Alumni Dissertations

 

Alumni Dissertations

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  • 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.

  • MOLECULAR PHYLOGENETICS OF OTOPHYSAN FISHES: AFRICAN ALESTIDS (CHARACIFORMES: ALESTIDAE) AND CITHARINOIDS (CHARACIFORMES: CITHARINOIDEI), AFRO-ASIAN CHEDRINS (CYPRINIFORMES: CHEDRINI), AND NEOTROPICAL LORICARIINS (SILURIFORMES: LORICARIINAE) AS CASE STUDIES

    Author:
    Jairo Arroyave Gutiérrez
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Biology
    Advisor:
    Scott Schaefer
    Abstract:

    Otophysan fishes (Ostariophysi: Otophysi) are members of a morphologically and ecologically diverse clade of teleosts that includes most freshwater species of fish, and comprises four major lineages classified in the orders Cypriniformes, Characiformes, Siluriformes, and Gymnotiformes, respectively. Partly because of their tremendous diversity, many groups of otophysan fishes remain poorly understood phylogenetically and in a state of taxonomic disarray. This is the case--to a greater or lesser extent--of African characiforms of the suborder Citharinoidei and the family Alestidae, Afro-Asian cypriniforms of the tribe Chedrini, and Neotropical siluriforms of the subfamily Loricariinae. To address the lack of robust, comprehensive, and/or up-to-date phylogenetic hypotheses for the aforementioned groups, this doctoral dissertation investigated their systematics and evolution through phylogenetic analyses of comparative DNA sequence data, including molecular-clock analyses that resulted in the first time-calibrated phylogenies ever proposed for both alestids and citharinoids (and characiforms for that matter). The molecular phylogenies arrived at herein represent the most comprehensive hypotheses of relationships for each of the groups investigated. Although many of the relationships revealed by this study corroborated previous hypotheses based on morphological and/or molecular data, others are newly hypothesized or in conflict. Moreover, the results of this research revealed instances of para- and polyphyly in numerous nominal taxa (e.g., Brycinus [Alestidae], Nannocharax [Distichodontidae], Raiamas [Chedrini], Lamontichthys [Loricariinae]), prompting a reassessment of the taxonomies of the groups investigated. Information on the temporal context of alestid and citharinoid diversification was used to assess biogeographic hypotheses proposed to explain the Gondwanan distribution of characiforms. Likewise, the inferred chronograms shed some critical light on the historical processes that may have influenced diversification and biogeographic patterns in these and other groups of African freshwater fishes.

  • Geometric Interpretation of the Two Dimensional Poisson Kernel And Its Applications.

    Author:
    Sergei Artamoshin
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Mathematics
    Advisor:
    Jozef Dodziuk
    Abstract:

    Hermann Schwarz, while studying complex analysis, introduced the geometric interpretation for the Poisson kernel in 1890. We shall see here that the geometric interpretation can be useful to develop a new approach to some old classical problems as well as to obtain several new results, mostly related to hyperbolic geometry. For example, we obtain One Radius Theorem saying that any two radial eigenfunctions of a Hyperbolic Laplacian assuming the value 1 at the origin can not assume any other common value within some interval [0, p], where the length of this interval depends only on the location of the eigenvalues on the complex plane and does not depend on the distance between them.

  • Soviet Marxism Reconsidered: Dialectical Method in the Thought of Lev Vygotsky

    Author:
    Arto Artinian
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    Jack Jacobs
    Abstract:

    While intellectual engagement with the legacy of the Soviet experiment continues, objective and critical engagement with Soviet Marxist theory remains a barely-studied and marginal area of political theory. A commonly-held view suggests that little of political theoretical substance has been produced in the Soviet Union after the death of Lenin. Marxist theory in this context is often portrayed as dogmatic pseudo-Marxism, burdened by the heavy hand of Stalinist authoritarianism and handicapped by the execution and prosecution of creative Marxists living in the USSR. I will argue that this is an incomplete and distorted picture of Soviet Marxism. I propose that the work of Lev Vygotsky forms an alternative and highly original tradition of Soviet Marxist dialectics. As a thinker writing in the immediate aftermath of the October Revolution, his work is an attempt to apply Marxist dialectical method to the unique challenges of post-1917 Soviet society. Whereas most students of Vygotsky focus on his fundamental contributions to psychology, I argue that Vygotsky's work on dialectical method represents an original and significant contribution to Marxist dialectics, in both continuing the work of Gyorgy Lukacs and anticipating contemporary theories developed by Bertell Ollman and Roy Bhaskar. I will conclude by briefly engaging with Gilles Deleuze's "Difference and Repetition", which I want to argue can be read as a work of Marxist dialectics, struggling to make sense of the crisis of 1968 in France. Contrary to readings of this work as "moving away from Hegel and Marx and toward Nietzsche and Freud" (as stated on the back cover of 1994 English translation) I will argue that Deleuze was in fact moving beyond, but not outside Marx.

