Alumni Dissertations

 

Alumni Dissertations

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  • As Film is, so goes the Novel: The Image, Film Ekphrasis, and History in the Contemporary Novel

    Author:
    Ece Aykol
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    English
    Advisor:
    Gerhard Joseph
    Abstract:

    My dissertation studies the use of the verbal representation of analog film in the novels of contemporary writers Paul Auster, Adam Thorpe, and Orhan Pamuk. I look at these authors' use of the moving image in relation to the existing poetics of the ekphrasis of still images and art objects. Film, understood as the "temporalization of space," informs the way in which I interpret film ekphrasis different from the ekphrasis of still objects that "spatialize temporality." In trying to emulate this temporal art form with words, these authors create a poetics of film ekphrasis, which constitutes a representation of the past in the present continuous. Their allusion to the analog image enables them to find creative means of constructing history and memory. My study also addresses the "digital" image and explains how its construction of time differs from the analog image. In order to grasp the tension between the analog and digital, and to reveal how visual artists are responding to emerging technologies, I turn to the films of Jean-Luc Godard, Michel Gondry, and Wim Wenders, as well as to JoAnn Verburg's photographs and Sam Taylor Wood's mixed media art. Understanding current practices in the visual arts, I suggest, can produce interpretive strategies for the ekphrasis of digital films.

  • As Film is, so goes the Novel: The Image, Film Ekphrasis, and History in the Contemporary Novel

    Author:
    Ece Aykol
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    English
    Advisor:
    Gerhard Joseph
    Abstract:

    My dissertation studies the use of the verbal representation of analog film in the novels of contemporary writers Paul Auster, Adam Thorpe, and Orhan Pamuk. I look at these authors' use of the moving image in relation to the existing poetics of the ekphrasis of still images and art objects. Film, understood as the "temporalization of space," informs the way in which I interpret film ekphrasis different from the ekphrasis of still objects that "spatialize temporality." In trying to emulate this temporal art form with words, these authors create a poetics of film ekphrasis, which constitutes a representation of the past in the present continuous. Their allusion to the analog image enables them to find creative means of constructing history and memory. My study also addresses the "digital" image and explains how its construction of time differs from the analog image. In order to grasp the tension between the analog and digital, and to reveal how visual artists are responding to emerging technologies, I turn to the films of Jean-Luc Godard, Michel Gondry, and Wim Wenders, as well as to JoAnn Verburg's photographs and Sam Taylor Wood's mixed media art. Understanding current practices in the visual arts, I suggest, can produce interpretive strategies for the ekphrasis of digital films.

  • Multicultural experience: A multidimensional perspective, scale development, and validation

    Author:
    Zeynep Aytug
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Business
    Advisor:
    Mary Kern
    Abstract:

    This research offers a refined conceptualization of multicultural experience. This multidimensional conceptualization distinguishes between relatively superficial and more substantial multicultural experiences, labeled multicultural exposures and multicultural interactions, which can be measured based on frequency, duration, and breadth. This construct and the corresponding instrument, Multicultural Experience Assessment (MExA), were validated in five studies. In Studies 1a and 1b, content validity was established. In Studies 2 and 3, exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses confirmed the two-factor structure of multicultural experience. Study 4 provided some evidence for the convergent, discriminant, and criterion-related validities. The reliability of the 13-item MExA ranged between .76 and .83; and the use of both student and non-student national samples established some generalizability of the instrument. Overall results improve our understanding of the construct and offer a psychometrically tested measure.

  • Dynamics of terrestrial water budget over Amazon and Mississippi basins using satellite data

    Author:
    Marzieh Azarderakhsh
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Engineering
    Advisor:
    Reza Khanbilvardi
    Abstract:

    The components of the water budget and their spatio-temporal variability are diagnosed using monthly-averaged remote sensing-based data products over the Amazon and Mississippi basins. These two large basins are divided into 14 and 12 smaller sub-basins (SB) respectively, and for each of these SBs, fresh water discharge is estimated from the water balance equation using satellite data products. The purpose of this study is to learn how to apply satellite data with global coverage over the large tropical and mid-latitude regions; therefore several combinations of remote sensing estimates including total water storage changes, precipitation and evapotranspiration. The results are compared to gauge-based measurements and the best spatio-temporal agreement between estimated and observed runoff is within 1 mm/d for the combination of precipitation from the GPCP and the Montana evapotranspiration product. Mean annual precipitation, evapotranspiration and runoff for the whole basin are estimated to be 6.1, 2.2 and 3.0 mm/d respectively but also show large spatial and temporal variations at SB scale. Using the most consistent data combination, the seasonal dynamics of the water budget within the Amazon system are examined. Agreement between satellite based and in-situ runoff is improved when lag-times between SBs are accounted (RMSE from 0.98 to 0.61 mm/d). We estimate these lag times based on satellite inferred inundation extents. The results reveal not only variations of the basin forcing but also the complex response of the inter-connected SB water budgets. Inter-annual and inter-sub basin variation of the water components are investigated and show large anomalies in north-western and eastern downstream SBs; aggregate behavior of the whole Amazon is more complex than can be represented by a simple integral of the forcing over the whole river system. Moreover, the same approach proposed for Amazon for estimating the runoff is applied to large Mississippi basin. The results show that applying the proposed method can improve the estimation of runoff using the satellite information. Some limitations exist in this basin that will decrease the reliability of the results, as the uncertainty of estimated runoff is greater that the magnitude of runoff due to existence of dams, and smaller precipitation rate compared to Amazon basin.

  • Arab Music Vocabulary in Syrian Contemporary Clarinet Chamber Works

    Author:
    Kinan Azmeh
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    David Olan
    Abstract:

    This dissertation examines three chamber music pieces by contemporary Syrian composers that use the clarinet, looking for different elements drawn from traditional Arab music and how they are used in a western contemporary context. The three works studied in this dissertation are: Qunitet by Shafi Badreddine (b.1972), Buhur by Kareem Roustom (b. 1971), and Quintet for the Damascus Festival by Dia Succari,(1938-2010). From analysis of these works and from conversations I had with the composers, these central topics emerged: 1) how they use the muwashshah as a source of inspiration and 2) how they use maqam. Using the muwashshah as a departure point, Roustom uses poetry meters in the entire piece, Badreddine only uses its general form and titles, while Succari based a number of his compositions on the main theme of a famous muwashshah. While Roustom and Succari approach the maqams in a way that is somewhat less unconventional, Badreddine subjects them to a microscopic treatment that focuses on the qualities of a specific interval (or intervals) in a given maqam. A central aim of this dissertation is to study how knowledge of Arab music affects the overall performance of these works, and to question whether these works challenge the performer differently from other western classical music works. Through this research it became clear that such challenges do exist, and that a comprehensive performance of any musical work can only be achieved if work is put into learning the fine nuances specific to the culture from which the composer drew inspiration.

  • Queer Environmentality: Thoreau, Melville, Cather, and Barnes

    Author:
    Robert Azzarello
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    English
    Advisor:
    John Brenkman
    Abstract:

    My chief objective in this project is to draw some connections between queer studies and environmental studies within the more general context of literary studies. I will propose an alternative understanding of literary environmentalism, rich in tropological abundance, poetic complexity, and hermeneutic indeterminacy, and I will magnify a queer sensibility, present in varying degrees, in this history, or what I call "queer environmentality." In order to develop this queer-environmental literary theory, I perform careful exegeses of four key figures in the American tradition: Thoreau, Melville, Cather, and Djuna Barnes. Each writer problematizes conventional notions of the strange matrix between the human, the natural, and the sexual, and thus challenges the assumption that the subject of American environmental literature is essentially and consubstantially heterosexual. Each brilliantly demonstrates the ways in which the queer project and the environmental project are always already connected, that is to say, in which the questions and politics of human sexuality are always entwined with the questions and politics of the other-than-human world. Like Charles Darwin, the four primary objects of my analysis--Thoreau, Melville, Cather, and Barnes--believe in reconsidering the human as a natural being, as a species, or type of being, that occupies a particular niche in the order of things, and, therefore, as subject to the explanatory gestures afforded to other species that also constitute and populate their particular biological kingdom. But figuring the human as natural does not provide a stable ontology, nor does it permit an escape from all kinds of epistemological problematics. Like Henri Bergson, each thinker takes seriously the profound connection between ontology and epistemology and offers long meditations on the super-saturation of life--human and otherwise--with desires and aims, with indeterminate geneses and inexplicably deferred endpoints. Thoreau's sinewy sense of "sensuality" within the animal-human-divine matrix, Melville's symbolic struggle with extra-human forces, Cather's cryptic musings on the singularity of organic composition, and Barnes's biologically inflected--perhaps infected--decadence all point to an environment as explosive with meaning, with "interlinked terrors and wonders" (Moby-Dick 139), as the creatures that dwell within.

