Alumni Dissertations and Theses

 
 

Alumni Dissertations and Theses

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  • The Transnational Body in American Literature, 1798-1846

    Author:
    Talia Argondezzi
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    English
    Advisor:
    David Reynolds
    Abstract:

    Post-revolutionary American authors, living under a relatively stable government and economy, turned their attention simultaneously inward and outward: inward to understand the strange workings of the human body, and outward to comprehend and control new territory. Focusing on the period between the Quasi-War with France and the U.S. War with Mexico, conflicts in which the United States asserted its international power, I identify several novels that dramatize the outward gaze toward new territory through an inward gaze toward the body. The Transnational Body puts embodiment into conversation with early American politics, not only because the body is a conventional symbol for the political sphere, but also because early U.S. policies, both domestic and international, were predicated on notions of race and sex, distinctions thought to be identifiable on the body. Flouting the expectation that embodiment is largely a personal, highly localized matter, this dissertation seeks a new route through early American literature by interrogating what extraordinary fictional bodies express about early U.S. politics, particularly the politics of expansion and borders. In each novel I examine, the author makes a spectacle of embodiment by representing unusual bodily events, such as dismemberment, cannibalism, metempsychosis, and mesmerism, that serve as indices of the young United States' uncertainty about its position in the world. By attending to the embodied domestic and international politics within each novel, I conclude first that anxieties about democracy, race, national stability, and expansion pervade early U.S. literature. Moreover, I argue that these novels help us trace a trajectory through the first half of the nineteenth century. I discern a shift from anxiety about the leveling effects of democracy in the late eighteenth century, through tentative experimentation with expansionism in the early nineteenth century, to anxieties about secession and faction that undergirded the rising nationalistic sentiments of the 1820s, ultimately to uncertainty about the imperialistic results of that nationalism. Throughout this trajectory, a constant remains: early U.S. thinking about politics, and especially about the relationship between domestic and international spheres, is intertwined with the body. The Transnational Body examines these imbrications between politics and the body.

  • Increasing the Variability of Verbal Responding in Children and Adolescents with Autism Using a Conjunctive-Differential Reinforcement Schedule

    Author:
    Paul Argott
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Nancy Hemmes
    Abstract:

    A procedure intended to teach variation in appropriate verbal responding to an antecedent stimulus was systematically manipulated for 5 individuals with autism. Four antecedent stimuli that include the clause, "else do you like to do" were presented in a varying order. Five responses that were appropriate to any of the antecedent stimuli were taught using a script-fading procedure. Percentage of varied verbal responses was studied under a conjunctive-differential reinforcement procedure using a multiple-baseline-across-subjects experimental design. Under a modified percentile requirement of the conjunctive schedule, responses were ranked according to their frequency of emission after every session and reinforcement was omitted for the 2 most frequent responses on the subsequent session. Under a lag-1 schedule requirement, reinforcement was omitted for consecutive occurrences of a given response within a given session. Data showed that the percentage of responses meeting the conjunctive schedule requirement increased with the systematic implementation of the schedule. A variability measure showed that responses were more stereotyped during baseline sessions in comparison to treatment sessions. Comparisons between the numbers of different statements emitted by individuals with autism versus those of their typically developing peers suggest that further research is necessary to increase responding to a typical level. Nevertheless, responses by teachers and parents to a social validity questionnaire suggest that the procedure could be applied in clinical and home settings and used to increase varied verbal responding.

  • Left Behind: Children of Dominican Deportees in a Bulimic Society

    Author:
    Fenix Arias
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Urban Education
    Advisor:
    Nicholas Michelli
    Abstract:

    The United States has always taken great pride in its children's protection programs that have served as an example to developing countries. As a beacon of opportunity to poor and underdeveloped countries, the country is also known amongst third world nations, as the only hope to achieve social mobility because of its educational and labor market opportunities. Recently, in an apparent contradiction to its protection programs, social, and economic opportunities, the nation has instituted laws that undermine the welfare of children of immigrants and immigrant children by deporting people, regardless of their immigration status. Qualitative data were utilized to examine the impact of deportation on Dominican children and families left behind in the United States. The study's aim was to articulate the impact of parent's regurgitation/ejection on children's education, social integration, economic, and health and mental health status. The theories of social bulimic-exclusion and inclusion-, human waste, and toxic environment served as a framework for understanding how the society has become bulimic by both massively importing and deporting human capital. Social exclusion forces low-income and marginalized children to multi-levels of stigmatization by reinforcing the poverty cycle. Fragmented assimilation, a form of social inclusion, further compounds the exclusion of minority and immigrants because it does not fully integrate individuals into the fabric of society. The study found that U.S. born children left behind in a single parent household, ultimately face multi-levels of social exclusion. Hence, mandatory deportation negatively impacts children of deportees' social integration to mainstream society. Findings revealed that children of deportees experience tremendous sense of abandonment, insecurity, and isolation, which affect their educational attainment, socioeconomic status, social capital, and health mental status. In conclusion, social bulimic cannot co-exist with democracy because everyone is not fully included into mainstream society. What exists therefore, is an oligopoly democratic system that influences an oligarchy society in which a group of people--usually those in power--have control over the policy-making process and implementation with no accountability or assessment on collateral damages or the further social bulimization of children of deportees left behind in the United States.

