Alumni Dissertations and Theses

 
 

Alumni Dissertations and Theses

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  • Systematic Asymmetries in Perception and Production of L2 Inflections in Mandarin L2 Learners of English: The Effects of Phonotactics, Salience, and Processing Pressure on Inflectional Variability

    Author:
    Timothy Bonner
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Linguistics
    Advisor:
    Gita Martohardjono
    Abstract:

    The study of language production by adults who are learning a second language (L2) has received a good deal of attention especially when it comes to omission of inflectional morphemes within L2 utterances. Several explanations have been proposed for these inflectional errors. One explanation is that the L2 learner simply does not have the L2 syntactic or prosodic representation in his grammar leading to omission of surface inflections (Hawkins & Liszka, 2003; Goad, White, & Steele, 2003, respectively). Others attribute L2 errors to mapping problems between the lexicon and syntax (Prévost & White, 2000; Lardiere, 1998, 2003). Another potential explanation for the variable production of inflectional endings is that it may be due to performance factors as in Hopp (2009) and Martohardjono, Valian, and Klein (2012) or to "Extra-syntactic" factors as proposed in Klein (2004) or to syllable repairs due to L1 phonotactic interference as proposed in Davidson (2005, 2006a, 2006b). This dissertation claims that when L2 morphosyntactic representations are shown to be available in the L2 learner's grammar, L2 inflectional variability can be attributed to L1 phonotactic interference, salience of the L2 inflection, and performance factors leading to systematic, but asymmetrical patterns of perception and production of the allomorphs that represent the surface L2 inflections. The results revealed that the target inflections were not omitted across the board as would be expected under deficit accounts. On the contrary, repairs of the final target coda clusters (i.e., schwa epenthesis before and after the final inflectional consonant and devoicing of the word-final consonants) revealed patterns that are consistent with the degree of syllabicity (e.g., [Vd] vs. [t] and [d]) and sonority (e.g., [s] vs. [t]) of the allomorph or coda and are not indicative of morphosyntactic deficits. Importantly, schwa epenthesis was applied asymmetrically (i.e., particularly to stops [t] and [d]) in clusters that contained target codas and inflectional allomorphs in real, nonce, and monomorphemic items, and thus, this repair pattern is contra the Prosodic Transfer Hypothesis of Goad et al. (2003). Overall, this dissertation presents an alternative explanation for L2 inflectional errors outside of the morphosyntactic and prosodic deficit arguments.

  • THE VARIABLE GRAMMAR OF THE SPANISH SUBJUNCTIVE IN SECOND-GENERATION BILINGUALS IN NEW YORK CITY

    Author:
    Kevin Bookhamer
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    Ricardo Otheguy
    Abstract:

    This morphosyntactic dissertation study compares the use of MOOD (indicative & subjunctive) in first- and second-generation Spanish speakers in New York City. The data for this study are from a transcription of naturalistic Spanish conversations with New Yorkers of different generations, representing the six primary Spanish-speaking groups in NYC: Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican, Ecuadorian, Colombian and Cuban. We analyze data from 26 born in Latin America and 26 born or raised in NYC, totaling 52 transcriptions. The reference model is the mood usage of first-generation newcomers, not a standard Spanish normative framework. The objective was to examine the use of mood by way of descriptive and inferential analytical methods in order to determine whether or not the second-generation bilinguals' mood grammar has changed, and if so, to establish exactly where and how it differs from the first-generation. The research questions were: 1) Does the subjunctive use of second-generation NYC bilinguals differ from that of their first-generation NYC counterparts? 2) What are the syntactic and communicative contexts in which the subjunctive is used in the first and second generations? 3) What internal and external independent variables condition mood choice in both immigrant generational groups? 4) Is the second generation's use of mood such that grammatical command of mood appears developed and systematic? Or is there evidence of an incomplete or unsystematic mood grammar? Our findings corroborate the results from other studies centered on generational U.S. subjunctive use: the second generation generates fewer subjunctives and more indicatives than the first-generation, a finding supported by statistical significance. The two generations also differ significantly concerning the internal contexts where mood manifests, but command of mood does appear intact among the majority of the second generation, thus problematizing common notions such as attrition, incomplete acquisition, and to a degree, simplification. Furthermore, analyses concerning several external variables show that the first generation appears essentially homogenous with respect to their use of mood, whereas the second-generation displays far more variability. Finally, this dissertation contributes to the variationist-sociolinguistic knowledge of Spanish grammar in bilingual settings.