  • Queer Environmentality: Thoreau, Melville, Cather, and Barnes

    Author:
    Robert Azzarello
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    English
    Advisor:
    John Brenkman
    Abstract:

    My chief objective in this project is to draw some connections between queer studies and environmental studies within the more general context of literary studies. I will propose an alternative understanding of literary environmentalism, rich in tropological abundance, poetic complexity, and hermeneutic indeterminacy, and I will magnify a queer sensibility, present in varying degrees, in this history, or what I call "queer environmentality." In order to develop this queer-environmental literary theory, I perform careful exegeses of four key figures in the American tradition: Thoreau, Melville, Cather, and Djuna Barnes. Each writer problematizes conventional notions of the strange matrix between the human, the natural, and the sexual, and thus challenges the assumption that the subject of American environmental literature is essentially and consubstantially heterosexual. Each brilliantly demonstrates the ways in which the queer project and the environmental project are always already connected, that is to say, in which the questions and politics of human sexuality are always entwined with the questions and politics of the other-than-human world. Like Charles Darwin, the four primary objects of my analysis--Thoreau, Melville, Cather, and Barnes--believe in reconsidering the human as a natural being, as a species, or type of being, that occupies a particular niche in the order of things, and, therefore, as subject to the explanatory gestures afforded to other species that also constitute and populate their particular biological kingdom. But figuring the human as natural does not provide a stable ontology, nor does it permit an escape from all kinds of epistemological problematics. Like Henri Bergson, each thinker takes seriously the profound connection between ontology and epistemology and offers long meditations on the super-saturation of life--human and otherwise--with desires and aims, with indeterminate geneses and inexplicably deferred endpoints. Thoreau's sinewy sense of "sensuality" within the animal-human-divine matrix, Melville's symbolic struggle with extra-human forces, Cather's cryptic musings on the singularity of organic composition, and Barnes's biologically inflected--perhaps infected--decadence all point to an environment as explosive with meaning, with "interlinked terrors and wonders" (Moby-Dick 139), as the creatures that dwell within.

  • "Young, Brown and Down:" Second-Generation Indo-Guyanese Americans Constructing their Ethnicity in New York

    Author:
    Nazreen Bacchus
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Sociology
    Advisor:
    Hester Eisenstein
    Abstract:

    This study offers a new approach to understanding the role of nostalgic performances carried out by second-generation Indo-Guyanese Americans through ethnic institutions as a route into the American mainstream. The Indo-Guyanese are an Indian Diaspora group who arrived in the Caribbean during the Indian Indenture and who have been "twice removed from India." They have limited or no ability to speak Hindi, but their religious beliefs (Hinduism and Islam) have enabled them to maintain certain Indian traditions (e.g.. wearing saris). However, they have also adopted several Caribbean cultural practices, such as musical tastes, that have augmented their cultural hybridity. There has been a significant Indo-Guyanese migration to Queens, New York since the early 1990s, which has led to the creation of an Indo-Guyanese ethnic enclave which facilitates the provision of cultural goods, services and houses of worship. Taking Gans' (1979) concept of symbolic ethnicity a step further, my research shows how the American born children of this unique immigrant group carefully select traditions from their hybrid mix of Indian and Afro-Caribbean cultures to attain racial recognition in New York. Additionally gendered expectations significantly shape the Indo-Guyanese identity. Gendered pressures create and augment disparities between men and women in the second generation as they move towards negotiating their ethnicity within the American mainstream. Inter and intra-generational gendered expectations usually place women in the position of maintaining ethno-religious traditions, which may set limits on their ability to achieve an assimilation status similar to second-generation Indo-Guyanese men within the American mainstream. Therefore, I show how New York provides a space for ethnic navigation and negotiation with gendered constraints.