  • Construction of a Forced-Choice Task for the Assessment of Factual Understanding and Feigning in Competency to Stand Trial Evaluations

    Author:
    Elizabeth Arias
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Michele Galietta
    Abstract:

    Psychologists are commonly called upon to conduct evaluations of a defendant's competency to stand trial. Under Dusky v. United States (1960) the legal criteria for competency to stand trial were enumerated and since then, a number of standardized assessment instruments that aim to assess those criteria have been developed, each with its own noted strengths and weaknesses. Although there are several instruments available to aid clinicians in these types of evaluations, only three include screens for feigning, and only one assesses for feigned cognitive impairment. In the current research an instrument was constructed to assess for competence related knowledge, while also incorporating several logical and statistical methods to assess for a feigned lack of knowledge of the legal system, including forced-choice testing, floor effect strategies, and completion time methodologies. The Factual Understanding Instrument (FUI) was constructed over five studies. Studies 1-3 involved instrument construction and included a review of the literature, a critical incidents phase with experts in the field, and item construction. Studies 4-5 focused on item evaluation and included an expert review of the constructed items and the pilot testing of the FUI in a simulation study with unimpaired college students. In study 5, multiple statistical analyses were conducted to evaluate the FUI items and the various feigning detection strategies. In this sample reliability of the FUI was high. Items were relatively easy for honest responding participants, with many scoring near perfect. Feigning participants did not score as low as would be predicted by symptom validity testing, as responses varied from less than 50% correct to values seen in honest responders. Intelligence level, item difficulty, and response condition were found to be significant predictors in responses to FUI items. Completion time was not supported as a feigning detection method as hypothesized, however, alternative interpretations of the theory are offered. Further research on the FUI with a known-groups sample in forensic settings is needed to establish a floor value, to further evaluate item performance, and to improve the external validity of the current research. Research methodologies and future directions are offered.

  • Enconchados: Political, Cultural, and Social Implications of a New Art in Seventeenth-Century New Spain

    Author:
    Miguel Arisa
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Art History
    Advisor:
    Eloise Quiñones-Keber
    Abstract:

    Seventeenth-century New Spain (Mexico) saw the rise of an art form that melded traditions from pre-Hispanic, Asian, and European styles. Enconchado paintings, so called because mother-of-pearl is inlaid mostly on canvas stretched on a panel, were produced in workshops in Mexico City and sent to the metropolis as gifts to the monarch or to noblemen. Around 300 of these unique works exist in museums in Europe and in the Americas today. Not surprisingly, the most common subject matter is religious; however, about one hundred of them depict the historical events that lead to the conquest of Mexico by Hernando Cortés. Most scholarship has centered on the Asian and European influences on these works. This project investigates the three-pronged influences in a more egalitarian way, positing as much weight on the indigenous aspects as on the others. Furthermore, it contextualizes the production of these ideological works with the literature, histories, treatises, and other works of art produced in the viceroyalty of New Spain during this century when the rise of the Creole class (people born in Mexico of Spanish-born parents) was beginning to make its imprint in the economic, social, and cultural spheres. By tracing the different threads that make up these works, their ideological impact, as well as their 300-year old histories, this dissertation aims for a better understanding of these works and the forces that made their production possible.

  • Eliot's Spinoza: Realism, Affect, and Ethics

    Author:
    James Arnett
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    English
    Advisor:
    Peter Hitchcock
    Abstract:

    In this dissertation, the intersection of the affective-ethical philosophy of Spinoza and the realism of the nineteenth-century British novelist George Eliot are mapped. Eliot was the first translator of Spinoza--though her translations were never published--and few scholars have worked out the ways in which her novels are steeped in his philosophy. This dissertation seeks to make an intervention first in the fields of Victorian literature and realism, but also in the developing field of affect studies, and contributes to interdisciplinary conversations about the confluence of literature and philosophy. The expansive introduction of the dissertation looks closely at the philosophical translations that occupied Eliot in the earliest stages of her career--Strauss, Feuerbach, and Spinoza--and the ways in which these foundational texts congeal into a discourse of philosophical materialism that informed her commitments to literary realism. Chapter 1 analyzes the ways in which Eliot deploys large-scale organic and scientific metaphors in Middlemarch in order to metaphorize Spinoza's concept of immanence, which she deploys in order to emphasize human impingement. Chapter 2 moves to consider Middlemarch's ethos of sympathy as an application of Spinoza's affective ethics. Chapters 3 and 4 proceed to interrogate the role that knowledge and education play in the shaping of an ethical praxis in Daniel Deronda and Felix Holt, the Radical; in the former, knowledge and education is represented in such a way as the means to a Spinozist version of individual freedom, and in the latter, education is seen as the lever by which an interpersonal ethics is transformed into a collective politics. The final two chapters explore the imbrication of kinship, nationalism, and politics in The Spanish Gypsy, Daniel Deronda, and The Impressions of Theophrastus Such, and argue that these three texts represent Eliot's substantial critique of the ethical utility of collective politics as developed by Spinoza in his Political Treatise.