  • The Myth of the Unteachable: Youth, Race and the Capacity of Alternative Pedagogy

    Author:
    Cathy Borck
    Year of Dissertation:
    2015
    Program:
    Sociology
    Advisor:
    Paul Attewell
    Abstract:

    My research consisted of three years of qualitative inquiry, including 62 interviews with members of the Department of Education, school administrators, teachers and students, as well as a yearlong ethnography at a transfer school that I chose because of its history of success with the city's hardest- to-reach youth. To my knowledge, mine is the first formal study of New York City transfer schools. "Transfer schools" are New York City's public alternative schools, which serve "over-age, under- credited" high school students (i.e. students who are "behind" in school). These students experience many challenges and interruptions to their education, including homelessness, incarceration, immigration, financial hardship (that can require students to work during school hours), being (teen) parents, drug addiction, and having to care for sick or dying family members, to name a few. There are presently 44 transfer schools in the city, and the overwhelming majority of students who attend them are poor youth of color. I engage existing scholarship on education policy, social reproduction, and critical race theory, and prioritize the voices of students and teachers in my analysis. In The Myth of the Unteachable: Youth, Race and the Capacity of Alternative Pedagogy, I make three main arguments. First, I describe how schools contribute to the reproduction of race and class inequalities. However, my data show that when economically disadvantaged students of color are instructed to locate their own academic "failures" in the historical context of an education system that has consistently produced unequal outcomes, those students can learn to see the difference between their personal failures, and the failures of the school system, and this helps them to regain the self-esteem necessary to make significant educational progress. Second, I show how accountability-era (2001-present) education policies like the Bush administration's No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and the Obama administration's Race to the Top (RTT) undermine public education and especially frustrate the work of transfer schools that serve "at-risk" youth. Contributing the case of transfer schools to extant scholarship on the more general harms of NCLB and RTT, I follow education policy from the national to the local level, describing how policies trickle down to affect individual transfer schools, teachers and students in damaging and destructive ways. Lastly, using psychoanalytic theory, I apply the concept of "working alliance" to student-teacher relationships, articulating how these relationships affect student outcomes. In educational contexts, working alliance refers to generative and productive relationships between teachers and students. The development of a working alliance entails achieving consensus about what school is for, and how learning occurs. This requires agreement about goals and tasks, and is especially strengthened by the development of interpersonal bonds between students and teachers. I describe how working alliances can be achieved, and illustrate how the development of these alliances increased student retention and achievement.

  • Modernity, Parallel Editing, and the Flâneuse: Examining the White Slave Narrative in Early and Contemporary American Cinema

    Author:
    Alex Bordino
    Year of Dissertation:
    2015
    Program:
    Liberal Studies
    Advisor:
    Robert Singer
    Abstract:

    This thesis explores cinema and the conceptual presence of Charles Baudelaire's nineteenth century flâneur; in particular, it examines how this modernist notion relates to cinematic technique and issues associated with female spectatorship through an analysis of the white slave genre in both early and contemporary American cinema. Seven early films are examined: How They Do Things on the Bowery (Porter, 1903), The Boy Detective, or The Abductors Foiled (McCutcheon, 1908), The Fatal Hour (Griffith, 1908), The Miser's Heart (Griffith, 1911), The Muskateers of Pig Alley (Griffith, 1911), The Inside of the White Slave Traffic (Beal, 1913), and Traffic in Souls (Tucker, 1913). Three contemporary films are examined: Taken (Morel, 2008), Holly (Moshe, 2006), and Trade (Kreuzpaintner, 2007). The focus is on formal issues such as film editing techniques like parallel editing, and demonstrates how this creates a self-reflexive critique regarding hegemonic norms. This thesis also argues that the development of feature-length film production is intimately connected with developments in urban modernity and American social problems in the early twentieth century, namely sex trafficking, therefore presenting an important historical moment in which the rethinking of narrative storytelling norms simultaneously, and often self-reflexively, challenge social traditions regarding women. Furthermore, it illustrates how the reemergence of the white slave genre in the twenty-first century is linked to social anxieties regarding paternal dominance in a post-9/11 milieu and likewise addresses the problematic nature of the flâneuse in a digital culture.

  • A Chant of Dilation: Walt Whitman, Phrenology, and the Language of the Mind

    Author:
    Anton Borst
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    English
    Advisor:
    Joan Richardson
    Abstract:

    A Chant of Dilation analyzes Walt Whitman's poetic engagement with two very modern ideas: the materiality of the mind and the discursive nature of science. During the antebellum period these ideas found expression in the popular science of phrenology, the theory that the mind was divided into various faculties physically located in different parts of the brain. This theory would find a ready audience in Whitman, a poet preoccupied with the body, the soul, and their connection. The writings and publications of premier American phrenologists Orson and Lorenzo Fowler, surveyed in this project, rhetorically mediated emerging conceptions of the brain-embodied self by exploring the relationship between religion and materialism. Phrenology also provided Whitman and its many followers with an empowering sense of self-knowledge based on its rich vocabulary of dozens of mental faculties. At the same time, by equating mind and brain and claiming the existence of innate, inheritable faculties, phrenology raised the possibility of biological determinism, unsettling seemingly essential beliefs in the soul, agency, and moral responsibility. In Whitman's correspondingly complex deployments of phrenological terms and themes, the poet embraces, confronts, and answers the implications of a material mind through the means most readily available to him as a poet: metaphor, ambiguity, and the performative use of language. By situating Whitman's response to phrenology alongside a number of Romantic and post-Romantic intellectuals similarly occupied by its language, including Georg Friedrich Hegel, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., and William James, I demonstrate its hitherto overlooked cultural significance as a discourse that prompted philosophical concerns about the relationship between science, language, and the mind.

  • The Effects of Fiscal Policy on Savings and Investment

    Author:
    Andrew Bossie
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Economics
    Advisor:
    Michael Edelstein
    Abstract:

    This dissertation contains three essays exploring the effect of fiscal policy shocks on savings and lending behavior of the private economy. Two essays focus on World War II and one essay focuses on the entire postwar period. Essay I looks at the response of monetary policy to fiscal policy shocks and the effect of fiscal policy on the private sector's balance sheet over a period that covers 1954 and 2007. I find a minimal response of the Federal Reserve to fiscal policy shocks. I also find the the main response of the private sector to fiscal policy shocks manifests itself in household assets. Long term assets in particular react very strongly. Essay II establishes the important role of savings during and immediately after World War II. I show that the unexpectedly high savings rates that persisted after the war ended was driven by the fact that housing purchases are counted as a kind of savings. Treating housing as a durable consumption good produces the negative savings expected. Essay III looks at the behavior of commercial banks in the period 1940 to 1955. I find that there is a--both economic and statistically--significant negative effect of war spending on total assets, mortgage lending, and commercial, industrial and agricultural loans made by commercial banks throughout the war and until 1949. The response of bank assets during the immediate postwar period is indicative of the unusual pattern of output and the money supply between 1946 and 1950. All this is taken as evidence that reconversion was not as smooth and robust as commonly argued.

  • Entrapment and Enchantment: Nympholepsy and the Cult of the Girl Child

    Author:
    Jenny Boully
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    English
    Advisor:
    Wayne Koestenbaum
    Abstract:

    Focusing on Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita (1955), Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures Under Ground (1886), J. M. Barrie's Peter and Wendy (1911), Henry Darger's The Story of the Vivian Girls, in what is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, and John Ashbery's Girls on the Run (1999), this dissertation investigates how the Victorian cult of the girl child may have its roots in another Victorian interest, ancient Greek culture. While this dissertation adds to the scholarship on literary pedophilia, it makes a distinction between the pedophile and the nympholept. Whereas the pedophile wishes to sexually possess children, the nympholept does not necessarily wish to sexually possess his nymph; rather, the nympholept is moved to create art inspired by his nymph, or girl child. This dissertation introduces the idea of sublimation into art to the discourse of girl children. Just as classical nymphs had to sublimate themselves into landscapes in order to escape their male pursuers, we see how the girl children in this study are sublimated into literary or visual art in order metaphorically to preserve themselves. While forging a connection between the cult of the girl child to nympholepsy, this study also connects nympholepsy to what Bruno Bettelheim in The Uses of Enchantment (1976) calls "enchantment," that is, using fantastical stories in order to navigate certain unknowns, mainly adulthood and death. This dissertation takes this a step further and asserts that nympholepts used enchantment as a means to entrap nymphs. While bringing up the inevitable charge of pedophilia, this project is not interested in the pedophile but in the nympholept and the means through which he sublimates a girl child into visual or literary art. The opening chapter examines Lolita alongside the taxonomy for classical Greek nymphs and explores both the minutia and larger themes in Lolita that relate to this classification. Chapter two examines Carroll's relationship to Alice Liddell in light of nympholepsy and the triangulation of pleasure between Carroll, Alice, and Alice's Adventures Under Ground, which the chapter recognizes as a highly eroticized fetish object. Chapter three studies the subversive sexuality and desires of Wendy Darling while arguing that Peter Pan, instead of being a little boy who refuses to grow up, is a Pan figure. The final chapter discusses how nympholepsy plays out in the art and writings of Darger and Ashbery's nympholepsy. The dissertation concludes with a creative epilogue that explores the theme of "reenchantment" that I discuss in chapter four.

