surprisingly, both groups given their right to have a family and a home took an opposing view to the CRPD values. Interestingly, both groups described social practices such as staring, being ignored by others as being issues within their daily lived experiences, but still provided a subjective view to Article 6: Women and Disabilities. The study suggests that there is a need for further research on disabled women's perspectives and experiences within the discourse of human rights in order to develop socio-political practices that support rather than isolate disabled women.