  • The Dialectical Self: Søren Kierkegaard, Karl Marx, and the Birth of Radical Freedom

    Author:
    Jamie Aroosi
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    Marshall Berman
    Abstract:

    This work advances two primary claims. First, it demonstrates that Karl Marx and Søren Kierkegaard can and should be read together, as they jointly constitute a similar development in 19th century thought. Notably, borrowing a model of dialectical subjectivity from their shared predecessor, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, while simultaneously rebelling against the primacy he gives to reason, both attempt to liberate this "dialectical self" so that it can embrace the radical understanding of freedom it embodies. Therefore, this work argues that a similar conception of the self, and the freedom it entails, unites the work of Marx and Kierkegaard, while also serving as a primary normative value orienting their work. However, for Marx, the social mechanics behind inequality serves as the major impediment to emancipation, whereas, for Kierkegaard, our internalization of social norms serves this role. Given that their intellectual projects were based in the praxis of emancipation, this difference explains why their work came to appear so different, as they each sought to articulate and overcome a different set of problems. Unfortunately, this also had the effect of obscuring their underlying, and profound, similarity. However, this work argues that these differences are in fact two sides of the same coin, and that Marx and Kierkegaard reciprocally, or dialectically, illuminate one another, as each teases out nuances and complexities in the other. Secondly, I advance a normative claim: Marx needs Kierkegaard, just as Kierkegaard needs Marx. That is, Kierkegaard's concern with subjective emancipation without Marx's interest in sociopolitical emancipation remains an unfinished project, whereas Marx's sociopolitical critique without Kierkegaard's subjective emancipation remains an empty one. In other words, freedom pertains both to subjectivity and to the objective world, and unless we remain attentive to both, we risk reinforcing oppression just as we think we are overcoming it. And while Marx is attentive to subjectivity and Kierkegaard to objectivity, each does so insufficiently. Yet, reading them together offers a comprehensive picture of the dialectical self that unites them, while also allowing us to be attentive to the spiritual and ethical dynamics of subjective emancipation as well as the sociopolitical dynamics of objective emancipation. Not only can we read Marx and Kierkegaard together, a full understanding of our "dialectical selves" and the freedom they entail, requires it.

  • SUPRASPINAL AND SPINAL MECHANISMS OF MORPHINE-INDUCED HYPERALGESIA

    Author:
    Caroline Arout
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Benjamin Kest
    Abstract:

    Morphine is the most prominent pharmacological treatment for moderate to severe pain in both acute and chronic paradigms. However, morphine notoriously elicits a paradoxical state of increased pain sensitivity known as hyperalgesia that complicates its use in clinical application. Research over the past three decades has reported that morphine-induced hyperalgesia is dose- and sex-dependent, and likely involves the synchronous activity of several neural networks beyond the opioid system. Whereas systemic, supraspinal, and spinal administration of morphine all cause hyperalgesia that is differentially reversible by N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) antagonists or melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) antagonists, it is unknown as to whether or not these non-opioid systems that contribute to this state are located supraspinally or spinally. The current studies were performed with the goal of elucidating the precise location of regulatory action of this sex- and dose- dependent state of morphine hyperalgesia. In all studies, outbred CD-1 male and female mice were pretreated with the general opioid receptor antagonist, naltrexone (NTX) 24 hours prior to morphine treatment. All mice were subsequently implanted with osmotic pumps, continuously dispensing a low (1.6mg/kg/24h) or high dose of morphine (40mg/kg/24h). As noted previously, mice of both sexes were hyperalgesic by Day 4 of continuous infusion of either morphine dose, a state that persisted through Day 6 of infusion. The first series demonstrated that NMDAR and MC1R systems that mediate this morphine-induced hyperalgesic state are located supraspinally, as intracerebroventricular injections of MK-801 and MSG606, respectively successfully reversed hyperalgesia during a one-hour testing period. A second series of studies investigated possible involvement of spinal systems. Whereas intrathecal MK-801 significantly reversed hyperalgesia in males at both doses, and females at the low morphine infusion dose, spinal administration of MSG606 significantly reduced hyperalgesia in females following continuous high dose morphine infusion. This indicates that the sex-dependent mechanism involved in morphine-induced hyperalgesia is located supraspinally and spinally, and either locus can independently modulate female-typical hyperalgesia. A third series of studies investigated hormonally-regulated mechanisms involved in morphine-induced hyperalgesia. Ovariectomized females displayed male-typical patterns of hyperalgesia after i.c.v. and i.t. antagonist injection paradigms following continuous infusion of either dose of morphine on Day 4. On Day 6, NMDAR and MC1R antagonist injections were preceded by an acute systemic progesterone injection in ovariectomized female mice, and intact male mice. Following continuous morphine infusion, ovariectomized females displayed male-typical patterns of hyperalgesic reversal. However, following progesterone administration, hyperalgesia elicited by high doses of morphine was reversed by i.c.v. injection of MK-801 and MSG606 in both males and ovariectomized females. Conversely, following i.t. injections the data show that ovariectomized females are able to recruit the NMDAR or MC1R system, while males exclusively used the NMDAR system to mediate hyperalgesia. The current studies indicate that in terms of modulating morphine-induced hyperalgesia, there are both supraspinally- and spinally-regulated sex-dependent effects that mediate morphine-induced hyperalgesia.