  • The Relationship of Nursing Career Perception Congruence and Perceived Social Support on Hispanic Middle School Female Nursing Career Choice

    Author:
    Karen Bourgeois
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Nursing Studies
    Advisor:
    Keville Frederickson
    Abstract:

    The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of nursing career perception congruence and perceived social support on Hispanic middle school females' nursing career choice. A non-experimental descriptive, cross sectional design examined the relationship in a convenience sample of 200 Hispanic middle school females from the New York tri-state area. Instruments used to measure nursing career choice, nursing career perception congruence, and perceived social support, were: (1) the Nursing Career Choice Questionnaire (NCC); (2) Attitudes, Values, and Beliefs Scale (AVBS); and (3) the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale (CASSS) .Multinomial logistic regression analyses indicated support for the relationship between all variables. There was a positive significant relationship between nursing career choice and nursing career perception congruence and a positive significant relationship between perceived social support and nursing career choice. The conceptual framework of Lent, Brown and Hackett's Social Cognitive Career Theory revealed that nursing career perception congruence and social support is needed to promote nursing career choice. Nursing career choice, nursing career perception congruence and perceived social support are environmental factors that influence the nursing career choice of Hispanic middle school females.

  • Shifts in clinical attention and focus: Exploring the boundaries of reverie in the therapeutic process

    Author:
    Monique Bowen
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Paul Wachtel
    Abstract:

    Therapists have times of greater attention and of less, and each therapist may have the experience of noticing that her attention has shifted from what the patient is saying toward those thoughts that have been stirred. This qualitative study examined psychotherapists' perspectives on shifts in clinical attention and focus in their treatment of their patients, and the ways in which their particular approach to psychotherapeutic work influence how therapists understand and negotiate these potentially complex clinical moments. The study (a) captures how senior psychotherapists view such experiences, (b) surveys the conditions under which clinicians share their responses, thoughts and processes with patients, and (c) examines how therapists negotiate what may be conflicting considerations or principles in arriving at how they handle the experience. Participants were recruited via several training institutes and professional psychological associations, and participated in a semi-structured qualitative interview that both documented and illuminated how senior therapists across theoretical orientations understand and explore shifts in clinical focus toward their own daydreams, fantasy, and interior monologues. This qualitative research study sought to provide an evidence and reference base for research scholars and for diverse groups of psychotherapy students, training therapists, and other practicing clinicians from one corner of psychotherapeutic practice to another. Categories that emerged from the data were then grouped into four domains: 1) Therapists' descriptions of unbidden experiences. 2) How therapists understand these phenomenological shifts in theory and in practice. 3) Therapeutic uses of this particular clinical data. 4) The felt sense that helps therapists identify shifts in attention and clinical focus. Trends in participants' responses to interview questions were identified with particular attention to departures from the clinicians' own standard technical practice or that of their theoretical orientation. The use of the verbatim quotations has enriched this narrative-constructivist approach, as the clinicians' own descriptions of their own unbidden experiences has provided uncommon access to the experiences of participants in this study.

  • Mobile Phones, Group Improvisation, and Music: Trends in Digital Socialized Music-Making

    Author:
    Nathan Bowen
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Douglas Geers
    Abstract:

    With the advent of the smartphone, the mobile phone has recently emerged as a popular choice for instrument designers. Mobile phones are computationally powerful, feature a rich suite of onboard sensors, have ever-increasing networking capabilities, are becoming easier to program, and are above all ubiquitous. Because of these factors and a solid marketplace for dissemination, designers have authored hundreds of musical instrument apps, steadily reaching public consciousness. As ubiquitous, handheld, networked instruments, mobile phones have properties that distinguish themselves from other digital musical instruments, and are uniquely positioned to have widespread cultural impact on how people make and share music. Still, the flexibility of configuration and lack of standardization makes it difficult to define what it means to `play' a mobile phone. In the first three chapters I attempt to locate mobile phone music in the broader historical context of electronic music, networked music, and the considerations of digital musical instrument design. Though the nascent field of mobile music-making is still emerging, the rapid evolution of devices, software, instrumental and cultural practices associated with this trend are in need of visibility and documentation. As such, I will trace the history of mobile phone music as it has evolved from a ringtone-based art form to the smartphone era. My goal is to highlight various creative uses of mobile phones in musical contexts, including audience participation, locative art, mobile phone ensembles, and efforts to help everyday people feel empowered to express themselves through musical creation. I will also explore whether this ideal of democratizing musicianship has downsides, and how it impacts authorship and virtuosity. The last two chapters cover my own contribution to mobile music, including the presentation of 4Quarters, a software-plus-controller musical instrument for mobile phones and computer. As it is designed to be fundamentally collaborative and encourage improvisation, I will document its reception by test users and participants. 4Quarters is available as supplemental material to this written dissertation.