  • Assessing Emergent Bilinguals: Teacher Knowledge and Reading Instructional Practices

    Author:
    Laura Ascenzi-Moreno
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Urban Education
    Advisor:
    Ofelia Garcia
    Abstract:

    Assessments are viewed as primary vehicles for improving the educational outcomes of all students since they can lay the foundation for effective teaching practices. However, assessment can only achieve this effect of supporting student learning if the knowledge that teachers gain from using them is put into direct use in classrooms. This process of administering assessments, analyzing them, learning from the results, and subsequently tailoring instruction based on what has been learned about students is referred to as the assessment-instructional cycle. The assessment-instructional cycle is critical for all students. Yet, assessments of emergent bilingual students, in this case those students who are becoming bilingual by developing English language and literacy (often referred to as English Language Learners or Limited English Proficient students), most often do not accurately capture these students' knowledge. The problem lies in that for these students, assessments in English measure content knowledge as well as language (Abedi, 2009; García 2009). This obscures teachers' understanding of what these students know and may steer the assessment-instructional cycle off course. Using interviews and surveys, this mixed-methods study focuses on how teachers of emergent bilinguals view and use summative and formative assessment. The study also attempts to ascertain the kinds of knowledge that these teachers gain from the use of assessments, as well as the consequences that acquired knowledge has on their practices to teach reading. In the climate of test-based accountability, teachers are caught in a cycle of ritualized assessment practices. Ritualized assessment practices direct teachers to sort and group students under the guise of "analysis," and do not engage teachers in a solid examination of bilingual students' reading development. Ritualized assessment practices ultimately do not yield teacher knowledge that is meaningful to instruction. Furthermore, these ritualized practices change the character and use of these assessments - summative assessments are used formatively and formative assessments become summative. This study provides evidence that both summative and formative assessments are missed opportunities for teacher learning and do not fulfill the potential of providing teachers with a solid knowledge base of their bilingual students' reading development so as to meaningfully direct instructional practices.

  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Biomarkers for the Differential Diagnosis of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus and Alzheimers Disease

    Author:
    Stephanie Assuras
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Lisa Ravdin
    Abstract:

    Differential diagnosis of Idiopathic Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH) is complicated by symptomatic overlap with neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimers Disease (AD). Efforts to improve diagnosis through the use of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers have led to the identification of more than a dozen potential diagnostic markers for NPH. However, no single biomarker has proven sufficient for differential diagnosis in clinical practice. The current study uses proteomic analysis of CSF to identify sets of protein markers that are expressed differentially in NPH and AD. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis was used to analyze the CSF of 8 probable NPH and 8 probable AD patients. Gels were stained with SYPRO Ruby and the percentage volume of over 1339 spots was determined. The Random Forest statistical method was used to identify proteins that optimally segregated NPH cases from AD. Protein identification was achieved by the use of a previously published CSF map and mass spectrometry. Eleven protein spots were found to optimally distinguish the groups, correctly classifying 100% of all NPH and AD samples. Of the 11 proteins of interest, six were identified and include the following: beta-trace, serum albumin A, serum albumin B, apolipoprotein A-IV precursor, pigment epithelium-derived factor, and complement component 3 precursor. The current study identifies CSF biomarkers that differentiate between NPH and AD cases. The highly successful separation of cases obtained in this study suggests that multiplexed CSF markers have the potential to improve the differential diagnosis of NPH from one of its most common competing diagnoses.

  • MENTORING IN THE LAW ENFORCEMENT CONTEXT: A CASE STUDY OF THE TURKISH NATIONAL POLICE

    Author:
    Selcuk Atak
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Criminal Justice
    Advisor:
    Maria Haberfeld
    Abstract:

    The TNP has undergone many changes as a result of Turkey's decision to seek European Union (EU) membership. One ramification of these changes is the TNP codification and implementation of formal mentoring relationships to increase the effectiveness of mentoring relationship. Based on a survey of 400 high ranking officers from the Turkish National Police (TNP), this study examines the effects of mentoring relationships on job satisfaction and organizational commitment. The findings indicate that an effective mentoring relationship has a positive effect on job satisfaction and organizational commitment.