  • An algorithmic approach to the differential Galois theory of second-order linear differential equations with differential parameters

    Author:
    Carlos Arreche Aguayo
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Mathematics
    Advisor:
    Alexey Ovchinnikov
    Abstract:

    We present algorithms to compute the differential Galois group G associated via the parameterized Picard-Vessiot theory to a parameterized second-order linear differential equation with respect to d/dx, with coefficients in the field of rational functions F(x) over a differential field F, where we think of the derivations on F as being derivations with respect to parameters. We build on an earlier procedure, developed by Dreyfus, that computes G when the equation is unimodular, assuming either that G is reductive, or else that its maximal reductive quotient is differentially constant. We first show how to modify the space of parametric derivations to reduce the computation of the unipotent radical of G to the case when the reductive quotient is differentially constant in the unimodular case. For non-unimodular equations, we reinterpret a classical change-of-variables procedure in Galois-theoretic terms in order to reduce the computation of G to the computation of an associated unimodular differential Galois group H. We establish a parameterized version of the Kolchin-Ostrowski theorem and apply it to give more direct proofs than those found in the literature of the fact that the required computations can be performed effectively. We then extract from these algorithms a complete set of criteria to decide whether any of the solutions to a parameterized second-order linear differential equation is differentially transcendental with respect to the parametric derivations. We give various examples of computation and some applications to differential transcendence

  • OPTIMIZATION OF USE OF FOURIER TRANSFORM INFRARED TO MEASURE THE COMPOSITION OF FINE PARTICULATE MATTER

    Author:
    Vilma Arriaran La Torre
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Engineering
    Advisor:
    Beth Wittig
    Abstract:

    The goal of this dissertation is to evaluate the feasibility of, and develop and optimize a method that uses FTIR to measure the detailed chemical composition of organics and inorganics in ambient fine particulate matter, PM2.5. The use of FTIR will lead to the analysis of a PM2.5 sample using a single technique, without the need for extraction, nondestructively and free of analysis artifacts. This method has been used quantitatively despite issues that may limit its accuracy. This research has developed and evaluated optimal approaches of the FTIR operation, spectra interpretation and data reduction. Each component is addressed in a separate chapter of this dissertation, in terms of the challenges and issues, prior work to address the issue, the goal and proposed research to address the issue, and the results that have been obtained. An algorithm that does not depend on path length and uses all parameters calculated during the spectral analysis was developed in order to determine the concentrations of the functional groups present in the sample and in the actual ambient air. For accurate quantitation results, all issues related with the spectral interpretation must be solved first before inserting them into the algorithms developed. Sample analysis experiments were designed to effectively handle the sample analysis in the FTIR spectrometer. These experiments will help to get sample spectra free of interferents that may obscure the sample interpretation. FTIR may use two different techniques for analyzing the sample that may affect the signal to noise ratio if light does not penetrate through the whole sample, therefore aerosol samples collected on the optimal substrates must be analyzed by both techniques. Experiments for sample interpretation were designed to select the best approach to interpret the IR spectra of aerosol samples. These spectra can be difficult to interpret since the samples contain billions of particles, each of which can contain millions of chemicals. Functional groups in the aerosol spectra has to be identified and their ABS areas accurately measured by defining the correct baselines and end points of the functional group peaks. ABS measurements of targeted functional group at different concentrations were evaluated to determine the linearity of ABS and their relative molar absorptivities. This information will be used to identify, evaluate and determine the correct approaches to split overlapping functional group peaks.