  • Carbohydrates as Scaffolds for Bioactive Agents

    Author:
    Stewart Bachan
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Chemistry
    Advisor:
    David Mootoo
    Abstract:

    ABSTRACT Carbohydrates as Scaffolds for Bioactive Agents By Stewart Bachan Mentor: Professor David. R. Mootoo Carbohydrates are attractive templates for drug design because of their accessibility, highly functionalized structures and rich synthetic chemistry. The goal of this research was to design mimetics of two classes of biologically interesting molecules using carbohydrate scaffolds. These are beta-D-galactosylceramide (GalCer) and the tetrahydrofuran (THF) containing AAs. The emergence of multi-drug resistant (MDR) strains of HIV-1 has created a need for new therapeutic agents. The glycolipid GalCer has been shown to be a cofactor in HIV-1 infection as it mediates the binding of the HIV envelope protein gp120 in CD4+ cells. Mimics of GalCer can serve as potential entry inhibitors of HIV-1. 1,1-Linked galactose-mannose (Gal-Man) and glucose-mannose (Glu-Man) disaccharides with an ester on the Man subunit were found to bind to the V3 loop peptide of gp120 and inhibit HIV infectivity in single round infection assays with the TZM-b1 cell line (a derivative of the HeLa cell line that express CD4, CXCR4, and CCR5). IC50 values were in the 50 micromolar range with no toxicity to the cells at concentrations up to 200 micromolar. These compounds appear to inhibit virus entry at early steps in viral infection since they were inactive if added post viral entry. Although these compounds were found to bind to the V3 loop peptide of gp120, it is not clear that this interaction is responsible for their anti-HIV activity because the binding affinity of closely related analogs did not correlate with their antiviral behavior. The low cytotoxicity of these 1,1-linked disaccharide fatty acid esters, combined with their easy accessibility to structurally diverse analogs, make these molecules attractive leads for new anti-viral agents. The THF-containing AAs have drawn much attention because of their potent antitumor activities. Their mode of action involves the inhibition of the NADH: ubiquinone oxidoreductase, Complex 1, of the mitochondrial electron transport chain. Their generally high cytotoxicity to both normal and tumor cells has hampered their development as anti-cancer agents. Thus acetogenin analogs that show increased specificity towards cancer cells are of interest as new therapeutic agents. Acetogenin analogs in which the THF core was replaced with either a monosaccharide or disaccharide framework were synthesized and evaluated against various cancer cell lines. The monosaccharide analogs showed antitumor activity in the low micromolar range and were generally more active than their disaccharide counterparts. It is also noteworthy that varying the degree of oxygenation on the monosaccharide ring did not show any significant effect on cytotoxicity. These structure activity observations open up possibilities for the design of tumor selective monosaccharide analogs that target carbohydrate receptors that are overexpressed on tumor cells.

  • AN EQUINE-FACILITATED PRISON-BASED PROGRAM: HUMAN-HORSE RELATIONS AND EFFECTS ON INMATE EMOTIONS AND BEHAVIORS

    Author:
    Keren Bachi
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Social Welfare
    Advisor:
    Gerald Mallon
    Abstract:

    Policy makers and correctional authorities are seeking ways to enhance effectiveness of incarceration and reduce recidivism. Equine-facilitated prison-based vocational programs aim to rehabilitate inmates. Informed by the theories of attachment and desistance, this study evaluates the emotional and behavioral effects of such an intervention utilizing a quasi-experimental methodological triangulation design. Recidivism and disciplinary misconduct are examined by clinical data-mining of institutional records. Propensity Score Matching, binary and multinomial logistic regressions are applied in a discrete-time event history analysis. Semi-structured interviews revealing the subjective experiences of participants are analyzed via the Listening Guide methodology. Quantitative questionnaires, exploring attachment and closeness to horses as compared to humans, are analyzed by linear regressions. Quantitative findings suggest that program participants have a statistically lower chance to recidivate as compared with the control group. Otherwise, a reduction in the severity of disciplinary misconduct was not found. Findings of the questionnaires suggest that horses are approached as attachment figures, including all four features, while higher levels of attachment and closeness to horses were evident among older participants with stronger attachments to their mothers. Qualitative findings show the roles of human-horse relations within prison-context. Emotional features highlight the importance of providing alternative opportunities to experience companionship, which may help inmates process their relational issues and improve competencies. Additionally, the program helps inmates to cope with psychological impact of imprisonment. Behavioral features demonstrate how the program allows inmates to perform as mature individuals while being involved in meaningful activities, which can generate pro-social skills. Social learning exhibit how participants interpreted herd dynamics by projecting human interactions on horses. These could be further discussed to enhance social awareness and develop alternative approaches toward social situations. Furthermore, participants' evaluation of the program and vocational features reveal vocational skills that may be transferable to other settings. Adding an intervention that would help bridge between experiences in the program and other vocations after release could enhance the program's broad impact. Knowledge gleaned from this inquiry has practical implications for the program, and suggests that rehabilitative approaches toward corrections can contribute to a more humane treatment of this population while also benefiting society.