Alumni Dissertations and Theses

 
 

Alumni Dissertations and Theses

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  • Financial Reporting Differences and Debt Contracting

    Author:
    Anna Brown
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Business
    Advisor:
    Donal Byard
    Abstract:

    I examine the relationship between contracting parties' familiarity with one another's accounting information and the terms and structure of debt contracts. I use the differences in generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) among contracting parties domiciled in different countries as a proxy for how familiar a lending bank will be with a borrower's accounting information. I find that a larger difference between the GAAP of the lender and the GAAP of the borrower is associated with a higher credit spread and higher fees. I also find that a larger difference between the GAAP of the lender and the GAAP of the borrower is associated with a more concentrated loan syndicate, suggesting a closer monitoring relationship between the borrower and the lender. Finally, I find that when there is a larger difference between the GAAP of the lender and the GAAP of the borrower, banks rely less on financial covenants as a contracting tool. Moreover, banks tend to alter the types of covenants they write, relying more on capital-based financial covenants and less on earnings-based covenants. My results are consistent with banks experiencing information problems when contracting with parties whose accounting information they find to be unfamiliar. These results provide new evidence on the importance of financial reporting for debt contracting.

  • Collective Memory, Women's Identity and the Church

    Author:
    Jo Ana Brown
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Sociology
    Advisor:
    Cynthia Epstein
    Abstract:

    Christianity, Judaism and Islam share a deliberative subjugation of women through ideologies, hierarchical structures and performative practices that effectively relegate women to an inferior position. The Christian tradition has one of the longest-standing and most consistent iconographies with regard to the characterization and status of women in society. The Christian church is prototypical of a religious institution iterating an ideology of women's inferiority through various mechanisms that lodge and preserve it in societal collective memory. This study examines three mechanisms used by the Church to preserve collective memory about women's inferior status in society: doctrine, liturgical practices and visual images related to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Through structured interviews with 40 women raised in the Roman Catholic tradition and educated in Roman Catholic schools, this study examines how collective memory about women's identity transferred through these mechanisms become lodged in individual memory through socialization and education, and influence their attitudes, behaviors and self-identity. The study expands the examination from the realm of the individual and family to how doctrine, liturgical practices and visual images of Mary exert influence far beyond the confines of the church itself and its participants. The institutional church, and Roman Catholicism in particular, exerts global influence through reputational entrepreneurs who are power holders in society. The study considers whether collective memory about women's place in society, set forth and maintained by the Church, can be reconstructed and, if so, how it might be accomplished.  

  • The Role of Homophobia and Gender Role Beliefs in Judgments of Same-Sex Intimate Partner Violence

    Author:
    Michael Brown
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Jennifer Groscup
    Abstract:

    The primary purpose of this study was to examine whether straight and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals differ in their perceptions of same-sex and opposite-sex IPV, and whether gender-role beliefs and homophobia can help explain any differences. We were also interested in whether factors such as the type of violence depicted and participants' gender moderated perceptions of intimate partner violence. Using a 2 (type of violence: situational couple violence vs. intimate terrorism) x 2 (gender of batterer: male vs. female) x 2 (gender of victim: male vs. female) between-groups design, 240 straight and 240 LGBT participants were randomly assigned to an experimental condition and asked to read a vignette of a domestic altercation. Participants completed a questionnaire designed to assess how they perceived the batterer's and victim's responsibility for the situation, the seriousness of the situation, how likely the abusive behavior was to reoccur, and how likely the abusive behavior would get worse over time. Participants also completed a demographics survey and measures of gender role beliefs and homophobia / internalized homophobia. Overall, both straight and LGBT participants attributed less blame to batterers and more blame to victims, and perceived the abuse as less serious, when the scenario involved a same-sex couple. However, contrary to our hypotheses, participants' gender role beliefs and homophobia / internalized homophobia did not fully account for these findings. Participants' gender and the type of violence depicted were significant moderators for several of the relationships examined; however, these effects were relatively small and inconsistent. Social, clinical and legal implications of these findings are discussed - along with directions for future research.

  • Identification of Paleopathological Conditions in a Non-Adult Population from Roman Age Sirmium Serbia: A Bioarchaeological and Life History Approach

    Author:
    Matthew Brown
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Anthropology
    Advisor:
    Thomas McGovern
    Abstract:

    The purpose of this dissertation is to assess the status of child health within the context of Late Roman Sirmium, Serbia (ca. 1st - 6th Century CE) through the evaluation of multiple indicators of skeletal stress (porotic hyperostosis, enamel hyperplasia, and infectious disease). Children and other non-adults (infants and adolescents), for a number of reasons, have been "marginalized" within the fields of archaeology and bioarchaeology. Differential preservation, burial bias, incorrect identification children and non-adult bones and culturally focused definitions of children are among some of the reasons often cited for the lack of research specifically targeting these populations. This dissertation attempts to address this issue of marginalization and that of child morbidity and mortality during the Late Roman Period, recognizing that children and other non-adult cohorts represent important segments of archaeological skeletal populations that can add significant information on past human behavior. The research employed by this thesis will take a holistic bioarchaeological approach by incorporating data from a variety of fields and methodologies, including archaeology, historical records, and environmental science. The primary data, however, will come directly from the analysis of non-adult skeletal material recovered from the Late Roman Period Cemetery, St. Sineros on the northeast border of Sirmium. This dissertation will use both qualitative, looking at the life histories of individuals, and quantitative data to reconstruct patterns of health and disease, in addition to Roman cultural practices (i.e. breastfeeding) that often dictated behaviors that directly influence the non-adult the late Roman Period in Sirmium.

  • We don't give birth to thugs; we give birth to children: The emotional journeys of African-American mothers raising sons under American racism

    Author:
    Robyn Brown-Manning
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Social Welfare
    Advisor:
    Willie Tolliver
    Abstract:

    ABSTRACT We don't give birth to thugs; we give birth to children: The Emotional Journeys of African-American Mothers Raising Sons under American Racism by Robyn Brown-Manning The emotions of African-American mothers of sons are an understudied area in social work research. Given the disproportionate representation of Black male youth on social service caseloads, a more in-depth understanding of their mothers' experiences while raising them is very important. Using group storytelling formats, this qualitative study examines the emotional content of a small cohort of African-American mothers in New York City and Westchester County, New York, with sons ranging in age from infancy through 30. Viewed through the theoretical frames of Africana womanism and nonfinite loss, the study finds that African-American mothers of sons are emotionally fatigued. They fear for their sons' safety in the presence of police. They worry about a variety of factors that affect their sons' well-being. The mothers feel guilty about choices they have made in life, particularly regarding husbands. They often feel abandoned, and long for stronger connections with other African-American mothers of sons. Throughout everything, they love their sons and are very proud of them. Practice implications include reframing challenging emotional expressions and behaviors as indicators of emotional fatigue; forming alliances with African-American mothers of sons to address oppressive practices in law enforcement and schools; and co-creating culturally grounded support groups with African-American mothers of sons.

  • Teaching style: an investigation of New York City public high school teacher dress practices

    Author:
    Anne Brownstein
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Urban Education
    Advisor:
    Nicholas Michelli
    Abstract:

    In recent decades there has been increasing interest in regulating teacher appearance in the schools. While there is a great deal of anecdotal data available about what dress standards for teachers should be, to the best of the researcher's knowledge no one has undertaken scholarly research to investigate teacher attitudes towards their constructions of self, self-as-teacher, and educational philosophies as expressed by dress practices. Predicated upon the theory that the study of self presentation provides a window through which we can gain insight into these constructions, this dissertation investigates how a sample of nine New York City public high school teachers use dress to define `personal self' and `self-as-teacher' identities as well as their educational beliefs. It is hoped that the findings of this research will contribute to better understanding of a topic that thus far has largely been neglected by educational scholars even while it has nationally attracted both interest and debate within and beyond the realm of public schools.

  • Politics as a Sphere of Wealth Accumulation: Cases of Gilded Age New York, 1855-1888

    Author:
    Jeffrey Broxmeyer
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    Frances Piven
    Abstract:

    This dissertation examines political wealth accumulation in American political development. Scholars have long understood the political system selects for "progressive ambition" for higher office. My research shows that officeseekers have also engaged in "progressive greed" for greater wealth. I compare the career trajectories of four prominent New York political figures during the Gilded Age: William Tweed, Fernando Wood, Roscoe Conkling, and Chester Arthur. Using correspondence, census, tax and land records, government reports, investigations, and newspaper coverage, I explain why each political figure chose to either seize or pass up opportunities for political wealth accumulation. I also examine the principal sources of fortunes and the types of political practices that generated them. Profit-maximizing behavior during the late nineteenth century was central to the consolidation of politics as a vocation. Career-altering events such as an election loss, or alternatively, the opportunity to join a dominant party faction, often recalibrated a politician's strategic calculation in the tradeoff between power and wealth. Furthermore, the dominant view of self-aggrandizement is that public officials either steal or extract rents, for example, in the form of bribes or loans. However, none of the large fortunes examined among my cases were built through conventional rent seeking, and peculation was only a minor source of income. Instead, the great fortunes were built through marketing-making activities. Tweed, Wood, Conkling, and Arthur accumulated political wealth by securing dominant market positions, or by creating new markets altogether. These figures accumulated productive personal property, or political capital, through control over political institutions, most notably by speculating in real estate, railroads, and finance, and by the establishment of politically dependent businesses, such as banks, lotteries, newspapers, and law firms.

  • Children's Tolerance of Word-form Variation

    Author:
    Paul Bruening
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Patricia Brooks
    Abstract:

    This study compared children's (N=96, mean age 4;1, range 2;8-5;3) and adults' (N=96, mean age 21 years) tolerance of word-onset modifications (e.g., wabbit and warabbit) and pseudo affixes (e.g., kocat and catko) in a label extension task. Trials comprised an introductory phase where children saw a picture of an animal and were told its name, and a test phase where they were shown the same picture along with one of a different animal. For `similar-name' trials, participants heard a word-form modification of the previously introduced name (e.g., introduced to a dib, they were asked, `which animal is a wib?'). For `dissimilar-name' trials, participants heard an entirely new word (e.g., introduced to a dib, they were asked, `which animal is a wuz?'). Specific types of modifications were repeated within each experiment to establish productive inflectional patterns. Across all experiments, children and adults exhibited similar strategies: They were more tolerant of prefixes than onset-modifications involving substitutions of initial consonants, and they were more tolerant of suffixes than prefixes, which may reflect a statistical tendency for inflections to adhere to the ends of words. Additionally, participants parsed novel productive inflections from stems when choosing targets. These findings point to word learning strategies as being flexible and adaptive to morphological patterns in languages.

  • War Baby: Race, Nation, and Cultural Conceptions of Lesbian Motherhood

    Author:
    Lisa Brundage
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    English
    Advisor:
    Jane Marcus
    Abstract:

    The Interwar period was a time of exaggerated social anxieties about gender, race, class, and sexuality. One of the primary vehicles for expressing this agitation was through a pronatalist cultural focus on maternity that posited women as gatekeepers of racial purity, traditional gender roles who perform a specifically patriotic duty--akin to men's military service--through reproduction. Concurrently, thanks to the ubiquity of Radclyffe Hall's image after the obscenity trial for The Well of Loneliness in 1928, the general public in England and the USA had a visual, collective idea of "the lesbian" for the first time. "The lesbian" was in many ways a foil for the idealized, domestic mother, and three novels from this period that are frequently considered classics of lesbian literature all place a heavy, yet currently under-explored, emphasis on the embattled relationship between lesbianism and maternity: Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness (1928), Sylvia Townsend Warner's Summer Will Show (1936), and Nella Larsen's Passing (1929). Despite her notoriety, Hall's novel places a deeply conservative value in women's reproductive capacity; a driving force in the plot is the female invert Stephen Gordon's need to compel her "normal" lover Mary Llewellyn to heterosexual reproduction--to prevent Mary from using lesbianism as contraception--over Mary's protestation. Warner's novel takes a more politically radical stance, tracing its protagonist Sophia Willoughby's disillusionment with white, aristocratic motherhood, ultimately having her reject not just marriage and maternity, but other forms of kinship in order to focus on her personal and solitary process of political radicalization. Larsen's novel focuses on the domestic and racial entrapment of bourgeois marriage and motherhood. Larsen conjoins the paranoia of racial and sexual passing through metaphors of pregnancy; Clare Kendry's paranoia about producing a black baby is recapitulated in Irene Redfield's anxiety about her attraction to Clare. These themes are reinvigorated and retold in contemporary narratives about lesbian mothers. The final chapter focuses on the lesbian television soap The L Word (2004-2009), which problematically posits the lesbian nuclear family as a locus of social protest and, along with gay military service, a primary conduit for fighting institutionalized homophobia.

  • The Seventh Regiment Armory Commission and Design: Elite Identity, Aesthetic Patronage and Professional Practice in Gilded Age New York

    Author:
    Chelsea Bruner
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Art History
    Advisor:
    Kevin Murphy
    Abstract:

    This dissertation is an exploration and analysis of the Seventh Regiment Armory, a privately funded, purpose-built headquarters for the nineteenth century's most elite volunteer militia. This project demonstrates how the conception and funding of the building were a direct response to Gilded Age labor-capital conflict--a means by which even non-member elites could participate in the most contentious socio-political debates of the day. Simultaneously, the Armory's commission and design reflected a new level of professionalization in the design profession(s) and specialization in architectural typology, and I argue that transformations in politics and professional practice were not discrete phenomena, but were manifestations of elite class consolidation in the face of unprecedented social change. This study tracks the evolution of the Seventh, establishing a connection between military proficiency and elite identity as reflected in a series of facilities used over the years. I connect the Seventh's policing duties with other elite initiatives to compel fiscal and social "reform" while establishing Aestheticism as a visual and stylistic corollary to those endeavors. Implemented by the first generation of American design professionals--architects, engineers and even artists--the class-based component of professionalism was brought to the fore in the late 1870s by the nascent labor movement, and this project explores the heretofore unexamined role that striking workers played in further catalyzing class consolidation among elite patrons and their peers in the design professions. The Armory was an exemplar of these professional and stylistic transformations. This analysis illuminates the continuity between the Seventh's interiors and other contemporaneous projects that are united (to a remarkable degree) stylistically, but otherwise typologically and geographically varied, further linking Aestheticism to the broader project of class consolidation and identity formation. By the mid-1880s, the style had fallen out of favor, thus the Armory is significant as a rare, extant example. It was the precedent for a subsequent boom in armory construction and inspired a number of imitators locally and across the country, but its sumptuous interiors were never matched. The Armory is an important and heretofore unexplored monument to a moment of incredible transformation in the country and city's history.